Monday, December 31, 2012

R.I.P.: Radio Personality Jon ‘Rock’n’Roll Anthony Dies

Radio veteran Jon Anthony has died.  He passed-away Saturday at his home in Brandon, FL.  He had been battling illness for quite sometime.

He was 57.

Anthony orginally got his start at WDAL in Meridian, MS in 1973 and had many career stops, including WSGN [Birmingham] 1974, WOKY [Milwaukee] 1975, WMPS [Memphis] 1976, WWKX [Nashville] 1978, WAVA [Washington, DC] 1983, WZOU [Boston] 1984, WRBQ-FM [Tampa] 1985, WFLZ [Tampa] 1989, WRBQ-FM [Tampa] 1994, WFLZ [Tampa] 1998, (Voicetracking) KLOU [St. Louis] 2002, Cool 105.7 [Atlanta] 2004.

He was also Production Director at WFLZ-FM "933 FLZ" and News-Talk 970 WFLA Tampa from 2000-2003 and recently owned and operated Jon Anthony Productions, Tampa, Florida.

In an interview in 2009 with the Tampa Tribune, Anthony talked about his collection of photos with music artists.

"If my house were to catch on fire, I would grab my wife, my son and that picture of Michael Jackson, and we would hit the door," Anthony said. "That's how big that picture is to me."

Anthony had lunch with Jackson in 1981. He spent an hour and a half with the pop star, who was cutting tracks for the album "Thriller" at a Nashville studio next door.

He met Jackson after he was called over by a record executive pal who noticed Jackson outside the studio. The two men approached Jackson and asked him if he'd like to join them for lunch in the record exec's office.

Anthony calls it an experience he will never forget. He says the three of them ordered sub sandwiches and talked about everyday topics like sports and the weather. They were trying to steer away from subjects like celebrity that might make Jackson feel uncomfortable.

"I could not believe how friendly he was, how nice he was, and how relaxed he was, "Anthony said. "It was almost like he had escaped out of that world that he was so used to and got to come into the real world with some real people and eat a sub sandwich."

The photo of Anthony and Jackson was snapped before their lunch. "I didn't realize I was going to be having my picture made with one of the biggest entertainers in the world!"


  1. We have now posted a correct photo of Jon Anthony. We used the wrong photo in the original posting and regret the error.

  2. Is this the Guy That broadcasted to Europe on Laser back in the 80's ???

  3. No, but the Laser Hot Hits DJ, John 'Rock n Roll' Anthony, real name Jeff Leonardi also died in 2014 aged just 50

  4. Jon also worked at KGGO, Des Moines. He allowed a young high school kid to sit in on his show. I will never forget that. He was a great talent.

  5. Jon allowed a young high school kid to sit in on his show at KGGO - Des Moines. What a memory and talent.

  6. Jon (Tommy Tuggle) and I were roommates in 1973 after we graduated Woodlawn high school in Birmingham. We both got a gig at WERC Rock in Birmingham. Radio was Tommys life. When we were off the air we were listening to airchecks. It was a great year.
    What a lot of folks don't know is that Tommy was a great athlete and could have gone to college on a scholarship. He was one of the best field goal kickers I've known. His heart was in radio though and graduation night from high school we were both on the air working. Tommy couldn't wait to start his adult life as Jon "Rock and Roll" Anthony. He was a perfectionist and every record intro had to be perfect. He lived and worked his dream. A Rare life but he never forgot he was just Tommy from Alabama. He was always amazed he got to meet and know so many celebrities. But he never wanted to be anyone other than Jon"Rock and Roll" Anthony professionally. He stayed with it to the end. Tommy would always tell me that radio was the bottom of the entertainment bowl and that he intended on keeping Jon Anthony at the top of the bottom of the bowl. I am proud of him for making it to the top and staying there. He was a legend of high energy delivery radio. I still listen to his airchecks from time to time. He was an aircheck production genius. Wherever he is now I'm sure there is a microphone in his hand.

  7. He was nice guy...we grew up in same neighborhood.HATED TO HEAR OF HIS DEATH.