Phil Charles, retired longtime g.m. of KGLT-FM in Bozeman, Mont., died Nov. 29 of heart failure at his home in Cape May Court House, N.J. He was 65.
Charles joined KGLT in the 1980s and stayed for more than two decades before retiring in 2010. He introduced a freeform format on the station. A licensee of Montana State University, KGLT brands itself as “Alternative Public Radio” and airs music and several nationally distributed public radio programs.
Before arriving in Bozeman, Charles worked at a series of alternative stations throughout the 1970s, including KSAN in San Francisco and KSJO and KOME in San Jose, Calif. He applied the freeform format he worked with at KSAN to KGLT.
“It was all about the listeners and not about you,” Charles said in a 2010 profile of the station published in an MSU magazine. “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.”
KGLT created an audio collage in memory of Charles, compiling his sign-offs over the years.
A memorial for Charles will be held in January. Those who wish to honor his memory are encouraged to donate to the organization of their choice.