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CHARLIE TUNA,
1944-2016

Legendary DJ Charlie Tuna, whose given name was Art Ferguson, died 2/19. He would’ve turned 72 on 4/18. Tuna “passed away peacefully in his sleep,” according to his website. The cause of death has not been disclosed.  

After entering the radio biz at age 16 on KGFW in his native Kearney, Neb., he did stints at stations in Wichita, Oklahoma City and Boston before heading west to L.A. to do the 9-to-noon shift at KHJ, starting on Thanksgiving 1967, during the height of the ’60s pop explosion. He became known as one of L.A. radio’s “Boss Jocks,” along with Humble Harv and The Real Don Steele, during those halcyon days of Top 40 radio.

Tuna helped launch KROQ-AM in 1972, jumping to the PD/morning drive gig at KKDJ a year later. In 1975, he presided over KKDJ’s transformation to KIIS. In the succeeding years, Tuna bounced between KTNQ, KHTZ (renamed KBZT), KRLA, KODJ (which became KCBS-FM), KMPC, KIKF and KLAC, before going on to host the high-profile show Charlie Tuna in the Morning at KBIG. There he remained until 2007, when KBIG flipped formats to AC, and jumped to weekends at K-Earth, where we could spin the classic singles he’d introduced to the L.A, audience over the previous decades.

During his career, Tuna also worked with Casey Kasem on his weekly TV show America's Top 10, hosted several syndicated oldies series and did a long-running show on the American Forces Radio Network.

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