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Radio DJ remembered as someone who cared about his community

PROCTORVILLE — The sudden death of longtime Tri-State radio personality Chuck Black has the Proctorville community remembering and mourning one of their own.

Lawrence County Municipal Judge Donald Capper was a friend of Black’s starting in grade school.

“He was very gregarious, personable, fun,” Capper said. “Radio was a natural fit for him. It was something he was good at.”

Black, 56, died Tuesday afternoon while he was playing golf with his brother at a Lavalette,W.Va., course. The DJ’s most recent on-air job was the morning show on 93.7 The Dawg, which he joined in 2010. Before that Black was heard on WTCR-FM from 1990 to 2000.

“One of the things I thought about were the times I would call him when I was involved with some sort of charity and needed an emcee,” Capper said. “I can never remember him saying ‘No.’ He was Fairland-Proctorville through and through. He is impossible to replace.”

Another Fairland classmate was Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham, who spent many seasons playing baseball with Black — Burcham as center fielder and Black as shortstop.

“He was a great guy, very dependable,” Burcham said. “He always had a kind word to say to people, one of those personalities you could always depend on. He cared deeply about the community.”

Like Capper, Burcham said Black’s career choice was not a surprise.

“Chuck always had that kind of personality, larger than life,” Burcham said. “He had a good voice. It was a niche he fit in.”

This past Saturday at the annual Appalachian Uprising in Scottown was the last time fellow radio personality J.B. Miller saw his friend and colleague when Black emceed the music festival.

“As hard as it is I am thankful for Saturday and Appalachian Uprising,” Miller said. “I spent four quality hours laughing and talking. We cut up and told radio stories. It was four really fun hours.”

A few years ago Miller made an unplanned career switch when he was let go from his longtime morning radio show. He then became the manager of the ReStore, the non-profit home improvement store that supports Habitat for Humanity in Huntington, W.Va.

Besides his on-air job Black also sold advertising for Kindred Communications.

“He’d often come to Habitat to sell me advertising,” Miller said. “I’d always joke, ‘Here comes Chuck trying to take my money.’ One day he came in and said, ‘I want to talk with you about getting back into radio.’ I credit him with returning me to radio.”

About a year ago, Miller went back to radio part-time as the early morning personality on Big Buck Country 101.5 FM.

Both men also had their own separate sideline mobile DJ businesses where they would emcee weddings and dances.

“If I had a wedding and couldn’t do it, he would,” Miller said. “If he was busy, he would give one to me.”

Mike Boster, Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency director, remembered the fun side of the man who was his neighbor for years.

“He enjoyed people, reaching out to people and connecting with people,” Boster said. “He was just an all-round people type of person. He enjoyed making people laugh.”

Another colleague was Sarah Diamond Burroway, who got her first radio job when Black hired her at WLGC in Greenup, Ky., as a part-time on air personality and announcer while she was still in college.

“Chuck was always really kind and constructive,” she said. “He wanted to see people that he believed in and thought had talent succeed. But he wasn’t afraid to be tough when the situation warranted. He was the top of his game. He was really relatable to the listeners.”

Burroway also remembers Black’s dedication to the community and willingness to donate his time to fundraisers and special causes.

“He was a big advocate for organizations that work with children, special needs, charities that helped with medical causes,” she said. “He was an all-around hometown guy.”