Here is a message WLHA Program Director Casey the K passed along to our staff earlier this week:
Chuck Bader = Charlie Brown (1967 – 77) has passed away from heart failure. Charlie’s health has been tenuous for the past several years and whenever he called me would warn me not to count on him being around for our next reunion. So at this reunion we raised a toast to Charlie.
As you will see in the photos, Charlie was very involved in every reunion activity we cooked up. All of the WLHA radio dramas, the Halloween and April Fools video streaming shows, and the WLHA reunion weekends on WSUM FM all included Charlie, wearing his WLHA shirts and his DJ NOT FOR SALE button.
Given that Charlie started at WLHA in 1967 and was still on the active roster in 1977, I suspect that many of you will remember him.
When I showed up on campus as a Freshman in Fall of 1971, Charlie was playing oldies on WLHA and he was the first jock I heard when I checked out the station. When I came down to join WLHA, Charlie and I formed a friendship and he got me involved in doing production and helping him host the sock hop/beer bashes at The KK, Crew Deck and Great Hall. When Charlie and Sue got married, I spun the tunes for their reception.
Charlie was a huge advocate for getting WLHA out in front of live audiences for dances. Many people who had never turned on the AM sections of their radios became acquainted with WLHA at these events and it generated a lot of new interest in the station.
Another personal memory was a very timely call that Charlie placed to me totally out of the blue, well after college days. We had not talked for a couple of years. He surprised me with a call to tell me that he had noticed a job listing on WMTV TV for an engineer with a First Class License and thought I might like to know. I thanked him and joked “hey does my show sound that bad? but explained that I was about to be promoted that very afternoon so I would be staying where I was.
I was doing afternoons on a Madison AM/FM station and the owners had flown in and scheduled a meeting so they could pitch me on a promotion that seemed very exciting right up until the salary was revealed. The insignificant raise so underwhelmed me that I said “thanks, but no thanks” and then gave notice on the spot without giving any thought on what I would do for employment next. Armed only with the one job lead Charlie had thoughtfully passed on to me, I picked up the request line and called WMTV. They hired me the next day and two weeks later I was on the job. Thank You for calling me, Charlie. It was a life changing moment.
And as you look at the photos you will see what Charlie referred to as “The Brick” When the Rock N’ Roll Hall of fame was getting underway, they did pre-social media crowdfunding by requesting donations. At some level of generosity, the Hall of Fame offered engraved paving bricks as incentives to the contributors. Charlie jumped at that opportunity and had one created for WLHA listing some of his WLHA buddies. This is an identical copy of the one you can see in Cleveland at the H.O.F. (we call it The WLHA exhibit). Charlie figured if any radio station belonged in the Rock’N Roll Hall of Fame, it should be WLHA. Of course!