Md. radio legend Johnny Dark dies at 82

WASHINGTON — Johnny Dark, a popular music radio broadcaster, who entertained music fans for more than 50 years has died. He was 82 years old.

Dark’s career included 30 years at Baltimore’s WCAO- AM station. In 1964, he introduced The Beatles at the band’s show at the Baltimore Civic Center.

“He managed to stay at the same radio station for 30 years because his ratings were so good,” said fellow broadcaster and friend Sean Hall. “He had a legion of listeners — they loved him, he loved them.”

DJ Johnny Dark's radio personality inspired fellow broadcasters

“My mother was a huge Johnny Dark fan, and would tell me, ‘You need to be like this guy in Baltimore who used to be on when I was a kid, named Johnny Dark,'” said broadcaster Chris Roth. “So, I’d study Johnny Dark to try to do a better on-air show.”

Roth said Dark’s claim to fame was as a rock ‘n’ roll jock, but he expanded his fan base.

“He got a second chance to relate to a totally different audience when his Baltimore station, WCAO, turned to country music,” said Roth. “He just jumped into that format beautifully, and it really showed the versatility of Johnny Dark.”

Johnny Dark had been a fixture on Maryland radio for more than 50 years

More recently, Dark hosted an afternoon show on WTTR, in Westminster, Maryland.

Dark had been battling cancer.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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