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Charlie Day

Charlie Day

(written by Charlie’s daughter, Mary Jane Skala)

As news director of WGAR, he was the dean of Cleveland newscasters in the '50s and the '60s, before TV bloodied radio in the early '70s. Cleveland was a tough old bird back then. She was one of the country's 10 biggest cities, a gritty, ornery, belching steel town, and the people who covered her - Milt Widder, Wally Guenther, Bus Bergen, Dick Feagler, Doris O'Donnell and Don Bean - knew her intimately. They loved her and sparred with her, and my father did too. Cleveland's history is my history too. Because of his job, I was literally fed Cleveland at the dinner table. My father did newscasts at noon and 6, then came home and told us about his day over supper. I breathed this stuff in like oxygen. He knew George Voinovich, Art Modell, Jim Stanton, Ralph Perk, Carl Stokes and Dennis Kucinich before Kucinich was mayor. He covered the Sam Shepard trial, the Kent State shootings and school desegregation. One night in 1966 he called my mother from the roof of a building in Hough. He was watching the riots from up there. And I still remember the groggy dawn Paul Brown got fired because Brown called my father to tell him. My father met the Lone Ranger, John Glenn, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Phil Rizzuto and Lyndon Johnson. He trained newsies Jack Perkins, Doug Poling and Bill Beutell, who went on to New York. He covered the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and went to Russia with Vice President Richard Nixon during the Cold War in 1959. My father was troubled when newspapers began courting reporters and editors from out of town. They don't know this city, he'd say; and he said the stories showed that.  Even after he retired he never lost his passion for news.

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