Saturday, August 28, 2021

R.I.P.: COVID Claims Marc Bernier, Daytona Beach Talker

Marc Bernier, a talk radio host in Daytona Beach for 30 years, died after a three-week battle with COVID-19, WNDB and Southern Stone Communications announced Saturday night.

He was 65 according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Bernier has been remembered in recent days as a conservative who sought out and aired others' points of view while airing a morning comment, three-hour afternoon show, weekend shows and specials, such as remote town halls and political debates. He interviewed countless governors, senators, mayors, sheriffs, journalists, historians and authors. He also was an outspoken opponent of vaccinations. 

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, a longtime guest on Marc Bernier's WNDB radio show, said a representative of the station confirmed to him that Bernier died Saturday night sometime after 6 p.m.

"I'm numb," Chitwood said. "To me, this is a death in the family."

Chitwood said he had appeared regularly on Bernier's show for the last 15 years, first as Daytona Beach police chief and then as sheriff. He said the two didn't always agree on everything, but that never got in the way of their friendship. 

Jim Rose, a retired attorney who hosted his own weekly show on WNDB for 15 years and was an occasional guest on Bernier's "Volusianaries" segment, recalled Bernier as a good interviewer who made guests feel at ease.

"God, that's a terrible loss to the community," Rose said Saturday night.

Justin Gates, a vice president at Sports Network International in Ormond Beach, said he first met Bernier when the radio host, a native of Rhode Island, was new in the Daytona Beach area some 30 years ago.

Gates was a listener who called in a couple of times and found himself getting a beer with Bernier. He ended up as best man at Bernier's wedding.

They co-hosted the "Weekend Around the House" show for a time, and last December they reunited for a Saturday morning show where they bounced around to a wide range of topics and banter. Both are conservatives, but found themselves disagreeing on some issues.

"He gives all sides," Gates said. "He's not going to bully and throw punches or do potshots or do things for ratings. That's why he's so popular."

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