Broadcasting has lost an icon with the untimely death of Mark Vos, who was felled by a fatal heart attack this past weekend. Mark was only 58, but he has left an indelible mark on radio broadcasting, and leaves a legacy of respect and admiration from his scores of friends and former colleagues.
The picture above, a promotional photo for KRNA, was taken “a few years ago”……when Mark, on the right with the bass guitar….and my friend and business partner Glen Gardner were busy dominating eastern Iowa radio as “Those Guys In the Morning” on KRNA. When Mark took over as Program Director at KRNA in 1986 and teamed up with Glen to do the morning show, the duo opened a new era of great rock radio and total dominance of eastern Iowa ratings for a decade. KRNA is licensed to Iowa City, but the studios are a few miles north in Cedar Rapids, and the KRNA FM signal booms over five states.
Mark Vos was universally regarded as a programming and promotions genius, with an uncanny ability to bring the biggest names in rock to Cedar Rapids for concerts and promotions with KRNA. He worked in Cedar Rapids, but his name was known by rock radio programmers from New York to Los Angeles. And those who had the privilege of working with him – I’m sorry I never had the opportunity – have nothing but praise for his ability to organize, manage, and inspire great talent.
Here’s a more recent photo of the same duo, lifted from Glen’s Facebook Page, at a recent reunion concert put on by the “KRNA House Band”, Jif and the Choosy Mothers, at the Chrome Horse in Cedar Rapids.
When Glen and I were doing a morning show in Madison, he often spoke of his former days with Mark at KRNA. Glen lives in Boston now, but – he’s in Cedar Rapids today, a trip he makes frequently as a consultant to the radio station. I already knew Mark by reputation long before Glen moved across town in Madison from MidContinent to MidWest in the 90’s, when we became colleagues instead of competitors, and while Glen is one of the most brilliant rock programmers in his own right (he took WJJO from a middling-at-best radio station on a rocket ride to the top of the pack), I’m sure he learned some of his tricks from his days with Mark Vos.
As is the case in so many professions, us old radio guys are all seemingly connected in one way or another. In recent years, I was honored to have Mark as a frequent commenter on this blog when I posted rants about radio.
Gone too soon, but never to be forgotten. Rest In Peace, Mark N. Vos.