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Graham Armstrong RIP

BACK WHEN IT WAS GRAHAM ARMSTRONG’S SHERMAN OAKS: Veteran urban radio exec and former HITS editor Graham Armstrong passed away today. Armstrong helped run Paisley Park for Prince and was a PD at WGCI Chicago. Here’s a very personal remembrance: While Compact Discs were flying off retailers’ shelves and radio programmers were dictating the nation’s music buying habits, all hell was breaking loose at HITS. Amid the nonstop, artificially stimulated, outrageously sophomoric antics of a staff empowered by the never-ending CD boom, Graham Armstrong never waivered from being Graham Armstrong. Surrounded by screaming, ego-driven, often hygienically-challenged HITS maniacs milking every second out of their music industry trip, Graham Armstrong was soft-spoken, dignified, impeccably dressed and clearly thrilled to be there—all while remaining unaffected by his challenging surroundings.While many around him were acting like jacked-up goofballs and imbeciles, Graham Armstrong was acting like…well, like Graham Armstrong. That’s saying a lot… It’s not that Graham was above it all. He was happy to play with whatever editorial hi-jinks were thrown his way. The weekly pictorial “Graham Armstrong’s Sherman Oaks” clearly wasn’t in his comfort zone, but he jumped in with positive resolve and class. Which is kind of like he approached everything he did at HITS. During those years, that was no easy task. If we had to describe Graham Armstrong during his time at HITS, ultimately the best description would be: He was Graham Armstrong. And that’s saying a lot. (3/1p)

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