Radio Daze

It occurs to me – even though we’ve got all the internet we want these days, I’ve never gone out and looked up a lot of the people I used to know in the radio business.

Of course, from my first, probably most “famous” gig in Twin Cities radio – KSTP, thirty years ago – some of them are all too easy.  Don Vogel died over twenty years ago; John MacDougal, not long after that.  Cathy Wurzer has been part of the furniture at MPR for almost as long.  Mark Boyle has been the voice of the Indiana Pacers for a quarter century now; his sports sidedkick Bruce Gordon is a communications guy with the State of Minnesota.

But of the people who were on the air, the one I get asked about the most is Geoff Charles.  The self-styled former-marine / former hippie and the only person in American media who’s farther out than Art Bell, who was just as mercurial and enigmatic in person as he was on the air (and one of the genuinely nicest people I’ve ever met in the racket, once I started working for him) is…

…utterly, counterintuitively, a long-time fixture in radio in Providence, Rhode Island.

And the idea of G Charles staying anywhere that long is a psychic acid trip in its own right.

5 thoughts on “Radio Daze

  1. All I can remember about Charles is that while he claimed to be a libertarian, he was pro mandatory seat belt use. I believe he reconciled this with his libertarianism by claiming that if you got into an accident, weren’t wearing a seat belt, and were thrown from the vehicle, your carcass might strike an innocent person.
    No man is an island.

  2. I didn’t hear Don Vogel until his 2nd stint at KSTP. And honestly, from some of the archived bits I have heard, he was funnier in his 2nd stint than in his 1st. No reflection on Mitch, of course. Maybe he was given more creative control in his 2nd stint.

    I still have 2 tshirts from the Afternoon Saloon. I started wearing them about 10 years ago. As they are Hanes “Beefy-Ts”, they still have many years of life left in them

    One of them says “Let a blind man drive you home”. Of course, given this is Minnesota, someone saw me wearing that and started getting “concerned” (not yet to the point of being offended, but well on the way), until I explained the context.

    I laughed hardest at Willie Griffith, and spent many a Friday afternoon singing/screaming along with Don to “Highway to Hell” while driving for Dominos. Towards the end before his cancer started slowing him down on air, he really REALLY did some outrageous screaming….possibly to the point of injuring his vocal chords. It was great to listen to.

    A friend and I went to his funeral and saw James Janosz there, and happened to get into a conversation with him. That was before he went completely paranoia-driven, off-off-the-rails nutzoid.

  3. Listened to Vogel when he was on in Chicago. What ever he was on was a 50,000 watt flamethrower and you could get the signal throughout Michigan. His sidekick then was ‘Roe Conn’ who went on to be a wheel in Chicago radio on WLS and is now on WGN. My memory from the Vogel Show (almost 30 years ago, now) was a line-by-line analysis of Don McLean’s “American Pie”. Bob Dylan was the jester. Who knew?
    Didn’t know of Geoff Charles. Went to the link and his ‘blawg’ post for 3/1 is regarding Citizens United. He takes the anti-1st amendment side. I’m sure his corporations 1st Amendment rights will be preserved when Citizens United is overturned by the coming Obama/Clinton appointees. As for the rest of us… We can hope that the Wright County Journal or some such comes up for sale cheap then maybe MBerg would host a GoFundMe/bleg-a-thon for the commentariat here at SITD so we could pool some funds to buy it and have our say. Otherwise it’s monitoring of this site by SITD resident brownshirt ‘Penigma’ then police dogs (likely trained by his lackey, SITD commenter ‘Doggone’) and fire hoses for those of us who speak the words that must not be spoken.

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