Tom Erickson, 58, longtime radio newsman and talk-show host of WNIR (100.1-FM), has died.
Mr. Erickson’s death was announced Saturday evening during Bob Earley’s talk show, which turned into an impromptu tribute show with callers phoning in to share memories of Mr. Erickson.
His passing follows the sudden death in June of talk-show host Howie Chizek, who died of a heart attack.
“I have never heard in the history of radio of losing two mainstay on-air personalities in the same year,” said Jim Isabella, a co-worker who sometimes filled in for Erickson on the air.
“Tom loved radio and being on the air. He was really into space, Bigfoot and aliens. People might have thought he was quirky, but his fans loved him and he was a big part of the success of WNIR,” said Isabella, who is also a correspondent for the Beacon Journal. “He had just celebrated his 10th anniversary as a regular host.”
According to a biography on the radio station’s website, Erickson spent the first 30 years of his career reporting Akron and Northeast Ohio news. “In that time, he covered thousands of local stories. Tom knows the history of the community and all the major players, giving him a unique ability to talk about our town.”
The Tom Erickson evening show began in 2001 after Erickson was on a news shift and got an emergency call to fill in for one of the regular talk-show hosts despite having no prior experience or prep time, the station said.
“The last time he was on the air was June 5,” said Isabella. In August, radio station officials said they had hoped he would be back on the air soon, but said his medical problems continued and it could be months before he was well enough.
According to family at the time, Erickson had been fighting the effects of a nasty case of peritonitis, an infection which had ruined his stomach and spread into the rest of his body. He had been hospitalized for months, and could not eat or drink.
Services are pending.
Staff writer Betty Lin-Fisher contributed to this report. Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or email@example.com