Friday, October 17, 2008

Tim Karlson

Let me tell you a story about Tim Karlson.

Tim was doing afternoon drive, 3 to 7 pm, when I arrived at WARM in 1981. Getting the job there was a major thrill. I was now working with some of the people I listened to growing up, and it was a kick. Before landing the WARM job, Tim worked at WSCR, and I remember him from his time up the dial. He called himself the "Crazy Redhead."

Don't ask me why, but Tim took an interest in me. I was just the kid who worked weekend overnights, playing the religion and public affairs shows on tape. He had me record some fake newscasts. A critique and advice from Tim always followed. When I got good enough, he played them for the news director. It led to a small on-air role, which eventually led to a larger one. I have to add that I had no idea Tim was working behind the scenes to help me out, and he never asked for a thing in return.

My first newscast occurred when my Sunday morning relief didn't show up, but my first regularly scheduled newscast, as a real member of the on-air staff, took place during Tim's show.

I owe Tim a lot.

We worked on opposite ends of the WNEP building in recent years. I was in news. Tim was in client services and produced commercials. A meeting in the hallway was always an opportunity to talk about our radio days, and it was always a treat. I usually called him "Timothy Ralph" or "TRK." Tim's middle name is Ralph, and I remembered that from the way he signed the program logs back at the radio station. His work back then, as it was until the day he left WNEP, was meticulous.

As you've probably heard by now, Tim passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He suffered through a lot of pain over the years, more than any one person should have to endure. Sometimes, life isn't fair.

I'll steal a phrase Marisa Burke used last night on Newswatch 16: "It was an honor and a privilege to work with Tim Karlson."