Death leaves Forever tears flowing
Tears flowed as the tributes poured in Monday morning as radio station Froggy 98 celebrated the life of Steve “Frogman” Kelsey.
“We are all sad, but we are here,” longtime friend and co-worker Jay Randyll said. “If it were the other way, he would shed tears for us, put his head set on and go to work.
“We can honor him by doing what we do. Radio never takes a holiday.”
Kelsey – whose real name was Rob Terdiman – died Sunday after suffering a stroke on Friday. He was 56.
Kellie Green and Donna Himes hosted a four-hour tribute to Kelsey on Monday morning, which drew continuous calls.
“If there were more people like Steve Kelsey, the world would be a better place,”caller Larry McKee said.
“We couldn’t do a normal morning show. We provide an upbeat show, and that wouldn’t have worked today,” said Himes, Forever Broadcasting operations manager and Froggy 98 program director. “Most people said they were sad, but they were willing to share their stories. Everyone talked about how he was always happy and nice. People felt like he was their friend even though they only talked to him on the phone.”
“It was what the listeners needed, and it was appreciated by his family. We had hundreds of calls and didn’t get to all of them,” said Green, Kelsey’s co-host on the “Froggy Family Breakfast Club” show. “They were mostly from people who are doing what we are doing – celebrating his life.”
Kelsey’s wife, Denise, along with son, Ryan Ickes, and daughter, Katie Walters, and her husband, Mike, joined Green and Himes in the studio.
“I thought it was appropriate that I come in,” Denise Terdiman said. “It was comforting to me. It is one big family, not only me and the kids lost a great man but Forever Broadcasting has lost a dear, dear friend.”
Co-workers were saddened by the passing of the popular Kelsey, who had been a morning host on Froggy 98 since its inception in 1991.
Hired by WFBG Radio in the mid-1970s, Kelsey enjoyed one of the longest consecutive radio tenures in local radio history.
“We are all saddened; we feel for his family. You don’t work in this business and not develop a bond,” said Dave Davies, Forever Broadcasting market general manager. “When a tragedy hit Steve Kelsey’s family, it hit the entire Forever family. There are a lot of tears flowing today.”
Randyll had worked with Kelsey for 35 years.
“He was one of my best friends. He was there when both of my kids were born and my parents died,” Randyll said. “On the air, I always wanted to be like him. He was my hero, my friend and brother. He was the most generous, unselfish, big-hearted person I ever met.
“He set the bar for all of us, how to handle himself in public to on-air personality, his love and dedication to the craft. He was the consummate professional at all times.”
Kelsey did a lot of things of which the community was not aware.
“Every year he would do the ‘Trick or Treat for Kids Who Can’t’ at the Becky Sheetz Center,” Randyll said. “He and Denise would fill hundreds of bags of candy for the disabled children.”
Rich DeLeo was the first newscaster to work with Kelsey on Froggy 98.
“His delivery and demeanor were as smooth as can be,” DeLeo said. “He was friendly and personable as you can imagine. He was a pillar of this facility and company. I can’t describe what it is like to not see him in the morning.”
Former co-workers Roger Corey and Dick DiAndrea also spoke highly of Kelsey.
“He was one of my best friends. He was wonderful, a great co-worker, friend, a great dad and husband,” Corey said.
DiAndrea hired Kelsey, a 1975 Altoona Area High School graduate, more than 40 years ago.
“He was so well-known and respected,” DiAndrea said. “He was a real wonderful person. He was a loving, caring person. He was like the linchpin and anchor of that radio station.
“There will never be another Steve Kelsey.”