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2017 Minnesota Broadcasting Obituaries

Jack Ludescher

Jack Ludescher, age 82, of Prior Lake/Savage, died Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, at Fairview Ridges Hospital after a long illness. He was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on April 22, 1935, to Bernard and Frances Ludescher. Jack was raised in Rochester and at the age of 14 began his journey at Boys Town, Neb. The philosophy of Boys Town allowed him to develop a strong value of integrity throughout his life. Jack was the general manager of KCHK Radio Station for 25 years and retired in 2002.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Deanna; two daughters, Julie (Lloyd) Schommer and Kellie (Mark) Walz; and five grandchildren, Brittaney (Nathan) Gamez, Bailey Schommer, Courtaney (Todd) Shultz, Carter and Autum Walz.


Ralph Jon Fritz
courtesy CBS/WCCO

Ralph Jon Fritz died December 6, 2017, after more than two years battling stomach cancer. We're still waiting for more details. In the meantime, here's a great piece by Bill Hudson:

Another from

And finally, here's a feature that he shot here at the Museum about 15 years ago:

Chuck Lilligren

Chuck Lilligren died November 3, 2017, at the age 89. Chuck had a long and distinguished career as an on-air radio personality, including nearly 24 years at WCCO-AM as their farm director. A graduate of Brown Institute, he landed his first radio job in Marshfield, Wisconsin. After stints in Columbus, Ohio, and Duluth, Minnesota, he came to WCCO Radio. After leaving WCCO he spent a brief time at KSTP Radio, then he finally retired from KLBB.

He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Marge, seven children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Roger Erickson

Longtime WCCO Radio personality Roger Erickson, the man who made school closing announcements an art form, died of natural causes at his home in Plymouth on Monday, October 30, 2017, at the age of 89.

A charter inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Erickson and his on-air partner, Charlie Boone, ruled Minnesota's airwaves during morning drive-time for 38 years. Boone and Erickson was a perfect vehicle for Roger's storytelling, acting, and writing talents.

After years of getting up before 4:00 am, Roger retired in 1998.

Dave Mona, a longtime friend of Erickson (and Boone) posted news of Erickson's death on his Facebook page. "He always joked that on his gravestone he wanted it to read:

Formerly two hours late, now closed.' "

Erickson is survived by his wife, Margaret; a daughter, Tracy Anderson, and two grandchildren.

Special thanks to Carol Heen and the late Charlie Boone for their donation in memory of Roger.
For more about Roger please go to

John Linder

John Linder, age 63, passed away Friday September 22, 2017, after a nine-month battle with cancer.

"John has been a legacy in broadcasting in the community all his life," said Radio Mankato Vice President and General Manager Jo Bailey. "He will be sadly and dearly missed by everyone here."

The Linder family is synonymous with radio history in the region.

John's grandfather Harry started a radio station in Wilmar in the late 1930s and his father, Don, started KTOE in Mankato in the 1950s. They also formed the Linder Farm Network.

"John worked alongside his dad all his life," Bailey said. Don Linder died in 2015.

Longtime KTOE personality Pete Steiner said Linder's status would be unknown to anyone who met him. "He was just so self-effacing. It was never about him. You'd never know what an important guy he was. It never mattered to him. If he liked you he liked you, and nothing else mattered."

Keeping the stations in local ownership was important to the Linders, Steiner said. "It would have been very easy for them to just sell them, but they always thought it was very important to keep it local."

He said the Linders created an atmosphere that made employees want to stay. "I've been here three decades and I'm the new kid on the block. That just says something about how they treated their employees."

Steiner said that if a DJ's car broke down and it was 10 days until their next paycheck, Linder would advance the money to them. "He'd never tell anyone but we'd hear about it."
The family's broadcasting holdings are widespread, including Minnesota Valley Broadcasting and Radio Mankato, which is home to KTOE, Minnesota 93, Hot 96-7, Oldies 100-point-5, KRRW, KXLP and The Fan.

"He had interests in other states, but this was home for John," Bailey said.

"He was a great broadcaster. He understood the business, he loved the business and the people in it. He called us his radio family. He cared for the people here."

Bailey said he was a world traveler and loved spending time at his Florida home and with his children and grandchildren.

courtesy Mankato Free Press

John Sieberz

John Sieberz, age 94 passed away Sept. 5, 2017. Born Feb. 13, 1923, in Decatur, Illinois, to Ogreata and John H. Sieberz. He attended Bemidji High School. Upon graduation he enlisted to the U.S. Coast Guard as a seaman and radioman during WWII.  John married Joyce E. Sieberz, in 1944 who has been the love of his life for 73 years. He worked for over 25 years as a television engineer at WCCO TV in the early years of broadcasting.  

