Veteran broadcaster Carl Hirsch, whose long career put him at the head of four radio groups over the years, has died suddenly at age 64. He apparently suffered a heart attack.
Long-time friend John Gorman, who programmed Cleveland stations for multiple Hirsch companies, informed friends that Hirsch had died suddenly on Monday evening (2/28). He was apparently having dinner with friends when stricken.
“He recognized talent, provided everyone a wide berth to succeed, and had only two rules: Don’t make the same mistake twice and don’t jeopardize the (radio) license. Other than that, he fostered and encouraged creativity and taking chances,” Gorman said. “There was only one Carl Hirsch in the radio business and those of us who worked with him know how fortunate we were.”
“He was a brilliant strategist, a inventive dealmaker, and leader who fostered creativity and innovation in media,” Gorman told RBR-TVBR.
Veteran broadcaster Dean Goodman called Hirsch his best friend and said the two recently had physicals at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, which both passed with flying colors.
“A lot of us that knew him really well and from his radio days his name was ‘The Duke.’ The reason he got that was that he did everything with so much class. Carl, for those who diudn’t know him, would talk to and get involved with and help everybody from the janitor to a CEO. He did that all his life. And his work recently with the Cleveland Clinic had been purely dedicated in large part to getting people medical care that couldn’t afford it,” Goodman said of his friend.
“For me it’s a big loss as a friend and it just saddens me so greatly that he didn’t get to see – his favorite line was that he was one deal from happiness – and he didn’t get to see the last deal,” said Goodman, who was partner with Hirsch on a new venture yet to be announced.
Hirsch first rose to the top management ranks as President and COO of Malrite Communications, based in his hometown of Cleveland. After 11 years at Malrite through 1985 Hirsch became President and CEO of Legacy Broadcasting from 1986-1990. He then launched OmniAmerica, which first owned radio stations and then became a publicly traded tower company after selling the radio group. That company ran eight years from 1991-1999. Then it was back to radio in 2000 with another new company, NextMedia Group, where Hirsch was Executive Chairman for seven years until stepping down in 2007. He also maintained his own management and consulting company, Legacy Management Group, from 1996 until his death.
With his deep Cleveland roots, Hirsch last year donated $1 million to the Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Health and Wellness Center, which happens to be in Palm Beach, where he had lived in recent years. The main lobby of the facility was named the Carl E. Hirsch Family Lounge.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
RBR-TVBR observation: Few people enjoyed radio more than Carl Hirsch. He just loved the business and kept coming back for new adventures. We will miss him, as will a great many of our readers.
The photo shown is the one he had most recently selected for his Facebook profile. Yep, that’s Carl – a happy guy who loved life.