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Radio Broadcaster Don LeBrecht Passes Away at 80

LeBrecht worked for more than four decades at AM and FM stations across the country

The radio industry has lost one of its more prolific broadcasters after Roger D. “Don” LeBrecht passed away at age 80 on Feb. 22 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Known to many as Don, LeBrecht was a veteran broadcaster who worked for more than four decades in the radio at AM and FM stations across the country.

Born in Kansas City, LeBrecht graduated high school and college in Texas, and began a tour of duty with the U. S. Army in 1956. Perhaps it was there that he was bit by the radio bug, as he spent time in the Azores working with Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

His first radio job as a civilian was at KHMS(FM) in El Paso, Texas, but that would hardly be his only stop. He moved to Yakima, Wash., to work for KNDX(FM), over to Fresno, Calif., to work a KFRE(FM) and headed east to WSPA(FM) in Spartanburg, S.C., and WBT(AM/FM) in Charlotte, N.C.

He met his wife, Thelma, at WBT/WBTV where she served in the broadcast news department.

His radio career continued with stints at stations in New Jersey, Toronto, Philadelphia and Washington. He also served as the executive director of the Broadcast Industry Council from 1982 until his retirement in 1999.

He is survived by his wife, Thelma, with whom he would have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary this coming May. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, a niece, nephew, and several grandnieces and grandnephews. Services for LeBrecht will be held March 8 at the Sarasota National Cemetery. Condolences for his family can be left within the family’s memorial guest book.