Charles “Charlie” Tuma

A “Celebration of Life” for 79-year old Chadron native Charles “Charlie” Tuma of Twin Falls, ID, will be Sunday, Oct 30, 2022, at 1:00 at The Olive Tree Ministry Center, 338 Idaho Street East in Twin Falls.

Lunch will follow, then family and guests are invited to view the spreading of Charlie’s ashes at the KLIX radio tower site, located at 3831 North 3500 East in Kimberly, ID.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice Visions, Meals on Wheels (in Twin Falls, ID) or a charity of your choice.

Charles Richard (Charlie) Tuma was born October 19, 1942, in Chadron to Carl and Marie Tuma, the youngest of the family. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on April 25, 2022.  

Charlie loved radio. Growing up in Chadron, he always listened to the radio and interned with local station KCSR during his high school years.  After graduating from Chadron High School in 1960, Charlie attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he earned bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Broadcast Journalism in 1965. 

While in college, he worked the early morning show at KLIN and was enrolled in the ROTC program.  Upon graduation, Charlie was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corp of the U.S. Army. 

Soon after graduating college, Charlie married his childhood friend, Jolene Byerly, on June 20, 1965.  They soon left Chadron and moved to New York City, where he worked with the U.S. Army as a liaison to the major broadcast networks.  

One year later, Charlie was deployed to Vietnam in conjunction with an Australian division which performed psychological operations in a program called Winning Hearts And Minds (WHAM). 

Charlie’s stint in Vietnam was something he rarely talked about because he was engaged in combat activity.  While in Vietnam, Charlie studied radio engineering and received his First Class Broadcast License (FCC).  For serving in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal.

After returning from Vietnam, Charlie’s next adventure took him to Denver, where he worked as a broadcast engineer at KDKO prior to being hired full-time at KBTR.  Along with his team, Charlie pioneered the all-news format in the late ’60s and early ’70s under owner John Mullins.  

In 1973, Charlie’s career took him from being an employee to an owner when he purchased KLIX radio in Twin Falls. KLIX Radio 1310 was a country music radio station which quickly became “The Sound of the Valley” when Charlie added a strong local news and community presence. With its big city sound, KLIX absolutely dominated Southern Idaho radio.

In the early days, Charlie’s team consisted of on-air personalities Dave Winter, Johnny Mac, Carl Raida, Bobby Dobbs, Dennis Conrad, Don Jeb and Doug Van Tyle, plus the award-winning local news and sports department featuring Jim Morrison, Annette Jenkins, Joe Miani, Don Wimberly, Ed Prater, and Jerry Marcantonio

Additionally, Charlie pioneered talk radio with the popular “Party Line” program hosted by L. James Koutnik. Charlie extended his dominance over the local market with the purchase of KMTW-FM, K-96.

Under Charlie’s direction, KLIX promoted fun events for Magic Valley residents including the annual KLIXMAS Tree Lighting contests, remote broadcasts featuring KLIX personalities and the unforgettable KLIX KLUCKER, March of Dimes Walkathons, Paint Magic, the Twin Falls County Fair, country music concerts, and plenty of free popcorn during the Buhl Sagebrush Days Parade.

Charlie was a Rotary Club member and active in Boy Scouts while his son Ted earned his Eagle Award.  He spent many volunteer hours at pancake suppers, outings and as scoutmaster.

Charlie had a special love for miniatures. He created a miniature train layout in the family room with little houses, trees, bridges, locomotives and boxcars that went round and round and switched tracks.  

He also bought a doll house for his daughter Emily, then handmade most of the miniature furniture and even laid a miniature wood floor, plank-by-plank, and a shingled roof, shingle-by-shingle.

Charlie loved toys and was able to provide many for himself, his wife and children (subsequently the neighborhood friends, too).  He had a luxury Chevy van that pulled a pop-up StarCrafttenter and a boat, which he inherited from his father-in-law.

The van also pulled a trailer that over the years hauled a hot tub, trampoline, a fort house built in the backyard, 3-wheelers, 2-wheelers and eventually a small collection of cars! 

The Tuma family set out on the open road for trips to Nebraska to visit family often, with stops in Yellowstone, of course, as well as many a camping trip to the Sawtooth National Forest north of Twin Falls.  

Charlie also provided a few camping trips to California and took his family to Disneyland, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Hearst Castle, and many other sites.  Of course, there were adventurous stops in Las Vegas at Circus Circus!

Many years later, being retired, Charlie still provided entertainment for his grandson, Jaden, in the form of technology.  Many hours were spent on Charlie’s lap pushing buttons on a keyboard or a mouse at the computer screen learning how to spell, read, do math, among other things.  It’s no surprise that Jaden is quite adapt at technology!

Charlie was preceded in death by his two half-brothers, Harold and Wayne, and his sister Joanne. 

He is survived by his son Ted Tuma, and wife Angie of Hailey, Idaho, his daughter Emily Tuma of Twin Falls, and grandson Jaden Tuma of Denver. 

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