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Local radio personality R Charles Snyder dies

A familiar voice on Rogue Valley radios has been lost. 

Websites for Opus Broadcasting stations, including KCNA 102.7 The Drive, KRVC Hot 98.9 and KROG 96.9 The Rogue, announced the passing of longtime disc jockey R. Charles Snyder. 

“It has surprised all of us,” said Opus Director of Sales Brian Fraser. “R Charles has been a fixture in radio.”

Snyder died on Sunday, according to Fraser. He declined to comment on cause of death.

Snyder covered the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift at Opus stations weekdays and was a dedicated member of their sales team, assisting advertisers.

"He also carried a significant list of clients, with whom he’d help market their business,” Fraser said. “It’s a busy and multifaceted job.”

His career in radio began in 1974 for KYJC 1230 AM in Medford.  Jerry Allen worked as station manager for KYJC at the time.

“It was more like family,” Allen recalled about the station's culture. “We used to tease a lot.”

Allen recalled the time he staged Snyder's promotion to look like a firing. Allen pulled him into his office in the middle of Snyder's shift.

"He just looked crestfallen," Allen recalled before offering Snyder the position of program director at KYJC. "I'll never forget the look on his face."

Sports announcer Jay "Byrd" Reese credits Snyder's role as an older brother figure and mentor as the reason he's spent three decades in broadcasting. It started with calls to the KYJC's request line in 1974 when Reese was 14.

"One night he asked if I wanted to come down," Reese remembered. He was awed by the station's equipment, records and turntables. If Reese stayed to the end of Snyder's shift, he'd let him take the couch at his apartment. The experience and Snyder's friendship were a respite for Reese from hardships at home. 

“He fueled the passion and taught me the technical stuff,” Reese said. 

He landed a job as a DJ at KYJC in 1976 thanks to the time he spent shadowing Snyder.

“I think back why Charlie would want a 14-year-old, snot-nosed redhead,” Reese said.

In 1985, when KTMT switched from a classical FM station to "Beat" 93.7, station manager Layne Jones knew hiring Snyder would be a critical key to taking the top spot from KYJC.

“(KTMT station owner) Bob Johnson and I sat down and asked who was going to make our station shine, and we picked Charlie,” Jones remembered.

Within a year, thanks in part to the "Morning Zoo," a successful morning show co-hosted by Snyder and Dan Cheek, the station accomplished what it set out to do.

“He succeeded. He topped the ratings within a year and became the most listened-to DJ," Reese remembers.

“That’s because of him. He was the reason KTMT just took over the market,” Allen remembers. “He had a passion for broadcasting, and he was really, really good at it.”

He was an avid racing fan, from NASCAR to local motor sports, and was a longtime announcer at Southern Oregon Speedway events.

“He was a great track announcer because he knew everyone in the car," Reese said. “He took an interest in people.”

Reach newsroom assistant Nick Morgan at nmorgan@mailtribune.com.

R. Charles Snyder