By JOANNE RICHARD – SUN MEDIA
Common sense rules Sun News' airwaves.
When Charles Adler visits, forget the polite, politically correct banter, cultural cliches and namby pamby stuff. No focus-group tested B.S. or contrived crap.
He's out to make sense of ongoing nonsense, digging into substance close to people's hearts. Adler is the king of straight talk, of talkable topics. His conversations with the nation on his daily Sun News show and Corus radio show are "very intimate, honest visits. I try to create a one-on-one conversation, so whether it's a listener or viewer, they think I'm talking to just them."
No phony-baloney — just candid observations and lively rants.
"People can spot a phony a mile away. When you're talking about the most important subjects in the world, life and death, and freedom, and drinking and driving, if they smell phoniness on your breath, you become a generic just like everyone else.
"The only way to jump off the screen, whether it's the TV screen or the silver screen for that matter, is to be real and mean what you say," says the talented, top-rated host, who writes regularly for Sun Media newspapers.
He's the real deal, genuine and authentic, and never boring. His hour-long Sun News program is his latest on-air adventure and it's soaring in popularity, just like his nationally syndicated talk show on the Corus Radio Network.
Articulate, passionate and compassionate, the award-winning broadcast legend has been engaging audiences for 37 years.
Recipient of a New England Emmy, Adler hosts up to 50 guests a week in chats that touch hearts and stimulate minds across the nation, from Victoria to Halifax.
He's the everyman looking out for the everyman, for our country strong and free. "I kiss Canadian soil — it gave me the freedom to do something that I could never do in the land that I was born in, and that is to express myself honestly and truthfully," says Adler, who at the age of two was smuggled out of Hungary in a knapsack during the uprisings.
"When you come from behind the Iron Curtain like we did during the Cold War of the 1950s, freedom of speech is not a slogan, it's a dream and, this is for me and my family, the promised land," says Adler.
"I can never repay the debt I owe this country for opening its door to us."
In a dream country, doing a dream job. "Sun News to me is Disneyland every night," says Adler. No restraints, no restrictions, no muzzle. Unadulterated freedom.
"My credibility is everything to me and if my audience feels I have a gun to my head and I'm hostage … or speaking to please my so-called masters, then I'm done, it's over."
Gratitude is his motivator. It's what drives him to give back, to champion important issues and to work hard. At the age of eight he started working in his father's tailor shop doing everything from sewing and serving customers to loading the boiler, pressing pants and delivering clothes for customers. He also helped out in his mother's ladies' fashion store.
"I learned all my stuff at the University of Adler's Tailor Shop — I spent many, many years working with my dad serving customers and we used to chat about things all the time.
"It wasn't just about fixing clothes, it was about having conversations about the world …We were real with each other, they kept coming back."
Sound familiar? He's still gabbing, laughing and entertaining years later, relating, caring and sharing, although it's likely that this time the customer isn't always right, but he'll always listen.
"If you're spending 24/7 making sure nobody gets rubbed the wrong way, then nobody is going to get rubbed the right way either."
Success behind the mic involves intelligence, empathy and a sense of self-deprecating humour, says Adler, and he's got all three in spades. "I feel like the luckiest person on Earth, the luckiest person in Canada to have this opportunity."
According to Kevin Wallace, who's worked with Adler for 20 years, "he has more gears than a Kenworth. He can shift from politics to sports to psychology in an instant. He marries his mind with his heart and outworks anyone on the planet."
Adler started his broadcast career at 18 and over the years he has worked in major radio markets across the country. Hot Talk in Calgary was his first talk radio show and its huge success resulted in a broadcast job in Florida and syndication in 120 markets in the U.S.
A stint in Boston in 1994 hosting Adler on Line, a prime-time television show, won him a Best TV Host for New England Emmy. In '96 he joined CJOB Winnipeg and has been growing his audience ever since. In 2005, his Adler Online radio show went national on the Corus Radio Network.
"Charles' mind and spirit are tough as nails but his heart is soft and warm. He's always willing to give a hand up, not a hand out," adds Wallace, CJOB radio program director.
When asked about the Occupy movement, Adler says he has no patience for it: "It's people who don't want to work, people who lie around and smoke dope and scream slogans about capitalism. There's no work ethic there."
As for political correctness, "it makes cowards of the kings. In a free country, there's no room in my heart for political correctness. If the message is tough and really obnoxious, talk back to it
Forget the moaning, groaning and whining. Adler believes we need to take charge of our future and stand together against attacks on our traditions, adding that politically correct, bumbling bureaucrats are slowly and methodically exterminating and lobotomizing Canadian traditions.
As strongly as he defends our freedom and rights, he's fierce about keeping his private life out of the public eye. He will say that he loves long drives in the country, going on walks and "spending time in a certain cabin. And I love animals, I'm crazy for animals."
He's also a big movie buff– his favourites include The Godfather, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg, and On the Waterfront. "I also love Westerns. There isn't a John Wayne movie I haven't seen."
Dream interviews would include film greats such as Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and James Cameron — all multidimensional people who know how to harness the human imagination, says Adler. "They all have incredible minds, are just great thinkers, innovators. Steve Jobs died recently, I would have killed for a Steve Jobs interview."
Adler's most memorable interview was with a pedophile in B.C. It still haunts him today.
"This guy was in total denial. I had to draw him out and it was one of those moments that was extremely frightening for the audience and you hope the audience will forgive you for frightening the hell out of them."
He was after the truth on an extremely dangerous serial predator and it frightened him, too — "it was scary to think that if one monster like this was free, just how many others are out there."
Our number one responsibility is to care for children, he stresses.
"There's a child inside of us and if we lose touch with that child, we really lose touch with the most important aspect of our humanity and that child needs to be protected."
Wallace adds that they not only share a great work relationship and friendship, but memorable moments, too, like the day "Charles saved a radio listener from committing suicide … I brought on a caller who seemed relatively ordinary. Within seconds Charles sensed something was wrong and started asking him how he 'really' was doing. The caller broke down on-air and admitted he was moments away from committing suicide.
"It was one of the most harrowing moments of my life. I was waiting to hear a gunshot and a dial tone any moment, as were all our listeners.
"Charles never wavered. We dropped all our commercial breaks, news breaks, everything. Charles stayed on the line as long as it took to get this man some help."
A great man looking out for every man …