Talk-show host Chuck Harder has died nearly 40 years after he began his career in talk radio.
His death, which took place April 10, received little coverage in the media at the time, but now Harder is being remembered by those who knew him and worked with him.
“Rest in peace, Chuck. You were a character,” wrote wrote Paul J. Blom, an author and online personality.
“A lot of people considered Chuck a conservative wingnut and was often parodied and lampooned by hosts at rival talk station WFLA back in the 1980s,” Blom continued. “I never felt that way. I think he discovered what many believe now – that there is an establishment class of politicians that run things up in Washington, D.C., a class that many in the know now call the Deep State. These establishment politicians don’t want outsiders (like our current president) running things, and most times they team up to thwart such efforts. In the 2016 elections, they were not as fortunate. Chuck was a big fan of H. Ross Perot, the 1992 and 1996 third-party candidate – and he laid the blueprints for Trump’s successful run as a Republican infiltrator in 2016, I’ve always believed.”
Harder, a disc jockey-turned-talk show host, decided to start his own radio network in 1987, and the result was the Sun Radio Network.
It mainly was to syndicate his “For The People” program.
When Sun was purchased later, Harder started Peoples Radio Network. During the mid-1990s, his program was carried on more than 300 radio stations.
“In all of my interactions with Harder, he was always positive and upbeat, always patient and not one to lose his temper as so many do in the radio business,” Blom wrote. “One time up in White Springs in 1994, I was running the board for him on an afternoon shift, and my duties were mainly to run the commercial breaks and news updates at the top of the hour and on the bottom. Back then, everything wasn’t in electronic form – we used 8-track like ‘carts’ on special machines. Harder always believed in using American equipment – but I was warned of a drawback in using these particular cart machines – that if you jammed a cart into the machine at the last moment, it would play the first few seconds at half-speed or thereabouts.
“One day, I found myself in such a situation with Chuck’s bumper music – music used so stations carrying the show could identify themselves right before the host began speaking again. Chuck had a senior producer who screened the phone callers and coordinated with any guests he’d use – and I thought for sure ‘blooping’ his bumper music would lead to consequences of some sort. Chuck mentioned my name on the air – but laughed it off. It was the kind of guy he was – if he ever castigated anybody for anything, I never saw it. At some other places I worked, had I done that – I would have been read the riot act.”
Tom Donahue, host of “America’s Town Forum” during the 1990s, also posted a tribune to Harder on LinkedIn.
“Upon learning of Chuck Harder’s passing with little fanfare within the radio industry, I decided to do something about it,” he said.
“Chuck Harder had an illustrious radio broadcast career that’s spanned decades. Harder had been a prominent radio DJ, talk show host, creator and founder of radio stations, talk radio networks, satellite systems, cable TV and newspaper projects. He worked in New York City radio and other markets, eventually leading to national syndication. Harder was on the forefront of broadcast evolution, forging new paths. He started the Sun Radio Network and the For The People radio program and organization, based in Tampa, Florida. Following a fallout with his new network business partners, he went on to form a new radio network The Peoples Radio Network, relocating to the Telford Hotel in White Springs, Florida,” Donahue wrote.
He said Harder “had a golden radio voice and was a complete natural on-air broadcaster.
“If any radio talent and consummate broadcaster deserves a place in the Radio Hall of Fame,” Donahue wrote, “it is Chuck Harder!”
He said Harder wasn’t a political partisan, but his politics “were of, for, and by the people.”
“Chuck was a consumer advocate who looked out for the little guy and the average American. He gave voice to the voiceless, offered common sense for the common man. He cared about our country and its people,” Donahue continued.
“He investigated and challenged the power elite structure and status quo in big business, big media, and big government. Chuck covered: consumer affairs, current events, trade and tax policies, political news, mega-monopolies, corruption, conspiracies and cover-ups, alternative media and free press, NASA and UFOs and much more.”
He noted Harder “was besieged for years with health ailments that included diabetes, weight struggles, leg and heart problems and finally a severe stomach disorder. Chuck died of health related complications. He had been confined to a nursing home in Gainesville, Florida.”
WND CEO Joseph Farah noted: “Chuck Harder was New Media before the digital age. He redefined talk radio, found a niche and made the most of it. I was a regular guest on Chuck’s show. He was always an engaging interviewer and a strong advocate as well. He will be missed.”