FLORIDA: Pioneering Gay Talk Radio Host Neil Rogers Reportedly Near Death
The Miami Herald reports today that pioneering openly gay talk radio host Neil Rogers, 68, has been moved into hospice care after his doctors decided against heart surgery. Rogers suffered a heart attack and stroke last summer and retired from on-air work to launch a popular internet-based show.
Always caustic and controversial, Rogers (who was often characterized as "the gay Howard Stern") came out on the air during Anita Bryant's pogrom against gay schoolteachers in 1977. That unprecedented move only spurred his popularity and Rogers remained the top-rated local talk radio host in South Florida for the next three decades.
I'll admit that while my Miami co-workers adored him, I could never stand to listen to "Uncle Neil" because he was always screaming. But I'll also admit to being highly entertained by all the right wing attempts to silence him, from protests at the station to lawsuits. My favorite Neil Rogers story: He once announced that South Florida was being turned into a living graveyard by "alta kocker" New York retirees who did nothing but steal Sweet & Low at Denny's. At his next live appearance at a Dade County mall, dozens of old ladies showed up to throw Sweet & Low at him.