Why We All Should Miss Neil Rogers


There was a time decades ago when I was on Neil Rogers’ hit list.

In his signature style, I was eviscerated time and again on his ubiquitous talk radio show.

All because I wrote something Neil didn’t like.but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Neil Rogers’ pending death — he’s in hospice, which is almost always a one-way trip —  is an afterthought.

The medium he dominated for decades Miami’s local radio has been dead for a decade.

Once a vibrant forum for news and views, local talk radio killed by huge corporations like Clear Channel.  They found it cheaper to broadcast syndicated shows than to service their communities.

For those of you not old enough to remember, I can’t emphasize enough how much impact Neil Rogers had on South Florida in his prime.

I worked in Miami in the1980s and early 1990s when Neil was on everybody’s lips.

I never arrived at a news scene or attended a press conference where the reporters weren’t talking about what Neil was saying that day. Stopped at traffic lights, you could hear Neil’s voice booming out of the windows of cars.

Neil was everywhere.

Oh, there were others:  Steve Kane, Al Rantel, Greg Budell, Bill Tanner “In the Morning,  Footy.

There was only one Neil.

Caustic and combative. Openly gay at a time when that was far from common.  A major liberal and champion of the First Amendment in a town becoming more and more conservative.

Neil said what everybody wished they could say.

He openly and loudly attacked his radio bosses.  He lacerated the president and the governor.  He browbeat senior citizens in Hallandale that stole Sweet ‘N Low from restaurants.

And he took me on.

It wasn’t much of a fight.  A lightweight, me, against South Florida’s media heavyweight.

The problem was that I wrote about Neil’s arrest for exposure in a Miami Beach porno theater.   He didn’t like that.

Another problem was that I wrote there was a group of pedophiles working in South Florida radio.   The story was based on police evidence. Several got arrested for drugs and at least one pleaded guilty as I recall.

A third problem was when I wrote that Neil seldom voted.

Neil was a great target.  He was a local celebrity. Every story I did about him got great play.

I paid the price.  I became his sometimes punching bag.

He made fun of my name. He made fun of my height.  He ripped into what I wrote.

The truth is that I loved Neil’s show.  He enriched South Florida and his departure left the radio dial largely sterilewith the exception of sports talk.

I listen to satellite radio now.

Neil was a deeply flawed individual.  I met him several times and was on his show once.  He reminded me more of a quiet Jewish haberdasher than a powerful media figure.  He seemed a very lonely man.

But put a microphone in front of him, and he changed.  He blossomed into a bombastic terror. He was immensely talented.  More important, he was immensely entertaining.

When he left the air, South Florida lost an important voice.

I’m very sad today.  That voice will never return.

24 Responses to “Why We All Should Miss Neil Rogers”

  1. doy doy doy says:

    wow, buddy, this is the best thing you’ve written in ages.

  2. Buddy says:

    With some factual adjustment this could easily have been your own epitaph. You two are basically the same guy.


    I am nothing like Neil Rogers, except we both had opinions and the ability to spread those opinions to a larger audience.

  3. ontheequator says:

    Once a douche bag is not necessarily a douche bag for life.

  4. Senator John Blutarsky says:

    “You sir, are correct.”

  5. Sally says:

    You missed one: Stan Major.
    Did you know that Kane is still on the radio.

    FROM BUDDY: Yes, Kane has a morning show on 1470 AM.

  6. WellDone says:

    Very well written Buddy. I hope Neil Rogers gets to read it. (Many times – at least about 30, man.) And I agree with a general point from the other “Buddy” posted above – I’m afraid some (certainly very many) years from now, if things keep going the way they are, we’ll be wondering where all the real professional journalists and reporters like yourself have gone.

  7. Ray says:

    Here’s what made Neil special: He was wrong about virtually everything that ever came out of his mouth. And yet, you just couldn’t stop listening. He was THAT entertaining. That being said, he got off the air just in time. His show had deteriorated into a burping and farting festival. But for a very long time, he WAS Miami radio.

