Wednesday, February 28, 2018

R.I.P.: Longtime Baltimore Personality Jack Gale

Jack Gale
Jack Gale, a popular morning host with the old WITH-AM radio station and a record company owner and producer, died Jan. 24 at his home in Sebring, Fla.

He was 92, according to The Baltimore Sun.

“Jack paid his dues at stations in Cumberland, Salisbury and Petersburg, Va., and did some short stints at WCBM and WSID in Baltimore,” said Robert “Bob” Mathers of Hanover, Pa., a longtime friend.

By the 1950s he had radio programs in Cleveland and Charleston, S.C., and returned to Baltimore at WITH 1230 AM, becoming one of Baltimore’s best known morning hosts.

“His morning show was wild and unpredictable,” said Mathers, who later worked with him at WITH-AM in the 1990s.

Mathers recalled his “man-on-the-street” interviews.

“Jack would be live on air and prepare for each one by lowering a 50-foot microphone cord out of the third-story studio window at 7 East Lexington St. to the sidewalk,” Mr. Mathers recalled. “He would then yell down to some unsuspecting passerby to grab the mic and answer a few questions.”

In March 1959, the radio station conducted a publicity stunt that involved the “firing” of Jack Gale live, on air.

“It produced hundreds of phone calls to the station from angry listeners,” Mr. Mathers said. “Colts fullback and restaurant owner Alan Ameche offered Gale a job as carhop, while TV’s Buddy Deane brought him on to his show to explain what happened.

“Three days later, a full-page ad in the Baltimore News-Post announced the return of Jack Gale to WITH,” Mr. Mathers said.

In 1962, while still a leading disc jockey and radio personality, he left the station to work at a rival Top 40 station, WWIN, after being turned down for a raise..

He left Baltimore radio about 1963 and worked for stations in Boston, Charlotte, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla.

In 1996, Gale came back to Baltimore to do mornings on WITH-AM after the station flipped to an oldies format. His first words on the air were: “It’s good to be back here in Baltimore after being gone for 33 years. Thanks to WITH for keeping the station together while I was away.”

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