SYRACUSE — He worked as an on-air personality, a programmer, and even a station owner. We regret to pass along the news that Don DeRosa lost his battle to cancer yesterday. Former colleague Jeff Moulton tells us DeRosa passed at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon — while friends and former colleagues gathered in Syracuse for a benefit to help cover DeRosa’s medical bills. Updated 6/21 with calling hours and funeral information.
Update 6/21: According to an obituary published in today’s Syracuse Post-Standard, calling hours will be held Tuesday evening from 5 to 8 pm at Sears- Middleton-Jones Funeral Home, 209 North Main Street (Rte. 11) in North Syracuse. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am Wednesday at St. Rose of Lima Church, 409 S. Main Street, North Syracuse. Interment will be in St Mary’s Cemetery in Herkimer (Don was born in nearby Little Falls).
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Francis House, where Don had been receiving care until his passing on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier this month, Moulton told CNYRadio.com DeRosa was nicknamed “Emperor” DeRosa during his years as the morning host at WRUN in Utica. DeRosa was also the station’s program director. DeRosa also worked at WTLB in Utica, and Albany area stations WSNY and WPTR.
In the early 1980s, DeRosa was General Manager of WOSC 1300 and the former WKFM “Magic 104.7” (today known as B104.7/WBBS).
In 2002, DeRosa returned to Fulton and bought 1300AM for $300,000. Since DeRosa left WOSC in the 80s, it had been renamed WZZZ. DeRosa flipped the call letters to WAMF. A few months later, he flipped the format to country music and hosted mornings himself.
In 2003, DeRosa faced a setback when fire struck a Fulton shopping center, destroying the WAMF studios and two other businesses. (DeRosa was able to keep the station on-air from the transmitter site in Granby.) He eventually sold the station to Cram Communications, which turned the station into a Radio Disney affiliate.