Survived by Joyce Sieberz, children Julie (Mohsen) Sadeghi, and John Sieberz Jr. He was blessed with three outstanding grandsons, Ryan, Marc, and Paul Sadeghi and four beautiful great-grandchildren.

Joe Boyle

Joseph D. Boyle, former MN sportscaster (Twins, NorthStars, Gophers, High School Tourneys) passed peacefully in Arizona 8/14/2017. Survived by brother Larry, son Mark, dtr. Laura (Minette) and long time love Hallie Adam.

Weldon Hogie

Weldon Hogie, age 97 of Northfield, passed away August 8, 2017, in Mpls. He was born April 23, 1920, in Astoria, SD, to Ida (Iverson) and Albert Hogie. He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota State College in 1942 and then served as a US Army officer in World War II where he led the 1st Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company (Sec 3) in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany, broadcasting both propaganda and troop entertainment. After WWII he remained in Germany as Chief Engineer at Radio Stuttgart until August 1946, training staff and ensuring appropriate programming. He ended his WWII service as a Major. Citations included a bronze battle star and a silver star. He was called up for Korea in 1951 and did radio work there for 17 months. In the early 1950s he was one of the first engineers at WCCO TV where he developed the innovative split-screen technology used to produce the Bedtime Nooz program in the 1960s. He moved to Northfield, Minn, in the late '60s and was Technical Director at the Associated Colleges Video Tape Project for many years. In retirement he was active in the Northfield HAM Radio group. He taught advanced photoshop classes at the Northfield Senior Center until he was 91. He was preceded in death by his parents; his older brother, Leander; his nephew, Arthur Hogie. He is survived by his niece Janet Avery, Golden Valley; his nephew, Keith Hogie (Paulette), Laurel, MD; his niece, Leanne Hogie (Mike), Hood River, OR; great nephews: Glenn Hogie, MD; David Keysser and Nathan Keysser, Mpls; and great niece, Jenna Hogie, TX. Those wishing to honor his memory might consider donating to Pavek Museum of Broadcasting, St. Louis Park; or Weldon Hogie Electrical Engineering Scholarship Fund of the South Dakota State University Foundation, Brookings, SD.
Published in the StarTribune on August 12, 2017

Special Thanks to David and Janet Keysser for their memorial to Weldon Hogie.

Sam Hodroff
photo courtesy
Herman and Doug Renner

Sam Hodroff passed away August 1, 2017, at the age of 103. Born on November 24, 1913, Sam was the first in his family born in the United States and was a lifelong resident of Minneapolis. Sam was a veteran of World War II, having served in the Pacific theater. Prior to the war Sam owned a gas station and on the entry of the United States to the war attempted to join the Army and the Navy. Rejected because of his age, he found that the Navy Construction Battalion was accepting men with construction skills. He enlisted in the Navy Sea Bees (Construction Battalion) claiming to be a welder - a skill he did not possess. He then took a welding class in St. Paul before being sent to training so that, as he put it, "I wouldn't look like I didn't know anything!" Upon returning from the war, Sam opened Acme Liquidators with his brother Louis, in the old Oakwood Theater building at 1605 Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis, which they operated until Lou's death in 1967. After selling the business to Richard Atlas, who moved it to the old Pacific Hotel on Third and Washington, in 1968, Sam devoted himself to looking after his sisters and pursued his passion for fishing and amateur archaeology. Sam is survived by niece Sharon Ansel and nephews Joel and Mark Hodroff as well as many loving great and great great nieces and nephews.

Published in the StarTribune on August 2, 2017

Bill Diehlphoto courtesy

William F. “Bill” Diehl, age 91, of St. Paul, Minnesota, died on July 19, 2017, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Helen; one brother, a sister-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.

Bill Diehl was a newspaper columnist, radio broadcaster, and pioneer television broadcaster.

The 1958 WDGY basketball team with Jack Thayer holding the ball. Clockwise from Jack are Bill Diehl, Don Kelly, Dan Daniel, Stanley Mack, and Jim Ramsburg.
Photo provided by Jim Ramsburg

His radio career started in 1948 at WMIN Radio in the Hamm Building in St. Paul. Diehl left WMIN in January 1950 to do a movie gossip show on KSTP-TV called Screen Stories, which he wrote, produced, and presented. KSTP asked him to stay, but he chose to keep his Pioneer Press job instead. He went back to WMIN in the fall of 1950 and stayed until early 1956, where he had shows called It’s Your Diehl and Diehl’s Caravan. After leaving WMIN he spent 11 years at WDGY where he was the “Rajah of the Records,” the “Deacon of the Disks,” the “Purveyor of the Platters,” and the “Wizard of the Wax with all the musical facts.” Along with his broadcasting duties, he was a popular emcee for musical acts, including Buddy Holly. He played a significant role in bringing the Beatles to Minneapolis in 1965. After leaving WDGY he spent 26 years at WCCO Radio.

