HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – John O’Leary had a career in Detroit radio that spanned nearly 40 years.
From his start at WWWW, he landed at almost all of Detroit’s top stations.
“He was good enough to go from station to station, to CSX to W4. He built a reputation in this market as just a great lover of Detroit music and a Detroit personality,” former Detroit News TV and Radio columnist Jim McFarlin said.
O’Leary was one of the original air aces at WABX.
“He was just a guy who loved the music passionately,” radio historian Art Vuolo said. “He was on the ground floor of what they used to call underground radio, progressive rock radio.”
O’Leary’s long tenure meant he knew just about everybody in the business, which is why the Detroit radio community is reeling from his death.
It’s an unfathomable end for a man who was universally liked.
“He was very low-key,” Vuolo said. “He didn’t get in the way, he was not what they call in the business -- and believe me I know lots of people that are high maintenance. He was not high maintenance and that’s what made him so popular.”
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