Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Charlie Tuna

Not the Starkist mackerel on the can of Tunafish. I mean Charlie Tuna L.A. radio personality at KRTH. Art Ferguson first became Charlie Tuna at KOMA in Oklahoma City. The nickname was a hand-me-down from DJ Chuck Riley who moved on to other pseudonyms.

I only first heard of the big Tune last fall. KBIG added a slightly deeper playlist to their Hot AC format. They didn't want to go all the way to adult hits, but they wanted to tweak thigns a bit. They tweaked Charlie righ tout the back door. They cut all their DJs and went all automated. Somhow "MY fm” didn't involve any me in my. But Clear Channel didnt' can Charlie, immediately. Thus ended a 7 year reign at K-BIG.

What I didn't know was that Charlie was also on 930 KHJ-AM back when it was "The Boss." That original team at The Boss still hads a lock on Los Angeles, they are the kings of the airwaves.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Charlie with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990. he was the first of the KHJ staff to get one. In 2008 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

It was in 1967 that Charlie scored a slot at KHJ. He debuted on Thanksgiving Day. He never really left LA after that. He had a non-compete that sent him to san Diego KCBQ for 6 months. But, in 1972, he moved over to 1500 KROQ-AM back in LA. It was attempting a wild top-40 format we'd think of as Classic Rock now. But the station had a rocky start, had trouble paying the DJS, the station even went off air at one point. In 1976, the FCC told it's owner Gary Bookasta KROQ would lose its license if they didn't resume broadcasting. KROQ went back on-air. It was much too unstable for Tuna. He bolted and got a gig at KKDJ in 1974. He eventually became management.

In addition to the above he's worked at KGFW, KLEO, KBZT, WMEX, KTNQ, KCBS, KHTZ KRLA, KODJ, KMPC, KIKF, KKDJ, KIIS-AM & FM, KCBQ, and KLAC. I don't think that's every stick in the city.. but it might be a record.