Thursday, January 22, 2009


January 22, 2009

Charles Timothy Marsh died early this morning. He was about 72 years old, and for almost 60 of those years was involved in broadcasting, in one form or another. Using a variety of names including Casey Jones and more recently, his own, Chuck Marsh, he worked as a jock, a program director, a news director, a newsman, manager of an early rock and roll star, and a bit actor in TV. His adventures took him all across the country. He worked at more radio stations than most of us can name in markets from Hillsdale and Battle Creek to Tucson, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. And in his prime, he had a voice that was at least three times bigger than his five-foot frame. (Why do the biggest voices always come from the smallest guys???)

It was in Battle Creek that Chuck met Del Shannon and became his first manager. There are those, including Chuck, that claim he helped Shannon write the huge hit, “Runaway,” but never got any writer’s credit. I heard Del Shannon himself, shortly before he died in 1990, confirm that Chuck Marsh was his first manager.

Chuck was an early program director at Top 40 WLAV in the early ‘60’s, worked with and remained friends with Shadoe Stevens out west, and came back to Michigan where he bounced from market to market.

Chuck was a highly talented and intelligent man with some significant weaknesses, which he freely admitted. He battled Demon Rum most of his adult life, not unlike many in our business during those days. That was a battle that he won about a dozen years ago. He never was able to kick the smokes, though, even near the end when an oxygen bottle was his constant companion. He had significant successes and notable failures. He was one of the most creative and truly funny people I have ever known… and one of the most irreverent!

Chuck Marsh was a hard living, hard drinking late Twentieth Century radio guy who mostly loved every minute of his 70-plus years. Underneath that rough exterior, there was also a tender spirit. I hired him, and fired him, and hired him again. Our association began at WKMI in the 70’s. It ended with his death today. I shall miss him.