Radio legend Charlie Douglas dies at 78
November 30, 2011 | by: Lucinda Coulter
The legendary announcer was named Overdrive’s Disc Jockey of the Year in 1973, in part from the success of the Road Gang show started in 1970 on WWL with a clear channel signal out of New Orleans. The show’s format with news for truckers, weather and country music attracted truckers and many other nighttime audiences nationwide. Douglas made regular appearances at trucking conventions in the ’70s, and his column of that era, “Country Music Scene,” ran in Overdrive.
Douglas, a native of Ludowici, Ga., never drove a big rig but grew up around them. His father owned trucks and tractor-trailers that delivered pulpwood, pine and cypress to a local lumber mill.
“Truckers and construction workers are the last vestiges of hard-nosed pride in being male,” Douglas once told Overdrive. “They are the last ones to practice that time-honored art of whistling at pretty girls. This nation would be in one helluva fix if it weren’t for the men that follow lines between the ditches . . . and the ladies too, ‘bless ‘em. I appreciate and admire the entire industry.”
Many in the entertainment field appreciate Douglas’ legacy. “Trucking radio lost the man who invented the genre,” Sirius/XM radio’s Dave Nemo, former Road Gang co-host, told TV station WWLTV.com. “He will live on in the memories of all who rode through the night with this great friend of the truck driver.” Read more about trucking’s early radio DJs, including Douglas, in April’s OverdriveRetro story.
Already a veteran when he started the Road Gang, Douglas first broadcast at KLIC in Monroe, La., in 1953. He was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1994. In the early 1980s, he advanced his radio career in Nashville and started Compact Disc Xpress with partner Paul Lovelace in the mid ’90s.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
A memorial is planned for Saturday, Dec. 3 in Picayune, Miss., where Douglas lived, according WWLT.com.