He also worked at the St. Paul Dispatch/Pioneer Press for 53 years. After starting as a paperboy, he became a copyboy, and eventually rose to write his own column, Look and Listen, in 1950. He was entertainment editor and film critic until 1985, continuing to write his own column until 1996. Bill and Helen Diehl had an extensive library of albums and classic films and were founders of the Blockhead Tent of the Laurel and Hardy club, Sons of the Desert.

To hear audio of Bill Diehl, go to

courtesy Jeanne Andersen,

Justin Hoberg

Justin D. Hoberg passed away peacefully at his home on Lake Bemidji on June 9th, 2017, at the age of 87. Justin was born in Bemidji, Minn., on July 5th, 1929. He attended Bemidji High School where Justin assured everyone he was a straight "A" student. Justin was well-known for his love of music. He played clarinet and piano by ear, and was in several bands in his younger days. He continued to play throughout his life. There were many nights that his neighbors were treated to Justin playing clarinet outside on his deck. One of Justin's most colorful memories of high school was giving rides on the propeller of the war plane that sat outside the shop class of Bemidji High School. Kids would grab onto the propeller and Justin would hit the starter button and they would twirl around, and twirl they did until the engine actually started, sending the plane crashing into the high school. No one was injured. After high school Justin headed west to Grand Forks to attend UND. There he met Donna Ness and they were married November 24th, 1950. After serving in the Army, Justin was offered a sales position at KNOX Radio. Although Justin had no radio experience, he accepted the job and his career in radio began.

In April 1966, Justin purchased his first radio station, KNOX, and later would acquire KTYN FM in Grand Forks. He went on to purchase stations in Bemidji, KKBJ and KJ 104 and KBQQ FM and KYTN AM in Minot, North Dakota. In 1972, Justin was named executive vice president and general manager for the broadcast division of the Peoria Journal Star, Inc. He was responsible for all operations of the group's 11 stations located in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, and New Mexico. Justin was a past president of the North Dakota Broadcasters, Board of Director of First Bank in Grand Forks, and public relations chair for the United Way.

Justin was preceded in death by his wife, Donna Jean Ness Hoberg; by his daughter Julie Kay Hoberg Fasching; his mother and father, Inga and Harvey Hoberg; brothers, Duane Hoberg and Keith Hoberg.

Justin is survived by special friend, Maria Altemueller; son, Jeffrey Jay Hoberg (Norma); daughter, Jill Hoberg Hill (Steven); sister, Virginia Hoberg Cann; eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Online guestbook at

Thanks to Dean Sorenson and the Grand Forks Herald

Patti Rai Rudolph

A woman who was devoted to the craft of radio broadcasting and a strong supporter of the Pavek died June 16, 2017, after many months of declining health. Patti Rai Rudolph was 63 years old.
A proud product of the east side of St. Paul and a Harding High school graduate, Patti Rai attended Brown Institute in the 1970s where she discovered her passion for broadcasting.
She went on to do practically everything from reading the news, cutting promos and spots to spinning records at radio stations from Grand Rapids and Hibbing to dispatching news crews at KSTP-TV.

Morning Edition staff, from left, Greg Magnuson, Bob Potter, Steph Curtis, and Patti Rai Rudolph.               photo by Steve Wunwood
Patti Rai found her on-air home in 1985 at Minnesota Public Radio where she worked as an audio engineer, seamlessly running the board for Morning Edition for years until she moved into weekend newscasting, finally finishing her career at MPR as the newsroom coordinator in 2009.
Patti Rai will be remembered for her sharp wit, big heart, and impeccable professionalism as a broadcaster.
There were no funeral services. Instead, her MPR friends chose to remember her on the air. That story can be found at courtesy Cathy Wurzer

James Rud

Jimmy Reed at WDGY in the seventies
courtesy J. R. Lonto
James Rud, known to Twin Cities' radio listeners as Jimmy Reed died on June 16, 2017, in Red Wing at the age of 80.  He had been living in Farmington.  His obituary in the Red Wing Republican Eagle reads:

"He was born on October 2, 1936, to Geraldine (Feeney) and Norman Rud, Sr., in Minneapolis. Jimmy graduated from Brown Institute in 1959, and began working in radio. He worked for KDWB [1966-67], KRSI [1969], WDGY [September 23, 1969 – 1984], WLOL [1986], and KRSI. Jimmy adored music and in the 1970s an ad promoting his radio show used the tag line 'More music is Jimmy’s specialty.' He also owned Reed’s Pizza in Prior Lake."

