Legendary New York DJ Dave Herman died behind bars Wednesday while awaiting federal trial on charges of trying to seduce a 6-year-old girl.
The 78-year-old ex-WNEW-FM morning man apparently suffered a fatal aneurysm inside the Essex County Jail in Newark, according to his lawyer, Marc Agnifilo.
His death brings a sad end to an even sadder story. However, as RadioInsight points out, it’s his time in radio that is worth remembering:
Dave Herman will likely be remembered not for his radio legacy, but for his actions late in life. He’ll never get his trial in court, but has been judged by the court of public opinion. Regardless of whether you believe him to be innocent or guilty of the charges levied against him, there is a radio legacy worth remembering.
You can read more about his decades-long radio history (with stops at WMMR, WABC-FM, and WNEW-FM) at RadioInsight, but I’d like to bring up one personal memory here.
When Dave Herman was at WNEW-FM, he would play an album side (now that vinyl is fashionable again, the term “album side” isn’t as antiquated as it used to be). He’d play all the tracks on one side of an album, leaving in any silence between the gaps. I looked forward to those album sides, heard The Who Sell Out, and got turned on to Jimi Hendrix. One day he put on Side D of Electric Ladyland, and I heard something pretty amazing. In the mid-1980s, I was familiar with computers and the sounds they could produce, and when the needle got to “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” I could hardly believe this was recorded back in the 1960s, way before the Commodore 64 was invented. I thought this was amazing, and immediately I was hooked. The rest, as they say, is history…