  8. S only says:

    Buddy at his best—you can really write man! I remember listening to him even though I didn’t much agree with him. He was a scream! And said some crazy things to get people to THINK!

  9. where is my Wunda-mug says:

    About 20 years ago I met a talk show host named John Broward at an event called “talk mania” in Miami. I was addicted to AM talk in those days. At one point a middle aged fat guy walked by and John introduced me to Neil Rodgers. Neil was a very down to earth nice guy. However, five minutes later he had a head set on a was a totally different person. I had never seen two sides pf a person which were so completely different.
    I do think that Neil was much more entertaining and valuable to the community when he did issue oriented talk with guests before he went to the shock format.
    The BEST work Neil did? Play-by-play for Hurricane baseball. The absolute best baseball play-by-play the I ever heard.
    I will miss the old format Neil, not the shock Neil.

  10. Bob says:

    Neil – god!

  11. Tommy DuLaurant says:

    As a long time listeners who misses him dearly, I found nobody place to go after Neil retired. Joyce Kaufman. A joke?
    Any suggestions?

    I listen to Sirius/XM, but it costs money every month. Its the best, though!
    If you like sports, 790 AM has some good entertaining shows.
    Veteran broadcaster Steve Kane does political talk on 1470 AM from 7-9 a.m.

  12. Mike says:

    Neil was a legend! My father turned me on to Neil in the early 90’s and I followed his show until the end. Neil made you love radio and sadly there is nothing like that anymore in South Florida. The only radio experience is now on Sirius or believe it or not the BBC. When Neil left I felt like I lost a family member and my thoughts are with him.

    Just in case Neil does see this, Neil I saw the ILUVHERBSTREIT guy in a bar and he swore he was hanging out with you in Toronto.

    Love you Buddy!

  13. Bob Manning says:

    Neil inspired me to become a talker. For many years, he served as mentor, friend, foil and even took a few of my losers when I was PD of a Palm Beach station. (Remember “O-KAAAAYYYY!”? Yeah. That guy. Anyway, I have spent 32 years in radio, and at least 25 of them have been the direct result of Neil’s teachings. There’s a void in radio in South Florida. I miss secretly running into my office and tuning him in every day and chuckling just quietly enough that my staff did not notice. OY!

  14. Neil Bomb'd says:

    I’m a big fan of Neil Rogers, yet have always lived in Northern Ireland. A UK talk radio host called Nick Abbot was influenced by him in the early 90’s, and brought a more American style of radio over to these shores. It couldn’t last. It didn’t last. Nick would constantly sing the praises of Neil Rogers, and still does to this day, graciously acknowledging the influence he had on his own style.

    So I went and checked him out, as Nick was the most compelling host I’d ever heard. Neil Rogers was, of course, a revelation. I only wish there was more archive material available, as it’s always been very difficult to get hold of classic Neil, but I used to log onto the WQAM site in the early days of the internet, and tape record that crappy RealAudio stream. Then I’d play those tapes over and over, until I slowly began to understand all the local references, grew familiar with the drops, and learnt all the in-jokes and characters. I can’t tell you how bad the audio quality was, especially when converted to tape, and how Neil sounded like a completely different person to me when they finally upgraded to mp3.

    I remember hearing Neil going over the whole WAMI saga, and wishing I could see those shows. Now, some years later, I can, thanks to YouTube. It’s gold, all of it. Precious, wonderful talk radio.

    Neil drips with passion and vigour. I adore displays of skill, particularly when expressed in sort of nerdy, creative ways, and Neil’s use of drops is just extraordinary. The way he weaves them into the fabric of the conversation, with them never being intrusive or unfunny…just magical.

    For some reason – and it’s probably a failing in my personality – I do find bluntness really funny. The caustic, abrasive on-air persona of Neil Rogers thrilled me in this regard. It just rips up all the rules, something Neil was always keen on doing in general. Man, was he funny on the air. Lightning quick. No fear or favour. Just amazing.

    I was also stunned at the periods where he had stopped begging for callers, and would just actively turn them away. He could hold a whole show on his own, or with Jorge, and it would still be utterly compelling.

