Sunday, November 18, 2012


The late Art Carlson of WARM Radio, the early days. 


Art Carlson, one of the founders of Susquehanna Broadcasting and by extension WARM died earlier this month. Carlson was 81. Carlson was a native of St. Paul , Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950. He went into radio sales and worked for two radio stations and a television station. He left WDGY Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1957 to go to New York with ABC Radio Services Department. In 1958, he joined the he joined the Susquehanna Broadcasting Company as General Manager of WARM, Wilkes Barre/ Scranton . Art came to Akron in 1960, when Susquehanna acquired WHLO (formerly WHKK). As Vice President and General Manager, he completely revamped the format and made the station a major factor in the Akron/Canton market. He was Senior Vice President of Susquehanna located in York , Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau and served as its Chairman in 1988 and 1978. 
When Carlson joined WARM in 1958 he became part of Northeastern Pennsylvania history. He took a floundering radio station and made it into the number 1 radio outlet for years to come. Not only that, he made WARM part of people’s very lives. His training of the WARM air staff even made WARM so popular that NEPA was even nicknamed WARMland. Carlson was instrumental in negotiating the radio station known as WARM from the Scranton family. His training of the WARM disc jockeys was intense, heavily formatted but extremely successful. It didn’t hurt that Carlson was only about ten years older than the radio men he was training. Through the years, he always kept a pulse on WARM and a hand in its operations. 
No one will ever know for sure if the name Arthur Carlson was a tribute or a nod to Art when the show WKRP In Cincinnati came on the air. The character played by the late Gordon Jump was portrayed as a bit of a goof, which I’m told Carlson was not. Still, you have to wonder where the name or idea for it came from. Without it though, Art Carlson was already a legend. Every broadcaster, every manager or man of business wants to have a legacy. Art Carlson’s legacy is not only the unqualified success of WARM and Susquehanna but the legions of radio broadcasters too numerous to mention. But if the Original Sensational 7 and early 1960s broadcasters of WARM were the disciples of rock and roll, Art Carlson was their John the 


Editor’s Note: In future 590 FOREVER editions, we’ll relay a few more Art Carlson stories.