Neil Rogers and Bob Lassiter in the same studio. Hilarity ensues.
Thanks to Rich Marino for putting this up. Good work, sir!
I don’t think this aired on the radio, so you had to be at the Clearwater Mall (which has since been remodeled, it’s just a bunch of stores now with no air-conditioned gathering central area) to attend this event.
The big story was Bob Lassiter’s (formerly of WFLA) return to the Tampa Bay market after a three and a half year or so absence. Neil Rogers and Randi Rhodes, two talk hosts heard on WSUN and WIOD in Miami, make the pilgrimage up to Clearwater to bolster 620’s “entertaining talk radio” lineup. Bob made his debut a few days later on February 1, 1993, lasting at WSUN a little over two and a half years before heading back to WFLA from 1996 to 1999.
Here’s a look at the late “Mad Dog” Bob Lassiter, back when he was on WLS in Chicago near Christmas time of 1990.
Lassiter was better known for being a ratings winner for various stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market in the late 80’s and mid-to-late 90’s. He seems out of place in Chicago, as executives for the ABC station did all they could to rein him in, with Lassiter retorting by being in a state of denial that he ever worked at Tampa station WFLA.
Bob and WLS would part ways in 1991, with Lassiter reappearing in the Tampa Bay market at WSUN in early 1993.
I always enjoyed Bob’s shows. The difference between his work and what you hear on talk radio these days is a simple one. Now, you’re told what to think by these robotic hosts, outside of a few. Back in the heyday of talk radio (which I consider the 80’s and 90’s), you were taught HOW to think. A significant difference.
It’s aircheck time once again, and once again I’m featuring “The Magnificent” Bob Lassiter, holding court at the Renaissance Festival in Largo in 1989. It was held where the Largo Library stands currently, and where the football stadium for Largo High School once stood many decades ago, known as locals of the area as “Sand Spur Stadium” because of what the grass there contained.
(I hate sand spurs with a passion, but that’s another blog entry.)
This Saturday airing of Lassiter’s show had an infamous incident. A heckler came up to Lassiter’s microphone and screamed into it, leading to the talk show host slugging the fan on the air. The incident appears to occur in the last 20-30 seconds of the nearly hour and a half clip, if you want to skip to it.
The audio is not all that great in spots, with Lassiter being piped into the Tampa studios from the remote location in Largo possibly having something to do with it, or it could be just the way it was recorded.
I got some positive feedback from a recent aircheck of Neil Rogers, so I thought I’d go to the well again.
It’s July 1, 1992, and Neil Rogers is now simulcasting on WSUN in Tampa. After being on in Tampa Bay for a few months, he reintroduces the area to Bob Lassiter, who left WFLA to go to Chicago and talk radio station WLS. After a disappointing experience there, Bob and his wife had moved to Davenport, Iowa.
In early 1993, it was back to the Tampa Bay area for Lassiter at WSUN, initially doing morning drive before eventually going to a 2-6 pm shift before getting booted from the station when they changed to an all-sports station. Eventually, WSUN would change call letters to WDAE, an ID uprooted from 1250 AM where they had been on the radio dial for several decades.
A few weeks later, Neil appeared live on Bob’s show out of St. Petersburg.
I thought I’d take another look at “The Mad Dog” Bob Lassiter for today’s aircheck. This one particular episode is special to me, because I used to have this on tape personally, listening to WFLA that day on Christmas vacation as a senior at Largo High School.
Lassiter is talking about an old computer golf game called Mean 18, the evolution (or devolution) of Burger King, Wendy’s and other burger joints, plus some other topics. I don’t think he initiated any hard topics this day, and as the poster on YouTube indicates, he seems in a jovial mood just days before Christmas.
The mood would turn a bit more somber later in the day, as this was the afternoon of the Lockerbie bombing and crash in Scotland. A bomb was detonated on Pan Am Flight 103 placed by Libyan nationals, killing 243 passengers, 16 crew members, and 11 more on the ground.
Within a year, Lassiter left WFLA on his way to Chicago and the powerful WLS, only to return to the market a few years later.
Today’s aircheck comes from WFLA and the late 1990’s. The host is the controversial Bob Lassiter, who is in open phones as this recording goes, taking calls in rapid style fashion. The language and sarcasm here is a bit raw and biting, as befits Bob’s style.
The big story in the Tampa Bay radio business, as Lassiter is fond of discussing on the air as part of his shtick, is that Mason Dixon got booted from another Clear Channel station, 95.7 FM, which then had the call letters on WMTX. WFLA is (currently) and was at the time also a Clear Channel station, which would put many other talk hosts in an uncomfortable position, but Lassiter seems to excel at talking shop regardless.
His last show on WFLA (or any station as a host) would air on December 1, 1999, passing away nearly seven years later in October of 2006. There hasn’t been anyone like him on the radio in this market since.