Former Susquehanna exec Carlson passes


Art CarlsonArthur W. Carlson, longtime leader of iconic Susquehanna Radio has passed following a battle with heart ailments. RBR-TVBR extends its deepest sympathies to Mr. Carlson’s family and friends.

RBR-TVBR publisher Jim Carnegie, who knew Mr. Carlson as a competitor back in the day, remarked that he was an exceptional broadcaster. He said, “Carlson was a mentor who would sit down and talk with anybody, and was a great mentor to his successor, David Kennedy. Next to radio, golf was his passion.”

Another former Susquehanna veteran, David Kennedy, was kind enough to share his thoughts with RBR-TVBR. He said, “Art Carlson changed my life.  He did the same for hundreds and hundreds of other people in radio, and he did it on the strength of his passion for the business. He was one of the true pioneers of what we call radio today, having helped redefine the medium in the fifties and sixties, and the lessons he learned during that time guided him as he and Louis Appell began to build Susquehanna Radio into the company that it became.  His contributions to the industry have been lasting, from his seminal role in the formative years of the Radio Advertising Bureau to his ongoing work with the Library of American Broadcasting.  But perhaps most important of all, Art was a wonderful man; kind, funny, bright, creative, quirky, humble.  Yes, he loved golf, but that didn’t compare to his love for his family.  And I had the good fortune to have worked closely with him for over 20 years, and to follow in his footsteps.  If radio’s best years lie ahead of it, as many believe, then it will be because the fundamental principles of the business which Art held so dear will be adapted to today’s world:  service to local communities, putting the listener first, marketing partnerships with advertisers and, above all, compassion and respect for employees.”

In addition to his work with Susquehanna, he was a veteran member of the Radio Advertising Bureau and, according to one broadcast veteran, one of radio’s “true pioneers and strongest advocates.”

He was currently a strong backer of the Library of American Broadcasting, where he is named on the organization’s list of Forever Friends.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Funeral services for Art Carlson will be held Wednesday, November 7th at 3:00 PM at the Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home and Cemetery, 4750 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.  A reception will follow at the Plantation House at  Plantation of Ponte Vedra, Plantation Circle South, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.

And here is the official obituary:

Arthur William Carlson Jr., 82, passed away on November 3, 2012.  Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Business at age 20. Art was a tireless advocate for the radio industry. He served as President of Susquehanna Radio Corporation, retiring in 1995 after a 35-year tenure which saw the company grow from a handful of stations in Pennsylvania and Ohio to one of the largest, most successful, and most respected Radio companies in the country, acquiring and developing leading stations in markets ranging from San Francisco to Miami, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Orlando.

During his career in radio, Art helped pioneer several major industry developments, ranging from the evolution of the Top 40 format to the application of sophisticated research into listener and advertiser preferences.

Art was a staunch believer in the mission of the Radio Advertising Bureau, and eventually became Chairman of the RAB Board of Directors.  His passion for the Radio industry is evident in his record of more than 25 years without missing an RAB Board Meeting.

He has been an active board member of the Library of American Broadcasting, with a particular passion for the preservation of oral histories which chronicle the formative years of a dynamic industry.

An avid golfer, Art loved playing the game as well as spending time with his family and friends. He was a member of Sawgrass County Club for 36 years and a member of Plantation Country Club for 17 years. He was a longtime resident of York, PA before retiring permanently to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1995.

Art is survived by his beautiful wife of 34 years Linda, son Terry of Naples, FL and his wife Jill and their daughters Grace and Jenna; daughter Kathryn of Lancaster, PA and her husband Tom; daughter Jennifer of Alexandria, VA and her husband Tim and their children Maddy, Josh, Phoebe and Millie; son Robert and his daughter Kaytelin; and his son James of Chicago, IL and his wife Moira and son Will.

Art was a radio icon, sports fanatic and dearly loved husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider making a donation in Art’s honor to The Mayo Clinic.

November 4, 1929 –November 3, 2012