Dan Culhane was born on May 24, 1958, in Superior, Wisconsin. He was the eldest of six children born to Mike and Mary Alice Culhane. Dan spent his childhood in the Billings Park area of Superior where he spent his time playing outside, exploring, and hanging out with the neighborhood kids, becoming a member of the Boy Scouts just like his dad and looking after his younger siblings. His love of music and reading started at an early age and he was fortunate enough to parlay those interests into his lifelong career.
As a youngster, he used to listen to Duluth radio stations and imagine himself working at one of those stations one day. At the age of 21, he was hired by KQDS in Duluth as the overnight host, fulfilling one of his earliest childhood dreams.
Dan graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Superior with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a minor in Mass Communication. In 1981, at the tender age of 22, Dan’s first child, Joe, was born. Three years later, his youngest child, Cori, arrived.
While at KQDS (and going by the air name of “Dan Lightfoot” – not his creation), Dan gradually moved from overnight host to morning show host with pit stops in between as late night and evening host. In 1984, the same year that Cori was born, Dan was hired at his first Twin Cities radio job. He started at KQRS as the Research/Promotion Director, was promoted to Production Director, and in 1986 he become one half of “The Tom and Dan Show” with his on-air partner Tom Barnard.
As all radio people know, the only constant about the radio business is that it’s always changing and in 1988, Dan left KQRS. Regardless of how his time at KQ ended, he was always grateful for the time he was there, the lifelong friends he made, and the memories of a very special time in his life. Soon after his time at KQRS ended, Dan was hired by KLXK doing middays and eventually co-hosted the Morning Show with Cyndy Brucato and Jeff Gerbino.
A format change at KLXK in 1991 brought Dan to Clear Channel Communications as the Commercial Production Director overseeing the commercial content for seven radio stations. While he did fill-in for on-air shifts and voice tracking, it was here where Dan discovered his love of the behind-the-scenes aspects of radio. He loved the flexibility and creativity that this position offered as well as getting to work closely with the Sales and Traffic teams.
After sixteen years at Clear Channel, the often expected, but dreaded downsizing happened. However, in an ironic twist of fate, Dan was hired by Salem Communications as their Production Director. Their offices were located at the old KLXK studios in Eagan. It really was a “full circle” moment in his professional career.
Nearly three years later, Dan was fortunate enough to be able to work for Mick Anselmo once again, his former General Manager at Clear Channel, who was now the Market Manager at CBS Radio. CBS Radio became Entercom Communications (and is now Audacy, Inc.) and that is where Dan worked for the rest of his life.
For over thirty years Dan was also a much sought-after voiceover talent. His voice could be heard everywhere from TV and Radio commercials, corporate training videos, communication on-hold systems, audio books, video games and much more.
One of Dan’s most enduring loves was hockey, where he referred games for young and old, men and women, all over the region. He loved being on the ice and part of the hockey community. Dan loved being in and on unfrozen water too, becoming SCUBA certified in his 50s.
On March 17, 2006, St. Patrick's Day, Dan married his best friend and partner Nancy Mitchell. They had a beachside sunset wedding with family and close friends in Cozumel Mexico. One of the most special moments of that day for Dan was when his children Joe and Cori surprised everyone and showed up the day before the wedding to walk their beloved “Pops” down the aisle.
Dan and Nancy (a.k.a. “Danancy”) made their home in Minneapolis with their dogs Ziggy and Chloe. Their life was filled with friends, family, laughter, shenanigans, inappropriate humor, and most of all - an incredible amount of love. They were (and still are) equally crazy about each other and were constantly laughing with, and at, each other.
Life took at frightening turn in November 2019 when Dan was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. However, Dan weathered that storm the way he did whenever life dealt him a blow – with humor, courage, resolve, and looking with hope to the future. You can read about this part of Dan and Nancy's journey through multiple myeloma starting at the beginning of the "Well This Sucks" blog they created together.
Dan underwent months of radiation, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and then had a stem cell transplant in September 2020. He was declared in deep remission by January 2021. Plans for a cancer-free life were made and highly anticipated.
However, the universe had different plans for Dan. On February 13, 2021, Dan tested positive for COVID-19. He was admitted to the hospital on February 22 and tragically succumbed to the COVID virus in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, February 28, 2021.
After Dan passed away, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for our sweet Dan. People shared stories about the many kindnesses that Dan shared with others. The stories came from every aspect of his life – childhood, high school friends and teachers, co-workers, interns, listeners of the many radio stations he worked at, clients, neighbors, friends, and extended family. Be sure to check out the Tributes page to see how much he meant to so many.
From hearing those stories about Dan's positive and lasting impact on so many people, Nancy came up with the idea to start the Dan Culhane Kindness Legacy as a way to keep the memory of Dan and his many selfless acts of kindness and generosity alive. In addition to the organizations and causes that were important to Dan such as Youth Hockey, Broadcasting, Blood Cancer Patient Support and Animal Rescues, the Dan Culhane Kindness Legacy will also work to fund random acts of kindness wherever they are needed, with special attention to families impacted by COVID losses.