Memories from Art Vuolo, Jr.
Everyone can remember where they were when they heard the news about what happened on September 11th. Well, I will also never forget November 11th, because that was the day when I learned that my dear friend and colleague Andrew Ashwood had suffered a massive heart attack and was put on life support. He had been courageously fighting cancer for the past year and a half. I don't trust cancer, I never have, so last April I flew to LA to see for myself how he was doing. He looked amazingly good and his ultra-positive attitude was incredible. I even made a video, I know...hard to believe, but because he seemed good and looked great, I went for it. That was a visit I shall always cherish.
The news came to me after returning from Chicago, where I visited Kipper McGee, PD of WLS and Andrew's former roommate while they attended Lakeland College in Wisconsin. The word came down from Sean Compton of WGN America and I was deeply saddened. When I spoke to Andrew from the R&R/NAB Convention in Austin, he sounded sensational, upbeat and, of course, very positive.
Knowing his condition, after he was stricken, and the fact that he would never be the same, I prayed that he would suffer no more. Those prayers were finally answered Thursday evening, November 13th. My heart goes out to his beautiful wife Sandra, who never even reached her second anniversary, and his sisters Ann and Lorry.
Whether you knew Andrew or not, you realize he was one of kind. I am honored to have known him for over 30 years, and actually have him on videotape stating that I was instrumental in launching his legendary radio career. I'm just glad that I could help. He was often seen at any number of industry confabs like; the R&R Conventions, the TRS, NAB, Talkers, Boot Camp, the Conclave, CRS....you name it. He had audiences riveted at any session he moderated or participated in.
Perhaps you crossed paths with him at (the former) WKTI in his hometown of Milwaukee, WGBF in Evansville, KOOL or KOPA in Phoenix, in Charlotte or his brief stint in my backyard at WABX in Detroit. His last radio station was the giant mother-ship of Clear Channel in San Antonio, 1200/WOAI, after which he took the reins at Fox Sports Radio in LA.. Regardless at which stop (if any) this talented broadcaster may have touched your life, if he did, you never forgot him.
Les Heintz was his roommate at Albion College in Michigan, which is when I first meet Andy (as he was called backed then) in the mid-1970's. I recall doing a barbaric black and white video of the guys on my first Sony Betamax. I told clean-cut Les he should get into TV and deep-voiced Andrew to pursue Radio. Heintz went on to anchor TV news in Wisconsin, Nashville and Washington, DC. Andrew's radio career is well documented.
The radio industry now has a large empty space as we say goodbye to one of the nicest and most positive members of the broadcasting fraternity. While reviewing old videotapes of Andrew, during the era when he was better known as "B J Hunter," I broke down when I heard him say (on WABX Detroit) "I don't care what they say....I ain't never gonna give up...unt ah."
He was only 51 and I miss him already.