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2017 Minnesota Broadcast Obituaries

Cliff Mitchell

Cliff Mitchell passed away March 30 at the age of 89.

After attending Brown Institute Cliff spent his entire broadcast career at KASM in Albany, Minn. A 2002 inductee in to the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, being a radio personality was one of three career aspirations Cliff had growing up. The others were a cowboy and fireman, and he accomplished both of these as well. He followed the rodeo for a year and a half and became a volunteer fireman after he started his radio career.

Dan Rowe

Dan Rowe, The radio voice of the Vikings from 1991-2000, died Friday, March 17, 2017. Rowe, who was 67, had lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for several years.

Rowe called games from the Metrodome, working through the 2000 season as the Vikings switched radio homes from WCCO to KFAN. In 2003, he went on to announce for the San Diego Chargers (now the Los Angeles Chargers.) He also frequently calling Hastings High School football games both during and after his time with the Vikings.

Dan is survived by his wife, Lindsey Guentzel.

John Hewett “Jack” Lemme, passed away peacefully on February 14, 2017, at the age of 91. Jack was the owner of KLTF Radio in Little Falls for more than 40 years and an active community leader. He is survived by his beloved wife, Jean of 64 years; daughters, Linda (Steve) Rucker, Kathy (Gordy) Peterson; sons, Steve (Susanne) Lemme and Mark Lemme; grandchildren, Ryan (Rachel) , Erin, Keziah, Elliot, Chloe, Amber (Grant), Hanna and Chad; great-grandchild, Norah.

Ray Christensen

Ray Christensen, the "Voice of the Minnesota Golden Gophers," passed away Sunday, February 5, 2017, at the age of 92.

A 2002 inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Ray’s broadcast career began at University of Minnesota radio station KUOM, followed by a term as program director and sports director at WLOL Minneapolis/Saint Paul. He joined WCCO in 1963, where his duties ranged from news and interviews to fine music, in addition to sportscasting. He retired from full-time broadcasting in 1993, but continued doing Gopher football and basketball play-by-play until 2001. Over the years he broadcast Minnesota Twins baseball, Minnesota Vikings football, Minneapolis Lakers basketball, as well as 510 Gopher football games in 50 years and 1,309 Gopher basketball games in 45 years. He remained active in the community, hosting tours abroad and recording Talking Books for the Blind. He received numerous awards for his broadcast achievements. The University of Minnesota placed a banner honoring him in Williams Arena, and established an athletic scholarship in his name in 2001.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ramona; children, Tom (Ann), Sue (Jim) Chambers, Jim (Rose); grandchildren, Emily and Mary, Jonathan, and Christina, Brian (Nicole) and David.

Herb Oscar Anderson

The Morning Mayor of New York City passed away Sunday, January 29, 2017, at the age of 88.

Herb Oscar Anderson was born on May 30, 1928, in South Beloit, Ill. His mother, the former Frieda Munson, a maid who was born in Sweden, placed Herb and her four other children in the Odd Fellows orphanage in Lincoln, Ill., after the deaths of two husbands left her too poor to raise them. He would later reunite with her.

His career began in Wisconsin, where he wrote for the Janesville Daily Gazette. After serving three years in the Air Force he started working as an on-air personality at WDBO in Orlando, Florida, then at a chain of stations in Iowa, before going to KSTP (1954-56) and then WDGY (February 6, 1956 to July 8, 1957).

From Jim Ramsburg: "Herb was morning man at Storz WDGY when I came aboard in 1956 fresh from college. He was a very nice guy, surprisingly nervous on the air, and begrudgingly played the Morning Mayor routine which we stole from Eddie Clarke at our sister station, WHB/Kansas City. It was at WDGY that Herb began to sing along with Lawrence Welk's instrumental 'Champagne Time' and came up with his 'Hello Again' theme.

CBS got him out of the Minneapolis market, and out of WCCO's hair, when it hired him for WBBM/Chicago. But WDGY's manager, Steve Labunski, was hired to run ABC Radio a bit later and he stole HOA away from WBBM for the network's 'Live & Lively' format where he did a weekday hour following The Breakfast Club. When that noble experiment failed, Labunski moved on to WMCA/New York City and brought Herb with him as morning man. Then WABC went Top 40 and you know the rest ... "

Here's a link to Tom Gavaras's site RadioTapes.com with a clip of H.O.A. on WDGY from September 1956:

Herb Oscar Anderson is survived by his second wife, Terry Kirkoff, a film editor; sons, Herb Oscar Anderson II and John James; daughter, Carla Anderson; and four grandchildren.

Lou Buron

Lou Buron December 31, 1943 - January 23, 2017

A 2007 inductee in the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Lou grew up in St. Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1966. After serving in the Army National Guard, he earned another degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State, and joined the sales team at KDWB Radio in 1971. He moved up the ladder quickly, and by 1977 had become regional vice president of the station’s parent company, Doubleday Broadcasting of New York, responsible for operations in Chicago, Detroit, Denver, and St. Louis, as well as the Twin Cities. In 1986 he moved to Parker Communications, with Cities 97 and other stations in Las Vegas, Honolulu, and California. He served two years as president before forming his own company, Omni Broadcasting, in 1988. Starting with KBUN and KBHP in Bemidji, Omni was sixteen stations strong, serving Bemidji, Alexandria, Brainerd, and Staples/Wadena before being sold to Hubbard Broadcasting in 2015.

Under Buron’s leadership, Omni stations raised more than $4 million with the annual Radiothon to End Child Abuse, just one example of Lou's commitment to public service, which was matched only by his enthusiasm for the industry he loved.

Lou is survived by his loving wife, Mary Campbell; son, Jeff (Sarah); and Mary’s children, Heather (Wayne), and Christopher; cousin, Dorothy Mae DeTomaso

John Bravis

John Bravis WØEKS age 90, of Columbia Heights, Minn. passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on January 2, 2017. Survived by wife of 63 years Jean; son Jon (Jack); daughters Becky, Bonnie, and Julie; nephew Brian Krysinski; niece Tonya Krysinski. John was a South High grad in 1944, WWII Navy Vet, long time radio ham, Pavek Museum volunteer, Kiwanian, golfer, and musician. John joined Medtronic in 1952 during its humble beginnings in a garage in NE Mpls. At that time the company personnel was four; Earl Bakken, Palmer Hermundslie, John Bravis and an office secretary. One infamous day, Earl gave John a sketch drawn on the back of a brown paper bag and asked him to build it. That creation became the prototype of the first battery-powered cardiac pacemaker. He remained with the company for 35 years, retiring in 1987.