    Just the greatest talk radio talent the medium has ever known. Count your blessings, South Florida, because nowhere else ever had anyone quite like Uncle Neil.

    “Neil God!”

  15. Lynn says:

    I have been very sad about this news. I followed Neil as one of his “female” viewers since the KAZ days – he was a brilliant, quick wit in an otherwise dead town – I hope that he knows how many thousands of fans he has who wish him the best – he deserves to know that he does in fact, have “family.”

  16. Wayne Arnold says:

    Neil Rogers put Arnold’s Royal Castle on the map by doing live spots for us in the 80’s, 90’s and the early 2000’s. His was a powerful voice on radio because if he didn’t like the product you where selling he would not do the ad. He liked our “castleburgers” and later we named the “Neily Bacon Cheese Burger” for him. And, in the mid ninties he suggested that I start selling the Rochester White and Red Hots. (A Brutwurst type hot dog made with beef, veal, and pork.) I developed a great Italian Meat Sauce with grilled onions which Neil loved. And, Mr. Nevins for months since Neil retired every day his fans show up and talk about Neil and the bits he played and the way he made us laugh. This man has touched thousands of lives in South Florida through the Neil Roger’s Show. He was and still is the greatest. God speed to you Neil!

  17. Jay says:

    Tommy, Neil’s co-host Jorge Rodriguez has an internet radio station called sofloradio.com. His shows are on M-W-F at Noon, and all of the shows are posted for download. Boca Brian and a cast of thousands do the show with him. It’s free of FCC interference and it’s quite good. Jorge and Boca have been playing some great old material the last few shows in tribute to Neil and Jorge is keeping the audience posted on Neil’s status.

  18. Annamaria says:

    1st-well stated Buddy! Neil Rogers should be respected as the Godfather of “shock” radio, with his brash yet real comments he paved the way and inspired many in and out of the business.
    As Jorge once told me, Neil had about an inch in the back of his head that served as a blind spot, all else that he could see, hear or taste, he shot his verbal rubber bullets at. But remember, it’s just a radio show that you couldn’t shut off from 10 to 2!
    I was a great fan and idolized him only to find my first “on air” radio position as traffic reporter on his show….need I say more?
    Those days at the Wonderful Isle of Delusions were wonderfully entertaining!
    I hate long goodbyes so with much saddness and a smile, a good healthy burp and fart, goodbye.
    NOBODY will ever rip South Florida like NEIL……GOD!!

  19. A Fight Over Neil Rogers’ $$$??? : BrowardBeat.com says:

    […] Here is my earlier tribute to Rogers. […]

  20. Rich says:

    Yes, Neil was a flawed individual. Isn’t everyone? No one cared that he was gay. It was the job he did on the air that attracted listeners.

    I certainly don’t agree with some of the things Neil was accused of, but he was a great broadcaster.

  21. cary says:

    Really miss uncle Neil, listened daily from 2003 onwards after listening to him on holidays. Nothing comes close to the kind of entertainment Neil dished out. im trying to find old archives of the show and there is nothing online. Does anyone have the old shows taped?

  22. Neil Rogers Fan says:

    It has been almost a year and i still find myself having to find a voice of reason in an insane world. There were many recent critical thinkers that have passed before Neil did, such as George Carlin. However, i took Neil for granted as most people did with his wit and quick humor. Regardless of what anyone’s personal beliefs were, he gave me and most people i know a reason to think. I still listen to old shows and even the Jorge Rodriguez show to remind myself that even in strange and unusual times, a local legend changed the way I view the world forever. I had never read this column before until today and I am glad people still remember greatness.

  23. nora leonardo says:

    I just miss him so much. I never listened to talk radio until I put his channel on by mistake and four hours and many many years later I could not get enought of Neil Rogers He was smart,funny,and I loved him.
    Good bye sweet prince you will be so missed. nora

  24. Saul T. Bawls says:

    Miss him. I was 15 when I first heard Neil on WNWS. After my father, the most influential man in my life. My 8 year old constantly says Doy Doy Doy. He lives on through that.