Tuesday, May 10, 2022

R.I.P.: Grim Reaper, Controversial St. Louis Talk Personality

Bob Romanik
Robert “Bob” Romanik — former police chief, convicted felon and self-billed “Grim Reaper of Radio” — has signed off.

KPVI-TV reports he died at 11:17 a.m. Saturday at his home in the Belleville area, said St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr. He was 72.

Romanik had been fighting cancer for a long time and had been in hospice care, several sources said.

Once a central figure in Metro East corruption and organized crime allegations, Romanik had most recently generated numerous headlines and complaints in the past several years through his operation of four radio stations.

Using the Grim Reaper moniker on one of the stations, KQQZ1190 AM in Fairview Heights, Romanik hosted a show titled “Kool Killer Kountry.”

He was consistently lambasted for making racist, homophobic and misogynistic slurs while on the air.

Before getting into the broadcasting business, Romanik made a career in local Illinois law enforcement.

He was chief of police in Valmeyer from 1979 to 1981, when he was fired and later charged in Monroe County with forgery in connection with overtime pay claims. Those charges were later dismissed.

In 1984, he was hired as Washington Park’s police chief, was demoted to patrolman in 1986 and then fired. He was hired back as chief in 1989.

In 1997, he was placed on probation after pleading guilty to lying to a grand jury. The charges were connected to a federal investigation into a video gambling ring.

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