Legendary DJ Charlye Parker caps her iconic career with heartfelt final show

Everett's own radio legend, Charlye Parker, has taken to the airwaves for her final broadcast, concluding a groundbreaking 50-year career that shattered the glass ceiling in the radio industry.

Classic country station KXA in Everett prepared a special farewell show for Parker, who became a prominent figure back when women were rarely heard in the radio sphere. Colleagues Stitch Mitchell and Anita Moffett spearheaded the tribute to honor Parker's pioneering work.

Starting in 1973 at a small station in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Parker made history as one of the first female DJs in the U.S. Her journey defied the norms of the time, with program directors at her subsequent job in Albuquerque advising her to adopt a 'sexy" persona. However, Parker found success by staying true to herself, winning listeners with her authenticity.

"What I found is that women, nobody, will accept somebody trying to be sexy, trying to be sweet, trying to be cute," she said. "So, when you just become you, now you’re okay. Now you’re okay."

Parker's authenticity and charm not only won her a place in the hearts of her listeners but also carved out a path for her as the first woman with her own radio show in the Pacific Northwest. It was at the Everett country radio station KWYZ where she began her local ascent.

Her major break, however, came in 1982 when she joined Seattle's country station KMPS, contributing to its rise as one of the nation's leading stations.

"When I hit Seattle, I knew that if I didn’t succeed, it would be a very long time before a woman would get another chance," she said.

After a decorated tenure, Parker retired in Ventura, California, only to rejoin the airwaves in Everett 12 years ago, remarking on her 80th birthday that she was still enthusiastically involved in radio.

Despite dealing with a stubborn illness and a recent terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Parker's spirit remained unbroken as she expressed her gratitude for a life enriched by radio. Even in the face of her diagnosis, she shared that she felt no fear about her imminent passing.

For an hour and a half, Parker regaled listeners with her tales and received heartfelt tributes, solidifying her legacy as more than a DJ but a voice that reshaped a generation's listening experience. Her final show was a showcase of humor, storytelling, and affirmation of just how much she meant to her fans.

"My life has been like a rocket. Everything I’ve ever wanted, I have gotten from radio. And now here I’m getting ready to die, and I’m not afraid," she said.

Thirty-six hours after her heartfelt goodbye, Parker passed away at home, peacefully in her sleep.

KXA in Everett promises to continue honoring the legacy of Charlye Parker throughout the week, celebrating her 50 years in the business and her lasting impact on the audiences she so dearly cherished.


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