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Features

Radio's Bob Lassiter dies at 61

By ERIC DEGGANS
Published October 17, 2006


Fans who discovered his barbed, personal Web log knew it was coming for weeks, as former Tampa Bay area radio personality Bob Lassiter documented his long, slow decline from kidney failure.

Last week Mr. Lassiter succumbed, slipping into a "sleeplike" condition Wednesday and dying at 9:15 a.m. Friday (Oct. 13, 2006). His sole survivor, wife Mary, said Mr. Lassiter had requested cremation and no memorial service or funeral. He was 61.

A native of Camden, N.J., Mr. Lassiter developed a reputation as a compelling, unpredictable radio presence on bay area radio, coming to WPLP-AM in 1985 and moving to WFLA-AM 970 a few years later. After a rocky time at WLS-AM in Chicago over the late '80s, he returned to the bay area, settling at WFLA in 1996. Known for pointedly challenging callers and his employers while chain smoking through broadcasts, Mr. Lassiter often found himself ousted from radio jobs despite ratings success, including by WFLA in 1999, when the station declined to renew his contract.

As his health worsened, Mr. Lassiter documented his frustration, fear and physical problems with brutal honesty at the online diary bloglassiter.com. "Yesterday, I discovered that my good, personal friends at WFLA are hard at work preparing my obituary," he wrote in a posting dated Oct. 3. "I'm amused that the (jerks) who threw me out in the gutter, now want to 'honor' me with a fancy obit . . . Why must the word be so phony?"

The unpredictable nature of his illness led Mr. Lassiter to bid farewell to his blog's readers in May, only to have his health rebound. "It's almost a cruel joke . . . two or three weeks of really being sick, then I'll rebound," Mr. Lassiter told the St. Petersburg Times this month, explaining why he decided to stop writing the blog. "There's nothing left to say."

Those wishing to make a memorial contribution can send donations to the Robert Lassiter Fund, c/o Collingswood Recreation Dept., Attn: Holly Mannel, 678 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, N.J., 08108.

[Last modified October 17, 2006, 05:18:38]


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