Former Lite 98.7 Morning Show Host has Passed Away
Former Lite 98.7 morning show host J.R. Reitz passed away unexpectedly Monday morning.
From early 2016 to April 2017 I got the privilege of being J.R.'s cohost on the Lite 98.7 morning show. He had just moved back to the area from Arizona and took a job as our brand manager and morning show host.
I was still new to the whole "morning show lifestyle," and learned a lot working with J.R. He was always willing to help and compromise, and try to find solutions to issues...
Like when I was having difficulty keeping up with the morning show, taking care of websites, blogging, and running the midday show, I asked to be taken off the morning show. He said we could, but asked if I could try coming in a little later, and leaving a little earlier in the day. We decided to try that and it solved the problem.
J.R. had a unique and corky sense of humor. Sometimes I wouldn't even know he was joking because he would say something so dry and without a change in his face. When I would realize he was joking, we'd laugh even harder that it took me so long to get it!
Now, J.R. and I didn't always see eye-to-eye, but that's going to happen with anyone you work that close with for that many hours a day. But working with J.R., and taking in all that he's taught me has made me a better talent on air, and a better person in general.
We had fun! I remember a few of us got together during the workday to teach him how to play KanJam. I don't think we were good teachers...
We liked to be goofy, but we also knew each other on a personal level. We talked when him and his long-time girlfriend called it quits. He helped me, help a friend after news broke that her father had passed away, while I was working on a Saturday.
J.R. and I took a trip to an elementary school in Ilion to visit with second-graders and find out what they thought about Christmas and the holiday season. They read us Christmas stories that they wrote, and we talked to them about radio. And I'll never forget how hard we laughed when a child asked J.R. "If he was a hundred years old"
Kids say the silliest things, don't they?!
This was during Winter Storm Stella. The building was pretty quiet besides a few people in the news department and few people on-air. J.R. was outside for just a few minutes brushing off his car and he got completely covered in snow!
That was such a funny moment!
After working on the morning show, J.R. moved to middays for a bit, then ended up moving back to the New Bedford area to work at Fun 107.
He was also working weekends on a station out of the Boston area.
Since J.R. left Lite 98.7, we still kept in touch. He would email me about roller coasters being built in the northeast (because he knew how much of a thrill-seeker I am), and we would catch up about things going on in our lives. We just talked a few weeks ago, and he told me about his move to the morning show on Easy 99.1 WPLM.
I was SO happy for his good news and we promised to keep in touch.
It was heartbreaking to hear the news of his passing earlier this morning. Many people in the radio world worked with or at least knew J.R. Especially in the northeast.
J.R. passed away unexpectedly Monday morning (December 12th), in his New Bedford home. He was 66-years-old.
J.R. you will be greatly missed.