Sunday I was a part of something special: A Celebration of Life for Steve Cooper. It was just how Steve would have wanted: family, friends and those he inspired & made feel special. I was one of those, and was honored to tell my story of what he meant to me as a KBPI listener and later as a co-worker. It was good to see some old friends and shed a few tears for The Star of the Show who left us too soon. RIP Coop.
Here’s my tribute to Coop from the Celebration:
Good afternoon, my name is Susie Wargin. I currently work middays at 103.5 The Fox and spent almost a decade doing the same for KBPI in the 90’s. When Uncle Nasty asked if I would speak today, I thought, “What do you say about a guy you idolized growing up?” And I mean idolized. Steve Cooper was “appointment radio” for me and I listened to him every opportunity I had. I loved hearing the intro to his show, a show I used to tape on a daily basis. I hung on his every word and I’d replay the tape when he wasn’t on the air. I know, slightly obsessive but I think you’ll all agree with me: he was the man and I wanted to be like him someday.
And what do you say about a guy who, because of a format change at KBPI in 1995, gets moved to The Fox and then when he meets the 25 year old hippie girl who had only done weekend radio in Fort Collins and was taking over his midday show at KBPI, he smiles, laughs and welcomes her?
I can only think of two words: Thank You
Thank you Steve Cooper for filling up my younger years with your booming voice, amazing bits and allowing me to dream that one day I could do what you are doing. You kept me company for so many hours and I know it wasn’t just me, the impact you had on so many lives is astounding. Listening to everyone today has been amazing. It didn’t matter if people just listened to you or actually knew you, we all felt like we were #1.
Thank you Steve Cooper for having a sparkle in your eye the first day I met you. You didn’t make me feel stupid or weird at a time that was so awkward for me because I was meeting my childhood idol and attempting to fill his shoes at KBPI the same time. You made me feel like we’d been friends forever and I loved working down the hall from you for so many years after that while you were at the Fox and I was at KBPI.
Thank you Steve Cooper for coming back to The Fox recently and letting me and all the others who love you, listen to your voice again in the Denver area. When our program director Garner asked me a few months ago about what I thought of Coop doing some shifts at the Fox, I looked at him as if he’d just asked me if I wipe after taking a poo. I said something along the lines of “Are you kidding me? He’s Steve F-ing Cooper”… although I didn’t say F-ing, I said the whole word.
And finally, thank you Coop for the Facebook response you gave me just a few weeks ago in your last post that talked about how blessed and thankful you were for all the Denver guys (Nasty, Garner & Big Rob) that got you back on the Fox. I responded with a smart aleck post reminding you of your female cheerleaders in Denver and what you wrote back stunned me. As soon as I read it, I showed it to my husband and said “Look what Steve F-ing Cooper just wrote to me.”
If anyone had told me some 35 years ago that the DJ I listened to religiously would say the following words to me someday, I would have told you “no chance” – Steve Copper’s the leader, I’m just a follower. Here’s what he said:
“Susie Wargin you are one of the finest talents I have ever worked with or for that matter, encountered. Whatever situation you are in, you are rock-solid with content, style, humor and heart. Proud to share the airwaves with such a pro.”
Here’s what’s crazy: that’s exactly how I feel about Steve Cooper and he wrote that to me? The nerdy girl from Broomfield who sat in her room night after night with a boom box that had a cassette recorder.
I know I’m not the only one he’s made feel so special. I’ve read so many comments from others who have similar stories and the common theme seems to be that Coop made each of us feel like he was our best friend and while he was one with SO much talent, he was never the focus when it came to others.
So Coop, I liked to close using your words but I’m going to turn them around on you, because what you wrote to me is what should be said about you:
Steve Cooper: you are one of the finest talents I have ever worked with or for that matter, encountered. Whatever situation you were in, you were rock-solid with content, style, humor and heart. I was more than proud to share the airwaves with such a pro.
Thank you Teri for letting me be a part of this. I love how much he loved you. Thank you.