A Familiar Voice: Q&A with Charlie Pellett, Bloomberg Radio News Anchor
Charlie Pellett is a veteran news anchor and reporter for Bloomberg Radio. In addition to handling daily news and business reports for WBBR Radio and its affiliates, he has co-hosted a Friday night call-in show with former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, anchors a daily Bloomberg stock market update for KING-TV in Seattle and actively contributes to other Bloomberg media platforms including Bloomberg.com and podcasts.
Our team recently sat down with Charlie to discuss his career path and the highlights of 24 years at Bloomberg.
What attracted you to broadcast radio?
At a very young age I became enamored with the importance of radio as a vital source of information. I spent many years as a youngster living in the Middle East, specifically Beirut, Lebanon, where my Dad was teaching at the American University of Beirut. The only way to keep in touch with what was happening in the U.S. and my native United Kingdom was via short-wave radio, and that meant the BBC World Service or Voice of America. During the ’67 Middle East war we had to be evacuated from Lebanon, and that meant keeping abreast of developments via radio.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first full-time paid job in the industry was at WHMP AM and FM in Northampton, Massachusetts. I had just graduated from the University of Massachusetts and had been freelancing for the local commercial station. It was a full-service radio station, playing a range of pop music with a full-time news staff of two and several part-timers.
WHMP hired me full-time after graduation and I was the night-time DJ. I loved that job. To this day whenever I hear a Motown song or anything by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, the Bee Gees, Barry Manilow or Neil Sedaka, it brings back amazing memories of small-town radio. Toss in the pet-patrol, updating the weather-phone and then hosting events at local shopping malls, the Three County Fair, restaurants and car dealers, and you can see why I love the people and client part of the radio business.
What has been your career highlight to date?
At Bloomberg, a highlight continues to be being a member of our broadcast team. As hokey as it sounds, I love meeting listeners and visitors.
I was also part of the original team that launched Bloomberg TV, back when it was called Bloomberg Information Television or BIT, internally. I was one of the first people to broadcast for Bloomberg TV from the New York Stock Exchange. In those early days of Bloomberg TV, we had to hit our own video B-roll, graphics and run the script. All of that while construction was going on around you in an open studio.
Another highlight has been working with our radio broadcast affiliates. I had one affiliate in San Francisco where I was supposed to do a :45 second hit every day, but that quickly evolved into a longer 3 or 4 minute banter back and forth. Today I am privileged to fill in on 1010 WINS for Bloomberg reporters Larry Kofsky and Andrew O’Day when they’re out. That is sort of full-circle for me, because I spent 10 years working at WINS before Bloomberg.
What is the most interesting part about what you do?
What’s fascinating about my job is that I love, love, love what I’m doing. I’ve seen Bloomberg Radio expand and mature from its early days into a multimedia operation that spans across numerous platforms. You can hear me afternoons on Bloomberg Radio (11:30AM, Sirius/XM, Bloomberg.com and in the bathrooms here at Bloomberg!) but I get to do other voice over stuff on an as-needed basis. Those can include being the voice on various videos that are used internally.
You are the familiar voice behind New York City Subway announcement “stand clear of the closing doors, please!” How did you become involved in volunteer work for the M.T.A?
My role as “subway guy” came about through Bloomberg Philanthropy. Two former employees went to London and came back with the question, “what can be done to improve the quality of New York City subway announcements?” They reached out to Philanthropy and it turns out that New York City Transit was on the cusp of introducing new subway cars. I was among those who tried out and got the iconic line “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please.” The other voices that you hear in the subway today are all current or former Bloomberg employees. Strange as it sounds, we are asked to update these announcements every few weeks because of service changes or new safety campaigns. It’s been about 15 years since we first started doing this. I’m sure my voice will be retired when New Yorkers have had enough of me, but it’s been an amazing run. How many Broadway shows, restaurants or nightclubs have a run that long?
I’ve had 24 years at Bloomberg and still genuinely look forward to rolling in here on a Monday morning. I love greeting new hires, love doing what I do for Bloomberg Radio and think I work with a pretty incredible bunch of people.