Former WBOI host and longtime station volunteer Doug Gruber died Wednesday at the age of 77 after battling complications from several illnesses.
Gruber's distinctive voice helped shape the organization’s musical footprint and overall sound for nearly two decades.
He started as a classical music host for WBNI, but his passion for the likes of Dave Brubeck and others eventually led him to become WBOI’s jazz coordinator and host of the Saturday program “All That Jazz.”
Gruber was a consummate radio professional, first spinning records as a student at Purdue University in the late 1950s. He later joined Fort Wayne’s WOWO as a mobile news reporter in the 1960s.
Though he left to take what he called “a real job” in telecommunications in 1967, he returned to Fort Wayne’s airwaves with WBNI in the 1990s.
Gruber was a lifetime sports fan, and on top of his music duties, he also provided regular reports from Tincaps, Komets and Mad Ants games for WBOI News.
In recent years, his health suffered, causing him to step down from all of his duties at the station in January to spend more time at home. He was recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Northeast Indiana Public Radio's President and General Manager, Peter Dominowski, says Gruber's impact on the station and region is too large to quantify.
“Doug’s passing has caused us all to reflect on the incredible amount of service that he provided to the community through his work on 89.1 WBOI and Classical 94.1 WBNI," Dominowski said. "Whether it was announcing jazz or classical music, reporting on sports or lending his marvelous voice to promotional and informational messages, Doug was always there and eager to help."
According to the Gruber family, no public services are planned at this time.