St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message


Radio's Bob Lassiter dies at 61

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 "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]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters