Veteran disc jockey and TV announcer Art Ferguson, better known to listeners as Charlie Tuna, has died at age 71. His website announced Feb. 29 that he had passed away peacefully in his sleep 10 days ago on Feb. 19.
Ferguson started his career in Los Angeles, where he was heard for the majority of his career. He worked as a morning drive radio personality for numerous stations and formats in Kansas, Boston and Oklahoma, but mainly in the Los Angeles area, including Top 40, AC, Hot AC, Oldies, Talk, Sports Talk and Country. Among the stations he was heard on in Los Angeles were Boss Radio KHJ, KROQ, KRLA, KMPC and KIIS-AM and KIIS-FM. In a 1993 interview with Claudia Puig of the Los Angeles Times, he said KHJ was always getting opportunities to play new rock ‘n’ roll for the first time anywhere. “Bands would cut a record on Tuesday, and Wednesday they’d give us a tape.” A vintage aircheck from his KHJ days is on Rock Radio Scrapbook.
He was also a familiar voice on TV as well, where he worked as announcer for the TV game show “Scrabble,” the syndicated “The Mike Douglas Show,” Dick Clark’s “The $25,000 Pyramid,” and “America’s Top 10 with Casey Kasem,” among many others. And he was on the big screen as a rock concert announcer in the 1977 movie “Rollercoaster” with Henry Fonda and Timothy Bottoms. He was also heard on the Voice of America from the ’70s through the ’90s.
He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In 1997, he was voted by readers of Los Angeles Radio People as one of the Top 10 Los Angeles Radio Personalities of All Time. In 2007 and again in 2013, he was elected by his broadcast peers on the LA Radio website as one of the Top 10 Los Angeles Radio Personalities. His website said memorial donations may be made to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.