I got the news that Dan Wastler passed away yesterday, and I was immediately filled with regret…
Although I worked for Dan for almost 8 years at Q104, I never really got to know him very well. I hosted the crazy, carnival morning show on Q104, and he was the straight arrow, kept-at-arms-length general manager. We battled weekly, and celebrated daily.
Dan was always the first to congratulate me on great ratings, but also the first to call me on the carpet for whatever offense he or CBS deemed had crossed the line.
In fact, Dan ran the only station in the Midwest to install what CBS called a “dump button” for my show. A switch that could be thrown from Dan’s office that could automatically delete the previous offensive seven seconds of my show, so it never would go live.
He used it once in 8 years and that was because of an offensive caller!
I admired Dan’s ability to somehow stay above the fray, and maintain a professional attitude in any situation. I even admired Dan when he and CBS took me to court to side against me in a listener lawsuit involving a naked painter (more on that in future columns).
Dan was always somehow able to keep his sense of humor, as well…..even when, during our annual Q104 golf tournament, I supplied everyone playing with complimentary golf balls..,with Dan’s picture on them.
Dan was one part Ted Baxter and one part Mr. Carlson from WKRP.
I played golf with Dan, laughed with him at parties and avoided him at work.
The last time I saw Dan was after his heart transplant was in the mens room of the Midland during the Jersey Boys show. He strode over, shook my hand and told me he felt great. I was genuinely glad to hear it.
Dan was the only radio guy I can remember that could fire you and still make you happy to see him!
My prayers go out to Dan’s wonderful wife, Beverly and his great family that he loved so much.