By Don "Action" Jackson
When the date for the iheartradio Music Fest began to draw near, it reminded me of an anniversary I wish I didn’t have to commemorate. My… no wait… OUR good friend Chuck Collier passed away last year at this time. The only reason I was reminded of that was because last year at this time we had to get in touch with some staff that was in Vegas for the iheartradio show to tell them. It’s for that reason alone the events are sadly linked in my mind, because otherwise it certainly doesn’t seem like that it’s been that long.
In our building, the office space where Chuck worked has been left pretty much untouched since his passing. We’ve moved people around to different spaces in the building, but, not surprisingly, no one wanted to take that spot. It’s quite symbolic of the fact that no one could take Chuck Collier’s place in this world. Truly one of a kind. That phrase gets overused, but it’s very true in Chuck’s case.
Ironically, that workspace isn’t where I REALLY got to know the man. About 7 years ago we worked in adjoining cubicles in a remote part of the building for a while, along with another good radio friend of mine Jay Hudson. All of us taking care of music duties for our respective stations; Chuck for WGAR, Jay for Mix (now “The Lake”) and I for Majic.
It was there, over the cubicle wall that Chuck and I would often communicate about his childhood in the country, his humble beginnings as a broadcaster in the 60s, and his amazing music knowledge, among other things. Many people compliment me about my ability to talk about the tunes I play, and while I’m flattered by that, I can’t tell you how much I learned about the music of the 50s and 60s from Chuck. He was that veritable fountain of info everybody talks about.
On a more personal level, Chuck had a way of making me feel comfortable enough to open up about things that I wouldn’t normally talk about to someone I knew that short of a time. And as the years went by, we talked about almost every aspect of our lives. Over that wall, while typing away we laughed, got frustrated (usually that was Chuck with another computer problem that Jay and I would come around and help him with,) sing, laugh some more, then notice the late hour and realize we needed to continue our long conversation another time.
I’m sure you understand all of the above if you ever met Chuck in person. He didn’t just shake your hand at a personal appearance, he got to know you, even if it was for a second or two. His picture should be in the dictionary next to the phrase “People Person.” He’s one of the few people I know, that could seem to talk endlessly and never bore you. Even if it was a subject on the news we were baffled by, and just pondering stuff. Even THAT was entertaining.
Chuck made everyone around him feel good, and while I’m sad that he’s gone, I must say that that’s a pretty good legacy to have, and a great impression to leave on this earth, and on the people who were lucky enough to know Chuck for either mere minutes, or in my case, a number of years.
I love you Chuckster.