Country radio, (heck ALL of radio), lost a legend today. Former KUPL DJ, and Country Radio Hall of Famer, Lee Rogers has passed from this world.
I'll be honest, Lee wasn't one of my favorite DJ's at KUPL. I think it's because I was somewhat intimidated by how gruff and blunt he could be at times. He definitely seemed to be a no nonsense type of guy.
That's not to say I didn't respect the man though; I did then, and I still do. I mean, you don't do a job for forty years, and be entered into a Hall of Fame for nothing; obviously Lee knew what he was doing.
It also doesn't mean that I didn't like listening to Lee on the air, I definitely did. In fact, though I'd been listening to KUPL off and on for years, it was about the time Lee Rogers hit the airwaves that I became a loyal listener of the station.
While I didn't always agree with Lee's opinions, one of my favorite things was Lee's Soapbox. Those were the times Lee would be on the air telling every listener how he felt about whatever topic he had a rant about at that moment.
So many things are going through my head as I write this, and have been since I heard the news of Lee's passing today. I've written, and rewritten paragraphs of this post, trying to express what I want to say, and get it right; but nothing seems to do justice for how I'm feeling.
I've read many posts from Lee's former colleagues and listeners, telling their stories of interactions with Lee throughout the years. They're heartwarming to read, because it sheds light on the real person Lee Rogers was. He wasn't just gruff and grumbly; he was a human being with a true heart.
I'll take a cue from Lee himself here, and be totally blunt; yes, of course people are going to say lots of nice things about someone when they've died, it's what people do. The thing is, if Lee Rogers wasn't as nice a person as everyone has said, then there wouldn't be so very, very many posts praising the man for who he was and what he did in life.
There wouldn't be so many former co-workers posting about their time spent working with Lee. And there are A LOT of co-workers in a forty year career! Heck, I can't even count the number of co-workers Lee interacted with in just his fifteen years with KUPL!
What I'm getting at is, though I may have been intimidated by the man while he was living, those who really knew him have made me come to see just how real he was; and how he touched so many others' lives in great ways.
I think that's why I needed to write this post; as a tribute to Lee Rogers' life and legacy, and as a small but truly heartfelt apology for not knowing more about what a great human being he was.
Lee, I really wish *I'd* gotten to know you as well as other KUPL listeners did. I hope I've done at least a somewhat decent job of paying tribute to you here.
Rest in Peace, Lee Rogers. Maybe someday I'll meet up with you on the other side, and catch up on all I missed while you were here.