Reflections On Chuck Collier
September 23, 2011 2 Comments
UPDATE 9/24/2011 10:21 AM: Viewing for Chuck Collier will be Sunday from 3-7 p.m. at Klolidy-Lazuta Funeral Home, 5677 State Road, Parma. Funeral services will be private.
UPDATE 9/23/2011 10:15 AM: Scroll to the bottom for a new video link of Chuck Collier doing his WGAR show in 2004, with video of his Hall of Fame induction five years later…
The news of Thursday’s death of Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 afternoon drive host/music director Chuck Collier has hit the Northeast Ohio media community like a ton of bricks.
From co-workers and friends, in both radio and TV, among listeners…the reaction is simply – “stunned”.
At the Clear Channel Cleveland complex on Oak Tree Boulevard in Independence, where Chuck worked for both WGAR and as a midday voicetracker for oldies WMJI/105.7 “Magic 105.7”, that word could be amplified.
Bo Matthews, the WMMS/100.7-WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM” programmer and cluster social media director, told us in a Thursday tweet:
I can tell you- we are all in total shock. calling each other without having anything to say. shock.
What DO you say when a friend and colleague, clearly well-liked throughout both the building and the area media community, is suddenly taken from you?
What DO you say as a listener?
That’s one big key to the success of Collier, who may as well have had the WGAR call letters attached to him physically as a 40 year personality on the station – first, as a host on adult contemporary WGAR/1220, then as a fixture on the country version of WGAR at 99.5 FM, eventually landing in that station’s afternoon drive time slot.
Chuck Collier was not just a Hall of Fame disk jockey – that honor earned in the country music world in 2007.
He was a radio friend.
He was such a gifted communicator that plenty of us – who didn’t normally listen to country music radio – tuned by 99.5 weekday afternoons just to hear Chuck.
In the world of local radio, the biggest names…the icons, the legends…get that way because they have a CONNECTION with the listeners.
They’re not just the voice on the radio telling you “that was Rascal Flatts, and we’ll see if it’s going to rain this weekend, next”. They’re the person you invite into your life, your car, or your living room every afternoon.
That made Chuck a popular radio personality and a success in the ratings, but by all accounts, he was a success off the air as well.
Since we learned of his untimely passing while busy doing Other Things on Thursday, we’ve seen many in the local media community tell us that Chuck was just as popular when the microphone was turned off…quick to offer his help.
From former WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” anchor Alicia Booth on Twitter, just one example:
Feel sick about the death of Cleveland radio icon Chuck Collier. Super nice guy in a cut-throat industry. Always a pleasure to work with.
All Cleveland TV stations featured at very least a mention of Chuck’s passing, some with video and remembrances.
Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) never had the pleasure of meeting Chuck, or even communicating with him via E-mail.
But a representative of this blog – Secondary Editorial Voice(tm) Nathan Obral – did get a chance to catch up with Chuck at the 2011 WGAR Staff Reunion earlier this year.
From Nathan’s Facebook account:
It was such a blessing to have attended Jim Davison’s “1220/WGAR Means Music and More” reunion event back in June. The photos and videos never have done justice – just being in the mere presence of radio giants like Chuck was something truly special. I will never forget it.
Here’s a video of that June event, shot by local radio/TV video historian Ray Glasser.
Chuck is all over Ray’s video, with live shots from that day, an 1220 aircheck of his heard as part of the soundtrack (followed by an aircheck of another recently passed WGAR legend, J.R. Nelson), and plenty of shots of old 1220/WGAR memorabilia featuring him.
After all, what’s an event remembering WGAR, without the man who was woven tightly into the fabric of that station’s history? Chuck said “WGAR” into a microphone for some 40 years.
UPDATE 9/23/2011 10:15 AM: Detroit’s Art Vuolo, “Radio’s Best Friend”, produced this video of a 2004 studio visit with Chuck while he was on WGAR, which is followed by his 2009 Hall of Fame induction. Hat tip to OMW reader John Gorman for bringing this to our attention: