Friday, February 01, 2013

RIP Lee Rodgers (Plus A Link To His Last Radio Appearance)

Sad news this morning, if you've been a fan or a listener of KSFO-AM's morning show over the last few years.  Lee Rodgers, who was one of the hosts of the morning show from the mid 1990s until around 2010, has died (Radio Ink).

Longtime Bay area broadcaster Lee Rodgers has died. Rodgers was having heart issues and actually died on the operating table last night, having his heart operated on.
His wife Susan wrote on his blog:
Dear Friends:
Some of you may have heard that Lee has been dealing with some health issues of late. Unfortunately the rumors are true.

After extensive heroic surgery performed by seven wonderful surgeons and 13 hours, Lee decided to leave the bounds of earth and soar with the eagles. At 12:32 a.m. on January 31, Lee died. However, he died like he lived. He was brave to take the chances of a risky surgery and thanked his surgeons prior to beginning to try to find a way to extend his "used-by" date.

I loved this man with all my heart and it has been a privilege to share 35 years with him. He had integrity, he was responsible and he was honest to the core.

Lee's favorite poem was "Invictus" and I want to share it with you now. So, raise your glasses high and salute a man among men.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Susan Rodgers
Melanie Morgan, who was and is still a co-host of the KSFO Morning Show, wrote:
I really don't want to write about this, I don't want to think about this, and I don't want it to be true.

Lee Rodgers, friend and mentor, is dead.

I owe everything that I have in my professional life to Lee Rodgers, who took me under his wing back in 1988 in the halycon days of KGO Radio.

Lee was a nighttime talk show host, a former rock and roll DJ, hired by my husband Jack Swanson. He hired him twice, in fact.

"Lee Rodgers was a real radio guy. He was remarkable. He worked very hard, didn't always play well with other children, but always made our industry proud," Swanson said.

Lee and I worked together at KSFO radio on the "Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan Show, with Officer Vic" (and Sheri Yee) for 14 years, but it was always the Lee Rodgers show, and we got to go along for the ride. Lee was demanding, brilliant, perfectionistic, generous, very very loyal and HUGELY entertaining. I learned my conservative principles from him. He helped mold and shape my politics and you can sometimes hear Lee speaking through me on the radio. I learned to capitalize entire words on paper from Lee, like HUGELY.

Lee Rodgers first and foremost was a devoted husband to Susan, his 'bride' as he called her. They were married for over 30 years, and were inescapably in love and twinned forever. I talked to Susie and she wants Lee's fans to know that he was completely dramatic until the very end.

"Lee had 110 people in the operating room, which he loved. He told the nurse before he went under that since he was naked, everyone else should be too."

Lee underwent a 13 hour operation for a heart by-pass, and Susie said he just couldn't pull through.

Lee used to say "when I leave this vale of tears, I want elephants, dancing women and marching bands." Instead, Lee's ashes will be spread among his favorite hills of Arizona, where he and Susie have lived for the past decade.

This is the part where I am supposed to write my final thoughts about Lee but there will always be a million unfinished thoughts about him. He will be with me and millions of radio fans forever. All I can do is cry and mourn the passing of a genius, a total professional and the damned funniest man I have ever known.

Lee would like the last comment the best.

Although the genius part is a close second.

Really close.
I had just been to Lee's blog yesterday morning and saw he made an appearance on the Rich Lieberman Show on KSCO on January 24, he had written:
Yesterday I was on KSCO with Rich Lieberman for an hour. I couldn't announce it in advance because it was uncertain that I'd be able to do it. However, if you're interested, it's available in a podcast on their website. Enter something like "KSCO podcasts" and your friendly neighborhood internet search engine will take you to it. It's about the third or fourth item down the list of available podcasts.
Here's the link to Lee's last radio appearance  (download here) and if you never heard him before, listen and you'll hear why Lee Rodgers was, well, as Melanie Morgan said, a genious.

If you listened to KSFO from 5:00 to 9:00 am when he, Mel, and OV hosted the radio show, lets just say you got an education and a further grounding of conservative principles. If you studied as a student at the Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies, you did your Masters work under Lee Rodgers. You learned listening to Lee that being a conservative was more than just touting whatever the GOP party line was. Principles were more important than party loyalty.  Listening to Lee and Mel was what furthered my grounding in conservative principles.

So, to Lee Rodgers, thank you for the higher education in conservatism, and even after you retired, you kept giving us your words of wisdom via your blog.  The saying during the time he was on the air was that "Uncle Lee Kicks Butt."

Well, he did. He really did.


1 comment:

Lil said...

He had the most wonderful voice on the air that I have ever heard. The hubby and I moved to San Jose in 88 and we'd listen to him and Bernie Ward go 'at it'. My hubby became a radio talk show junkie because of Lee.

His Golden Voice will surely be missed!