Chuck Stevens, a longtime Tulsa radio disc jockey, died Sunday, his station reported.
He was 52.
Services are pending.
Stevens had been a radio mainstay in Tulsa for more than 30 years, most recently as the morning voice of 100.9 Totally Awesome ’80s (KTSO-FM). Before that he enjoyed a long run at Mix 96.5 (KRAV-FM).
When Stevens wasn’t serving up hits on the air, he often could be found performing them. He was known across the Tulsa area for singing the songs of country icon Merle Haggard with his band Merle Jam.
As Tulsa’s radio community mourned Stevens’ death on Monday, his former stations addressed the loss on their Facebook pages.
Totally Awesome ’80s, which planned to spend much of its morning show paying tribute to Stevens, posted: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Chuck Stevens’ passing. Chuck has been the morning voice of Totally Awesome ’80s for almost two years, and was a familiar voice on the radio for many decades in Tulsa.”
“He was proud of his hometown of Skiatook,” the station added. “Chuck loved being an uncle and a brother and a son. He was about family and friends, through and through.”
Mix 96.5 wrote: “A very kind, funny, good guy died yesterday. Chuck Stevens. Chuck spent much of his career with Mix 96.5. During that time he made lifelong friendships with many of us at Cox Media Group. Chuck loved spending time with his family and friends. Godspeed Chuck.”
Among Tulsa radio personalities reacting to the news Monday was KVOO’s Sunny Leigh. She said she still remembers the first time 14 years ago she heard that “booming yet velvety voice” of Stevens’. She was new to Tulsa, she said, and although with a competing station, he welcomed her warmly to town.
“Chuck was a gentleman. He was a professional. He was a dear friend,” Leigh said. “He didn’t care who you were or who you worked for; he was a friend. He was one of the radio good guys.”
He was so loved, she added, “that KVOO hired his band to play at our company Christmas party a few years back even though he worked for the competition. Absolutely everyone loved him.”
Veteran Tulsa radio broadcaster Rick Couri also paid homage to Stevens: “Chuck was as terrific a person as you will meet,” he wrote on Facebook. “Funny, talented, electric personality. But all that pales in comparison to one thing. Chuck was kind.
“That may mean a supportive word, like the one he sent me on Friday. It could be a slap on the back, or a laugh after a good joke. In this often very selfish and cynical world, Chuck stood out as an old-fashioned man.”
Stevens began his radio career in the mid-1980s with KAKC-AM in Tulsa.
He was a native of Skiatook and graduated from Skiatook High School.
“I was a radio dial-hopper as a kid,” Stevens told the Tulsa World once. “I’d call the stations with requests all the time.”
By 13, he added, he was staying up late, listening to Billy Parker’s all-night truckers’ show on KVOO — a show that he would eventually helm himself.
“I used to think, ‘What a way to make a living,’ ” Stevens said.