Gordo: programming mentor, storyteller and friend

Dear Gordo,
Thank-you for helping me with my fear of speaking on the air, for hours of meaningful conversation in your guitar shop, and for making the misfits feel at home inside the revolutionary walls of KMUN.   Although I still feel you near, your effulgence is missed in our maudlin little town.

From the Daily A:
Gordon C. “Gordo” Styler of Astoria, host of a popular Saturday night radio program on KMUN, died in Portland June 18. He was 65.

His brother, Bill Styler, told The Sacramento Bee that the veteran broadcaster had been ill recently and died after “his heart gave out.”

Styler was born June 15, 1947, in Sacramento, Calif., to Charles and Evelyn Styler. Raised in Davis, Calif., he graduated from Davis High School and the University of California, Davis, where he started in radio and was station manager at KDVS.
In the 1970s, he worked for several years at KZAP in Sacramento, the first in the area to play album rock music chosen by the DJs. Later, he was a reporter and anchor at KFBK and KRAK.
Known as an expert in 1960s and 1970s rock music, he had an extensive record collection and was friends with several musicians, including Country Joe McDonald and band members of Jefferson Airplane and Blue Cheer. It has also been reported that in 1976 Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead persuaded the Hells Angels to vote Styler their disc jockey of the year.
One of his callers at KZAP became his wife of 26 years, Marilyn. When she died, as requested, her ashes were scattered at the mouth of the Columbia River. The couple had no children.
Impressed by the kindness of the people he met in Astoria, he moved here in 2004 after his wife’s death. He and his brother, Bill, a luthier, opened the Astoria Guitar Company, featuring handmade, restored and custom instruments, often catering to professional musicians from out of town or on tour.
Active in the community, he volunteered at KMUN, hosted the annual Tenor Guitar Gathering and organized fundraising concerts for various community causes.
He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Sue Styler of Priest River, Idaho.
News of his death sent the entire station staff at KMUN into mourning. David Paul, who joined the station in 2004 with Styler, said colleagues loved his great sense of humor.
“He leaves a huge hole as he was kind of a larger-than-life person,” said Paul. “He was the go-to guy. He could program rock, blues and jazz and he could do it at the last minute if needed. He knew so many people from his days in California. He was just phenomenal.”
Joanne Rideout, general manager of Coast Community Radio, offered a tribute to Gordon Styler:
“He was generous to a fault with his time, willing to drop everything and sub on a show at the last minute when an emergency arose.
“Some days when we were short on programmers he would be on the air all day, leading us to refer to the station then as 'Gordo Radio.' He was generous in helping out other programmers, and was the DJ behind the scenes for Verne Barth's jazz show for a long time when Verne could no longer see well enough to operate the board.
“He really believed in community and we benefited enormously from his tremendous knowledge of music in almost all genres. When he organized the concert for Big Red a few years back, I don't know very many other people who could stage a reunion of Jefferson Airplane as a fundraiser, but he did it, because they were his friends and they did it for him...
“We are getting emails at the station from people in California, former listeners and friends, who are mourning his passing too. So the whole West Coast is mourning Gordo with us.”


  1. Tho we never met personally, I will miss this friend and brother very deeply. He provided me with the true meaning of classic progressive rock in vivid living color! Listening to his dialogue on the KMUN Saturday Night Party you could immediately tell that HE WAS THERE in the midst of it all when it all happened in Northern California during the '60s and that it stuck with him deep into his soul the very rest of his life.
    Attending BIG RED a few summers ago was an experience that would not have been possible without Gordo, who worked at it feverishly like a haunted man. But they all came, because of the honor and the privilege and gratitude for this man.
    My condolences to brother Bill.

    Rock on, Gordo, Rock on!

  2. What a moving missive, Steven- thank-you dearly for taking the time to comment. And I completely agree- the Saturday Night Party in Gordo's honour was exactly how he would have wanted it- a divine mixture of mingling and remembering, buzzing with the enthusiasm for community radio and its revolutionary importance. Thank-you again for your beautiful words.