Being a voice for those who needed it the most
Sometimes, sadly in this media business of ours, the first time you often hear about some people locally is when they pass away.
The same can not be said about some celebrities, which certain people believe always die in groups of three.
But in learning more about one local media personality with ties to Stanly County having recently passed away, I found what was said to me very moving and inspirational.
Dave Vasser, a.k.a. “Brother Dave,” was a radio personality for 36 years at stations from Athens, Georgia, to Cocoa Beach, Florida on to Charleston, South Carolina.
Many of you will remember him from his years working at Magic 96.1 in Charlotte, but some of you have probably spoken to him and did not even know it.
Vasser was one of the three original employees of the Stanly County 911 Emergency Services when it was still located in the Sheriff’s Office. He started on Dec. 13, 1993
Leon Warren, the recently retired news director of local radio stations WSPC and WZKY, worked with Brother Dave years ago at WZKY and spoke to me about what he was like.
“He was very knowledgeable about programming and had a great voice,” Warren said. “He could do commercials, news, very professional. He had a lot of experience in a short amount of time…the more places you work in radio, the better off you are.”
Warren added this about Dave’s work at 911:
“You’ve got someone calling 911. They’ve got a crisis; they’ve got an emergency. He was able to calm them down enough so he could get what he needed…and so they wouldn’t be hysterical,” Warren said, referring to his ability to get information from people in order to help them.
Gardner also helped train 911 communicators both in the office and at Stanly Community College.
Later, he was forced to retire due to cancer, which affected his ability to speak. As someone who has relied on his voice to put food on the table myself, that may be one of the biggest worries in my life in terms of sickness.
“If you had to rate the best telecommunicator up to this point at 911 since they moved into the courthouse basement, it would have to be Dave,” Warren said.
Karen McDaniel, Stanly 911 director, said while some of those Vasser trained have moved on to other careers, “some have stayed to pass on that training to others.”
She described Dave “as a unique individual; you know where you stood with him. His knowledge, both work-related and otherwise, made him our go-to person when we couldn’t remember something. Everyone knew he would have it filed away in his memory, just waiting for someone to ask for it.”
McDaniel also said Brother Dave “is missed by his family at 911.”
Beyond his work on radio and 911, Dave also played bass guitar for The Kollection, an Albemarle band, as well as having volunteered with the Stanly County Red Cross and having served as a vice chairman for the national American Red Cross for the western part of North Carolina.
I encourage you to find Brother Dave’s page on tragic96.1.com, where you will find more out about him.
As an announcer, I have enjoyed being able to get a reaction from fans (in wrestling terms, pop a crowd) as a public address announcer.
I would venture to say Dave getting reactions from people on 911 who were comforted by his voice and demeanor trumps any crowd reaction any PA man may have ever gotten.
On his bio page at the website, Dave wanted to be able to say goodbye on the air, but did not because of it being considered not professional, but I will give Dave the last word for what he wrote to all of his fans.
“Thanks for listening…I enjoyed myself and most of all I enjoyed you.”
To submit story ideas, contact Charles Curcio at 704-983-1361, charles @stanlynewspress.com or via Twitter (@charles_curcio).