Dave Hughes, whose newsy gossip blog DCRTV.com focused on the radio industry in the Washington and Baltimore markets years before the creation of Twitter and Facebook, has died at age 63, according to his sister.
Patricia Hughes tells WTOP her brother, Dave, died on Dec. 27 — apparently of a heart attack.
“He was fine, then suddenly gone,” she said. “Dave was an amazing brother and a dear friend — I will miss him terribly.”
Part information, part entertainment, Hughes sometimes impersonated the people he covered — including me.
Hughes was born in New York City in 1958, lived in Reston, Virginia for years, and moved to North Carolina approximately two years ago. “Dave loved radio and TV his entire life,” said his sister.
Jim Farley was vice president of news and programming at WTOP in 1997, when DCRTV first launched.
“It was a funny little operation, run by a quirky guy,” said Farley. “A real radio junkie, not a regular journalist.”
Farley said Hughes launched the site shortly after “the Washington Post abandoned its radio column — DCRTV became the only game in town.”
In the days before social media became the most prominent source of industry gossip, DCRTV’s short news blurbs — often leaked, without attribution by people employed by local radio and television stations (yes, occasionally, even by me) were considered a “must read,” by local media personalities.
“People in the radio business like to know what’s going on in their industry,” said Farley. “DCRTV got some scoops, and he also got some things dead wrong.”
Unburdened by the tenets of journalism, well-placed gossip often appeared on DCRTV before local radio and television stations issued press releases.
Discussion in the often anonymous posts in DCRTV’s Mailbag ranged from informed to silly, and often included crude observations of physical appearance of broadcasters.
Hughes employed a light editing touch, often leaving crass, unfounded comments and rumors to fester on his site.
Anecdotally, some D.C.-area media workplaces dissuaded employees from reading DCRTV.
“It never bothered me,” said Farley, who retired at the end of 2013, after 17 years at the helm. “I just reminded folks that Dave was more gossip than gospel.”