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In memory of Charleston’s Free Time publisher Eddie Hogan

Longtime owner of local entertainment newspaper passed away Dec. 30

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Lunice Edward "Eddie" Hogan, former publisher and editor of the entertainment newspaper Charleston's Free Time, passed away on Tues. Dec. 30. He was 65 years old.

Eddie was born Jan. 3, 1949, in Columbia, S.C., to the late Paul Hogan and LaVerne (Ulm) Clack. He was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War and served for three years at Pershing ballistic missile units in Oklahoma and Germany. Back home in South Carolina, he played bass guitar in several Columbia rock bands including The Vandals. In 1979 he met his wife, Laura Whitaker Hogan, and they were married at Washington Street United Methodist Church in Columbia in 1982.

He briefly managed the Record Bar music store in Greenville before moving to Charleston and running the Record Bar in Northwoods Mall from 1983 to 1990. A long-haired hippie, he was equally comfortable discussing metal with young headbangers and sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of classical music with senior citizens.

In August 1990, he published the first issue of Charleston's Free Time. The front-page tagline described the paper as "The Lowcountry's Original Entertainment Newspaper." The paper became a hub of information for people interested in the music and bar scenes. It ran extensive live music listings and offered free classified ads to working musicians. Eddie was also instrumental in founding the Charleston Musicians Association, which put out a compilation of local music and organized artist showcases at bars including the now-defunct Cumberland's.

The paper maintained a stable of columnists, launching the journalistic careers of many young journalists. Readers became familiar with writers including Tom "Noonan" Werner, Skye Suarez, Sandy Katz, Phil Perrier, and Andy "Smoky" Weiner.

Kevin Young, a Charleston City Paper contributor, got his start at Free Time writing rap album reviews and a column called "Young Kevin Young" that covered everything from awkward romantic encounters to his experience selling Amway products. "I was really thankful for what he did for me," Young says.

Veteran freelancer Kevin Oliver got his start with "The Beat," a column about the local music scene. In a memorial post on his blog recently, Oliver described Hogan as "an unselfish supporter of local musicians and the music scene around Charleston" and wrote that his paper "gave the budding scene somewhere to focus itself."

Another regular contributor starting in the mid-'90s was Brian Lindgren, who wrote music reviews, artist interviews, and eventually a column called "On the CD Burner." He describes Eddie as a person who was happy to work in the background while shining a spotlight on local artists. "He was very impassioned about what he did," Lindgren says. "He was very sincere, and there's not a phony piece of his personality."

I personally benefitted from Eddie's kindness. As a young man growing up across the street from the Hogans' home in Summerville, I got my first writing gig at age 13 penning music reviews for Free Time. In Eddie's garage after school, I'd sit on a stool and listen as he educated me on the history of rock music and introduced me to the likes of Little Feat and Frank Zappa. He was one of the rare adults I met at that age who had built a career doing exactly what he loved, and I admired him for it and wondered how I could do the same one day.

Eddie published Charleston's Free Time with the help of his wife Laura until August 2008, when complications from kidney disease forced him into retirement.

A celebration of Eddie's life will be held Sat. Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. at James A. Dyal Funeral Home (303 S. Main St., Summerville), followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the SPCA of your choice or to Best Friend's Animal Sanctuary.

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