I just heard the news that Charlie Tuna passed away at the age of 71. According to longtime L.A. radio watcher Don Barrett, Charlie passed on February 21.
What a devastating loss. I had the pleasure of working with him at KBIG in the early 2000’s. He simply was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known in the business. As big and as iconic a voice as he was, there was never an ego coming at you.
This is a punch to the gut. When I heard, it felt like a bone breaking in my chest.
Charlie was like a radioactive element that radiated nothing but goodness. He was always kind, always giving, always generous. In a business filled with giant egos, some deserved, some not, he was always about bringing you along with him and making you the star. That may have been the secret to his radio success – he made the listeners feel that way too. He certainly made his colleagues feel that way.
I felt an affinity with him because we both got started in our radio careers at the age of 16. Of course, Charlie was there long before me and is one of the generation that added some rules to the book of how to do good radio, back when it was still radio.
Somewhere in my archives, I’ve got a few pictures and some audio of our interactions on the air. I’ll add them to this post later. But it’ll hurt as it always does when one of the good ones go away.
I was thrown into the deep end of the pool last night on KNX — my first couple of hours on air at my new radio home. Nothing blew up, thanks to the excellent & patient training of “Professor” Brian Ping.
It’s nice to be back on the air again. I am so fortunate that my absence from radio wasn’t long — as it can be in this industry.
Big thank yous all around to News Director Julie Chin and my new family at KNX and CBS Radio for welcoming me with open arms, and to all my friends both online and off for being so damn wonderful.
I was still in high school when I started my radio career. Broadcasting has been the only job I’ve ever had. This summer I’m celebrating my anniversary, but please forgive me if I fail to mention the number.
As every radio veteran knows, there are more ups and downs in this business than one can count. The downs can be awful, heartbreaking, devastating… but the ups can be pretty damn great. I have had the great and humbling pleasure and honor of working with some amazing individuals through the years. In their orbits I’ve learned and grown, and have been able to be a great many things — a DJ, a programmer, a boss, a news anchor — that wouldn’t have been possible without learning at the feet of some pretty elevated masters.
I’ve met my best buds (you know who you are, Gary & Frank), plenty of interesting individuals, and I’ve worked for, worked with, and managed some amazing human beings. I have been in awe of all of them, not just the ones who turned out to be friends.
There’s one person in particular I worked for a few years ago… It wasn’t until this week with a simple congratulatory email he sent that I realized he was a father figure all this time. By simply expressing that he was proud of me, I had the sudden and emotionally overwhelming feeling of being blessed beyond measure. I can’t say thank you enough, JK. Dammit man, you made me cry.
Every chapter in my journey has been wonderful, and I’m embarking on a new one. I am so incredibly lucky to be able to turn the page and find the book’s not nearly over. No one’s more surprised than me.
Thank you all for being. And if there are any gods, may they all bless you with the wisdom of a mountaintop guru and the happiness of a roomful of puppies. May you all hit the post and may your air never be dead.
Yes, it’s true – I just joined the CBS Radio family at KNX 1070 Newsradio.
For the next few days I’m all about the training and trying to learn a whole set of new names and faces, and I’m proud as I can be to be a part of such a great heritage associated with two sets of three letters — KNX and CBS.
But now to answer the question I’ve been asked all day:
(And by the way, I’m totally on Team “Don went back and created the Coke commercial.” That’s what I think happened and it’s the most logical ending for all we’ve seen of him through the entire series. OF COURSE he went back! But he went back at peace and knowing who he truly is — and as a result did his best work ever.)
I’ve revamped my radio retrospective video featuring pics from the stations and time periods in the different airchecks. Going through the photos brought back so many great memories.
Special thanks to the radio voices who appear with me, including Mark Thompson, Charlie Tuna, Kari Steele, Frank Neill, Taco Bob, and assorted listeners calling on the phone.
And all of a sudden the future, as they say, is wide open.
I can say that sentence wistfully, fearfully, or optimistically. I’m doing all three moment to moment.
I’m looking forward to whatever’s next. Working at KFI was a monumental amount of fun, stretched me creatively, taught me invaluable lessons and introduced me to an uncanny number of seriously talented individuals. Some of those peeps are scary good.
But I’m warning you now — L.A. has tried to get rid of me before. The City of Angels hasn’t been able to let me go for good yet.
In the meantime, if anyone you know is looking for a radio guy who’s a news anchor, programmer, writer, on-air personality, format creator and/or cat wrangler, send ’em my way. I promise to wear pants at all future job interviews.
I’ll be hosting this weekend’s edition of Sunday Morning News… Topics include a simple new test to see if you’re a psychopath, we’re all sleep deprived and headed for early graves, and there’s some kind of big sport ball match happening Sunday so we’ll be talking about that too.
It’s also the day before Groundhog Day.
All that and the Nine News Nuggets You Need To Know this Sunday morning at 9 on KFI.
Read more: http://www.kfiam640.com/onair/rob-archer-52071/sunday-morning-news-pregame-edition-13207034/#ixzz3QLtquQKf