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December 14, 2013

Roxbury mourns loss of radio DJ

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Bob Ackershoek, a popular disc jockey for Roxbury community radio station WIOX, died early Friday at a South Carolina hospital after a heart attack earlier in the week, according to his companion, Cassie Grabowski, and station staffers.

Ackershoek was 62 years old. Grabowski, the operator of Cassie’s Cafe in Roxbury, said on Ackershoek’s Facebook page today that he died at 2 a.m. She said a memorial service for him will be scheduled for a date after the upcoming holidays.

Friends said Ackershoek and Grabowski were on vacation in South Carolina this week when he was hospitalized as the result of the heart attack.

Ackershoek was known for playing popular rock songs from the 1960s through 1980s on his evening show at the nonprofit station, staffed by volunteers. He called his show, “This Is The Rock.”

By noon Friday, his Facebook page was festooned with moving tributes posted by his friends and fans of his show.

Grabowski wrote on her post: “I thank everyone again for all of your good vibes. Hopefully, he is gone to Rock and Roll Heaven and is hanging with those good people.”

WIOX executive producer Joe Piasek said staffers at the radio station were stunned and devastated by Ackershoek’s death.

“Bob was one of the kindest and most thoughtful individuals you could ever meet,” Piasek said. “His displays of passion went beyond the extreme.”

When WIOX began operations in 2010, the first voice listeners heard was that of Ackershoek, said Mike Teitelbaum, the station’s production manager.

“Having had experience doing college radio, Bob quickly mentored many of the new hosts,” he said. “His passion for music and radio was huge, as was his personality and love for WIOX and his community. His death is a huge loss for this radio station and this community.”

Artie Martello, the office manager and a disc jockey at WIOX, said: “Bob was a great person who gave so much of himself to WIOX. He was a real curmudgeon. I loved the guy. He was a great friend.”

Piasek said Ackershoek had managed a stereo shop in New Jersey before moving to the Roxbury area. He was one of the first volunteers at the station, and became known as “the Fill-in Czar,” for offering his assistance when a show needed to be covered, he noted.

Ackershoek not only had a wide knowledge of the history of popular music but he also had tremendous respect for recording artists, Piasek said.

“He was a real audiophile,” he noted.