Darrin Arriens, Veteran Radio Programmer, Dies of COVID-19 Complications at 52

Darrin Arriens
Entercom Charlotte

Darrin Arriens

Darrien Arriens, brand manager and director of operations at Charlotte radio station WLNK 107.9 The Link and its sister stations WBT and WFNZ, died Tuesday morning due to complications from COVID-19. He was 52 years old.

“Darrin believed that the audience told us what they want and that the listener is the customer,” said Entercom Charlotte senior vp and market manager Matt Hanlon in a statement sent to Billboard. “He believed the companion you chose to make your audio partner for the day could and would change your life. Darrin made a tremendous positive impact on many people in our business. He was fun to be with and everyone truly enjoyed working with him. I join the rest of our team at Entercom Charlotte in expressing my deepest condolences to Darrin’s family and loved ones. We have lost a great team member, great father and great person. He will be missed.”

“This is a sad day for our industry,” added Republic Records senior vp adult formats Manny Simon in a statement. “Darrin was a great guy who we loved working with over the years. He was kind and a very passionate music fan. And was always good for a laugh. He will be deeply missed.”

During a Facebook Live session on Tuesday afternoon, Ramona Holloway, co-host of WLNK’s Matt & Ramona show, also took time out to remember Arriens.

“More importantly than being supportive of our show, he treated me like a human being,” said Holloway. She added that three weeks before his death, Arriens supported she and co-host Matt Harris’s decision to stop broadcasting new shows during the pandemic. “Nothing in my entire career touched me more than a boss telling me to take care of me and mine," she continued.

Arriens’ death was later announced by WBT radio host Bo Thompson on the station’s morning news program Wednesday. He and WBT reporter Brett Jensen looked back on Arriens’ life and career during a segment that aired later that morning.

During a career that spanned more than three decades, Arriens served in program director roles at a number of stations across the country, including Cumulus Country KSKS (93.7 Kiss Country) in Fresno, California; WGYL (93.7 The Breeze) in West Palm Beach, Florida; KKMG (Magic FM) and sister station KKFM in Colorado Springs; WRIF in Detroit; WLZR in Milwaukee; WJIM in Lansing, Michigan; KHYT in Tucson; and WKLQ and WLAV in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During his tenure at WLAV in 2008, the station won the Marconi Award for Medium Market Station of the Year.

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