Popular broadcaster passes away at 89

Harley Youngblood’s distinctive voice, warm personality informed, entertained

Long time local Coast Radio broadcaster Harley Youngblood passed away May 22 at the age of 89. Youngblood was one of Coast Radio’s most popular and recognizable on-air personalities.

Youngblood had a passion for radio and a lifelong history working in broadcasting beginning in Portland in the late 1940s.

Initially starting out as a DJ, Youngblood went on to become music director at KISN Radio and eventually spent time working as an on-air personality in television at KOIN-TV in Portland.

Youngblood made his way back to radio in the late sixties and worked in various on-air and managerial capacities at radio stations in Eugene, Coos Bay, Salem and Vancouver, Wash., over the next 30 years.

Youngblood moved to Florence to retire in the 1990s, but his retirement was short-lived.

This change in plans was precipitated by Jon Thompson, Coast Radio owner and general manager.

Thompson said he met the retired Youngblood in a barber shop in Florence in the late ’90s and coaxed him out of retirement at the age of 71.

“Harley was truly an extraordinary person. I met him in the chair at Joe’s Barber Shop back in the late ’90s when I still needed haircuts. He had recently retired but was interested in getting back into local radio,” Thompson remembers. “I hired him on the spot to read the local news. He would eventually fill several different part time positions at the station over the next 18 years, most recently working with Calista Cates on the KCFM morning show.” 

Thompson points out that, like many who have retired to Florence, Youngblood had a tremendous professional background and a skill set that can be  an asset to local businesses. 

“The entire staff benefited from Harley’s knowledge of broadcasting, half a century of experience and attention to detail.  We were all inspired by this incredibly talented man who loved broadcasting and stayed active in the industry until the age of 89,” Thompson said. “He was kind of a patriarch, and definitely a mentor, and definitely an inspiration to all of us who are in broadcasting.”

For information on a celebration of life, visit kcfmradio.com.

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