Charlie Brown (born Yisrael S. Freedman) was originally from the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee. Before landing his first radio job in 1969 with WGEZ-AM in Beloit, WI, he was a Navy Seabee platoon/battalion radio operator until a rocket attack during the Viet Nam war’s Tet Offensive left him partially disabled. After returning home from Southeast Asia, he attended Milwaukee’s Career Academy of Broadcasting, The DeVry Institute of Technology in Chicago and later, Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL.
In the 1970’s he was one of Polk County’s most popular and highly-rated air personalities at WQPD (1971-72; 1976-77), WGTO (1972-73), WONN (1974-75), and Christian station WCIE-FM where he was known on the air as “Gary” (1977-79). In 1984-85, he was “J.R.” on the morning shift at 97 Country WPCV where he topped Tampa’s Q105 in the ARB ratings.
Other stations included Lakeland’s WLAK, Winter Haven’s WINT (1971-72) and WZNG (as “Charlie Rock” 1975), Lakeland’s WVFM-FM (1983-84), WBAR in Bartow, WKIS in Orlando (as “Chuck Gary” 1975-76), and Tampa’s WHBO (1985-86). He was also with stations in Janesville, WI, Lansing and Kalamazoo, MI, and Lake Charles and Lafayette, LA.
With over four decades in the radio business under his belt, Charlie later made his home on seven acres just outside Jacksonville, FL where he was the program manager, chief operator, engineer, and station manager for AM-1050 The Rose WROS. He’s also a licensed Master Certified Electronics Technician (CETma), private pilot, professional speaker, and business consultant.
In March 2015, Brown hung up the headphones, departed WROS where he had been the morning on-air personality and station manager for 12 years, and retired to his 10-acre lakefront horse ranch in Eagle Lake. Three years later, in 2018, he came out of retirement and was persuaded to join the Boss Hogg Radio Network of stations (WWAB/Lakeland, WHNR/ Winter Haven, and WKFL/Bushnell), all simulcast from WHNR (the primary station), where he pulls the Saturday and Sunday 6AM-12N shift.
1974 - 1975 WONN (On Air Personality)