The Miami Valley is saying goodbye to a longtime radio DJ known for his wit and heart.
“He was a very good person. He would do anything for anybody,” Jerry Stotler said of Bob Sweeney, his close friend of more than 44 years.
Sweeney, 71 and a resident of Dayton’s South Park neighborhood, died Monday, Oct. 2 of cancer.
Raised in Boston, Sweeney joined the United States Air Force shortly after his 18th birthday and worked in radio overseas, Stotler said.
Quiet and private, he was last stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and he decided to settle in Dayton, at first working for a Springfield station.
Sweeney eventually made his way to WHIO Radio where he was a DJ.
Larry Hansgen, currently the host of Miami Valley’s Morning News, joined WHIO in 1981 and worked with Sweeney for about eight years.
>> MORE: Listen Live to WHIO Radio
Sweeney hosted “Conversation Piece” and the afternoon drive while at WHIO. He also appeared on WHIO-TV.
Hansgen said Sweeney shined when he was behind a DJ microphone.
“He was one of the wittiest DJs I knew,” Hansgen said. “It really came across on air, but he was shy in public. The real Bob is what you heard on the air. The warm, quick witted guy, that’s the Bob I knew.”
After a five stint at WVUD-FM, Sweeney landed at Mix 107.7.
He became the morning show host in 1993 and co-host with Kristi Leigh.
WHIO Radio’s Chris Collins worked with Sweeney about eight years at Mix 107.7.
He said Sweeney considered listeners friends.
“He was always so very witty, very funny, very intelligent,” Collins said. “He cared about his listeners.”
Leigh co-hosted with Sweeney until he moved to Smooth Jazz 106.5 in 2005. She called him an amazing person.
“He’s the funniest person I ever met, witty and so, so smart. He taught me everything I know about radio. There are so many stories,” she said. “We had this chemistry where we would make fun of each other and people loved it.”
She recalled how she and Sweeney took listeners on trips to Mexico.
“People loved being around Bob,” she added.
MIX 107.7’s Rick LaBeau said Sweeney had the “gift for gab.”
“He could just talk and talk,” LaBeau said. “He was definitely a legend in Dayton radio. What a great voice.”
Theresa Gasper of Full Circle Development got to know Stotler and Sweeney after selling a South Park home to them in 2008. She sold them a second one a year later after the first proved too small.
“I’ve been their chief cook and bottle washer,” Gasper said. “They are a riot. These guys are so much fun to hang out with. I am going to miss (Bob’s) personality, sarcasm and wit. You never knew what he was going say.”
There will be no funeral service for Sweeney.
Gasper said she and Stotler will eventually scatter his ashes on a beach.
She said she will cherish the time they had together.
“They always acted like they were such a burden to me, they are an absolute joy,” Gasper said.
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