He was born Charles Osgood Wood III on January 8, 1933 in Manhattan. His father, Charles Osgood II, was a textile salesman who moved the family to Baltimore when Charles was 6 and took a second job as an expediter for copper. Company, during World War II. His mother, Mary (Wilson) Wood, was known as Violet.
Mr. Osgood went to Fordham University, where, he later said, he spent more time on the campus radio station than in the classroom. His first job after graduating with a degree in economics in 1954 was as a radio announcer at WGMS, a classical-music station in Washington, DC (the call letters stood for “Washington’s Good Music Station”). Realizing he might be drafted, he applied to be the announcer for the U.S. Army Band at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, and got the job, which he held from 1955 to 1958.
He also worked under fake names at several Washington area radio stations. Top 40 listeners knew him as Chuck Forrest and Henry David Thoreau, Carl Walden. The pseudonyms were plays on his real name, which he used on WGMS.
He broadcast briefly to an audience. After President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955, Mr. Osgood was recruited as the President’s personal disc jockey. “I was put in a studio with a stack of records, chosen as his favourites,” He said in 2016“And I spent most of the day playing records for Eisenhower.”
When his army service ended, he returned to WGMS, where he became program director. RKO General, the network that owned WGMS at the time, later transferred it to a pay television station operating in Hartford, Conn. “We lost money at an alarming rate,” he said, and RKO let him go in 1963.