Behind the Mic – A look at Florida Legend Gnarly Charlie

By Darrian Bellino

Radio has evolved greatly over time but the one thing that has changed the most is the personalities in the business. One such personality is Gnarly Charlie — a radio industry veteran of 45 years and host of Awesome 80s Friday Nights on Magic 102.7 Miami. When asked his favorite part of being in the industry, Gnarly Charlie responds, “Love music, been doing it my whole life. Love being able to play great music and entertain people.”

“Fun, Exciting, very often crazy. If you really put your heart and soul into it you will succeed with a little luck and patience,” Gnarly Charlie advises those interested in joining the radio industry. Kwesi Dukes gives another perspective on the working in radio industry by saying, “They should have thick skin because they’ll be critiqued by good and bad critics. Pretty much accept the good with the bad.” He went on to say, “It’s a mass marketing giant that’s used to reach people of similar interest.” This is effective because most people listen to the radio at some point whether it’s in the car or just for enjoyment. “Radio can never go out of date. It is a great deployment for companies to advertise their brand and secretly get good deals out there to the people,” said Adam Eisenberg, Marketing & Artist Relations at Republic Records.

There are college students who don’t know what to do post-graduation and some who know exactly what to do. Is radio the right field for everyone? Probably not but could be a great exploration. “Seeing it’s all I’ve done for 45 years that would be a definite yes, if you are really committed to it,” Gnarly Charlie said when asked if he would recommend a career the radio industry. He added,  “The industry has never been stronger for future broadcasters.”

Speaking about appealing to the radio’s customer base, Dukes stated, “I feel that the business needs the listeners because if no one listened, the personality wouldn’t even have a market for marketing. So have a bright personality if you plan to pursue media as a career.” Gnarly Charlie takes a different approach by saying, “Every time I crack the mic I have fun, especially playing Awesome 80s Every Friday Nights on Magic 102.7. Always fun talking to the people about the music and having a good time on the radio.”

No doubt Gnarly Charlie will be on the air as long as he can provide great entertainment to all of his listeners. His final words of advice to anyone joining the radio industry? “Always be willing to learn new things. Be open minded and always be positive.”

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