Charlie Chuck returns to Saturday morning radioWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio listeners once again will hear the voice of Charlie Chuck beginning Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon, as he returns to the airwaves at WJUC-The Juice, 107.3 FM.
Chuck, the on-air name for W. Charles Welch, the station’s founder and president, said his fans kept calling to ask when they could tune in to his unique style of hosting a show that blends genres such as jazz, R&B and some Gospel. His show was canceled about three years ago in an effort to improve ratings on Saturday mornings.
“My program director’s son, he fired me,” Welch said jokingly. “He told me we were getting beat by the competition in that time slot and we needed to do something different. So I told him, ‘OK, well, next week I’ll just go off the air.’”
Still trying to “catch a phrase” to name the show, Welch plans to wing it, creating the format as a work in progress. He’ll invite guests for spots and address issues as they arise. The easygoing approach mimics his style of managing the station, which he describes as “really good, really relaxing.”
“I’m just going to do it and include some talk in between the music and have some city people on and state people and common people to make some short conversation, not some long, drawn-out talk show; there’s enough talk already,” Welch said.
“We’ll be doing things like, of course, voting and voter registration and whatever else comes up at the time, whatever the situation is in the community. That’s the reason for going back on the air.”
His radio career spans four decades, beginning in 1969 as the “morning voice of “Kooler Radio” at WLKR-99.9 FM. He commuted from Detroit in the early days, where he lived since age 13 after his family moved from his native state of Alabama. He also entertained the idea of singing for a living, he said, but found the road to stardom a little rougher than he had hoped.
“I wanted to be a recording artist,” Welch said. “I started missing some of the payments on my house and couldn’t feed the family so I said, ‘Hey, I better try to spin the records instead of trying to make them.’”
Founding the station also tested his mettle, having to file a lawsuit to secure his license during the Reagan administration. The ordeal in court was “like a murder trial,” Welch explained, but he finally built the station from the ground up after years of litigation and a whole lot of praying.
Welch’s trials and tribulations have paid off as he enjoys a relatively carefree lifestyle. He said he avoids the back biting, snooping and slandering other station owners and managers often resort to because it’s not his character. And while he intends to stay on the air indefinitely, the time may come to “snatch himself off” the time slot again if it’s in the best interest of the station.
“I love being my own boss … all I want to do is to support my family and help other people if I can,” he added. “I don’t expect to be a millionaire at this; I just want to live a comfortable life and support my family.”