Montana State University

Memorial to be set in January for Phil Charles, longtime KGLT general manager

December 4, 2013

Phil Charles, who was general manager for MSU radio station KGLT-91.9 FM from 1989-2010, died last week in his native New Jersey.   High-Res Available

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Phil Charles, longtime general manager of KGLT-91.9 FM on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, passed away the last week of November in his hometown, Cape May Courthouse, N.J. He was 65.

Charles grew up in radio, loving short wave as a kid. As a young adult, he worked in California at KOME and KSJO radio stations and at San Francisco's alternative, progressive FM station, KSAN, led in the 1970s by the legendary "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue.  Frank Zappa once declared KSAN to be "the hippest station in the universe."

When he arrived at KGLT in the 1980s, Charles applied much of the KSAN open format concept to KGLT, making sure the DJs could choose their own music in diverse genres. 

"Tom Donahue beat it into our heads that it was all about the listeners and not about you," Charles would say. "When you think that way, you start looking at what you can do for your audience. That's really the key; people thinking about their audience."

Now in its 46th year, KGLT still uses the open format Charles instituted. 

Charles was general manager for KGLT from 1989 until his retirement in 2010. He was known for ending his broadcasts by saying, “Send my love to all.” 

Charles loved animals domestic and wild.  He had bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology as well as a master’s degree in entertainment business.  He proudly participated in the first Earth Day celebration at West Virginia’s Marshall University in 1970.

Charles is predeceased by his parents.  A memorial will be held in his honor in January with information to follow from KGLT.  Donations may be made to the organization of one’s choice.

Ellen King-Rodgers, 994-6484, ekrodger@montana.edu