Pat Cadigan
Duluth radio veteran Pat Cadigan, one of the Northland's first rock-n-roll DJ's and longtime KDAL morning show host, passed away on Monday, May 15th, 2017. He was 81.

Charles Patrick Cadigan helped put KUMD on the air as a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth and was hired by WDSM a short time later. When NBC's decision to end evening radio broadcasts forced WDSM to change its programming, Pat "The Cat" Cadigan got the opportunity to spin rock-n-roll records instead.After serving two years in the U.S. Army, Cadigan worked WEBC, WDSM, and WQMN before KDAL hired him in 1961. He left radio to work in real estate in 1974, but rejoined KDAL as morning co-host in 1982.Cadigan also worked for many years with the Chmielewski Fun Time Orchestra, acting as an emcee for the band during performances across the U.S. and Canada and on a weekly TV show before leaving music to concentrate on radio."I had to choose music or radio and I selected radio," Cadigan wrote for a bio posted on KDAL's website. "I'm glad I did because I met a guy named Rik Jordan with whom I spent 26 years on the morning show with. He was the best talent this part of the country had heard. I've been able to work with the very best talent at the very best station in the upper Midwest, KDAL."Cadigan co-hosted the morning show until recently and still hosted the "Midwest Polka Party" Saturday mornings on KDAL.


Weston H. Minter
Minter Weston H. passed suddenly on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, of Robinson Twp., age 63.

Wes lived his professional life in two very different industries over the course of his career, often working in both at the same time. A highly accomplished corporate sales executive, Wes most recently worked for Waste Management. He most loved his work behind the microphone as a talk show host who evoked emotion in the hearts and minds of those who listened to him on radio stations WSB-Atlanta, WCCO- Minneapolis, WHIO-Dayton, KRMG-Tulsa, and KDKA- Pittsburgh over the years. A patriotic man, Wes wanted the world to be a better place, and he used the power of a microphone to do his part in making that happen. He cared deeply about the communities he lived in and even more in those who he trusted as a personal friend. Private about his personal life for most of his life, Wes met Jamie Rowe in 2003 and they wed in 2014. Beloved husband of Jamie M. Rowe; son of Audrey Rice and the late Robert Lee Rice; and also his birth father, the late Howard Minter; brother of Kenneth D. Rice and Linda G. Minter; uncle of Jennifer English and Kory Rice.


Mark Heistad
Heistad, Mark age 59, of Sioux City IA, died April 17 of esophageal cancer while overlooking Lake Superior at his sister Carolyn's house high on the hill in Duluth.

Mark was born August 30, 1957 to Ruth and Gordon Heistad in Minneapolis and went to Washburn High School. As a young man, he worked for Wilderness and Amnicon Canoe Bases, played on the church softball team, and sang in several choirs. He also loved to fish in Canada and cross country ski on the Gunflint Trail. Mark graduated from Luther College in 1979 with emphases in education, history and political science. He managed the college radio station for several years and went on to be a host and producer for public radio stations in Marshall, MN, Cedar Falls, IA and St. Paul, MN. From 1991 to 1992, Mark hosted Morning Edition for MPR in St. Paul. He produced 15 documentaries, including a story on Dorothy Molter, the "root beer lady" of the Boundary Waters, a piece on farmers still using plow horses, and a documentary on Hubert Humphrey. Mark was the recipient of 23 state, regional and national journalism awards. Mark earned a Ph.D. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1997. He was a professor of journalism at Penn State from 1996 to 2000 and spent the last 15 years of his life as "Doc," the beloved professor of mass communications (with the really long beard) at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA. He was very proud of the many students and interns he mentored throughout his career. Mark was devoted to his family and is survived by brother David (Kristi) from Edina and sisters Carolyn of Duluth, Marie Vandenbark of Eau Claire, WI and Kathy Blessing (Dave) of Boulder, Colorado. He was especially close to his Aunt Esther and Uncle Clyde Allen of Moorhead and cousins Cindy Rogness of Duluth and Scott Allen of Fargo.


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 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.