The Northeast Ohio media community is stunned this morning by the death of veteran Akron and Cleveland broadcaster Chuck Collins.
Chuck’s death is not a surprise, per se. He’s been battling brain cancer for years.
But Chuck Collins had an impact on local broadcasters in both personal and professional ways.
Chuck was most recently operations director for the Rubber City Radio Group’s three Akron stations, then-oldies/news (now news/talk/sports) WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9.
After very successful runs at Cleveland’s M105 (now iHeart classic hits WMJI “Majic 105.7”), and Akron’s WKDD/then-96.5 (now 98.1), where he rose to program director and crafted WKDD’s dynamic sound, Chuck came to West Market Street as program director and midday personality at oldies WAKR. He added the additional oversight duties not long after his arrival.
Rubber City VP/information media and OMW reader Ed Esposito shares the story on the WAKR website:
We mourn the loss of Chuck Collins, who passed away last night following a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was 62. While today our hearts are heavy, as we look back we celebrate a remarkable individual, colleague and friend. He truly stood as a brother to all.
In the item, RCRG president/general manager Thom Mandel has some insight into Chuck’s run at his stations:
Chuck became WAKR’s most popular DJ. Chuck embraced new technologies, and was one of our key players in developing the company’s corporate social media style. He became our staff photographer. Whenever a new project came along, Chuck raised his hand and said: “Let me do it!”
Chuck retired from the station a bit over a year ago. It was important that he use the time he had left to take care of Chuck. And so, he did that.
But Mandel says even in retirement, Chuck kept asking how the stations were doing.
Chuck will be remembered fondly by everyone who ever knew him. It was impossible not to like him. He was kind. He was loyal. He was intelligent. He was funny. He was a good friend.
And he was a devoted husband to his wife, Monika…who has a lot of support right now.
Chuck Collins was also a writer.
Our first contact with him was in 2006, when he started writing mystery novels under the pen name Elmer Polk.
We caught up with him again, shortly before he joined Rubber City Radio Group:
The former WKDD programmer tells OMW that he is “happy to return to radio”.
He won’t let us know what capacity he’ll fill, but Chuck would seem to hint in his comment that he’ll be somewhere within the Akron Radio Center on West Market Street, home to Rubber City Radio’s trio of WQMX/94.9, WONE/97.5 and WAKR/1590.
In addition to “The Radio Murders: The Collectors”, Chuck later wrote a diary about his cancer battle, “RoBBing Mind”.
As usual when someone well-loved passes away in this business, social media sites are full of tributes to Chuck Collins.
We have noticed that since the news broke at shortly before 10 PM Thursday night, almost invariably on Facebook, people are sharing pictures of Chuck…many of them personal pictures of them with him.
Chuck Collins…talented broadcast professional, writer, and someone who liked people.
And they…liked him back…