MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some sad news this morning: a legend from WCCO Radio has passed away.
Roger Erickson died on Monday at the age of 89 years old.
It wasn’t long before he joined with Charlie Boone to form a legendary early-morning team that woke up Minnesota for 37 years, believed to be the country’s longest-running radio team at the same station.
WATCH: Esme Murphy’s 2015 Interview With Erickson On Passing Of Boone
Erickson grew up on his family farm in Winthrop, and never forgot his roots, mentioning his hometown frequently. He studied speech and theatre at the University of Minnesota, and also served two years in the Army. He and Charlie began chatting and trading jokes on the air in the afternoon, and were paired in 1961 for early mornings.
The lasting memory many Minnesotans have of Erickson are those snowy winter mornings, waiting to hear if he said their school was closed for the day. He took pride in his writings that made their way onto these airwaves — none more popular than Minnesota Hospital. Roger reprised his role of Doctor Gil Whitney at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair. It was Roger’s last appearance here on WCCO.
Boone and Erickson partnership came to an end in 1998 when Erickson decided to retire from the airwaves, but remained active in various community activities and events.
Following his passing, Erickson remains one of WCCO’s legends. Charlie Boone died in November of 2015.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar honored Erickson in this statement, which she released Tuesday afternoon:
Roger Erickson cemented his legacy as a pioneer in Minnesota broadcasting over nearly four decades on the air. He was a friend of my dad’s and I have early memories of the two of them ribbing each other over the airwaves.
He taught generations of future radio hosts how to take their jobs seriously without taking themselves too seriously and always helped his listeners start their day on the right note – especially the kids who came to rely on Roger for breaking news about school closings on snowy winter mornings.
I also have vivid memories of waiting by the radio as Roger – the voice of Minnesota winters – listed the school closings one by one. My district was Wayzata so I would wait with much anticipation as Roger waded through the school names until he finally got to Wayzata at the end of the alphabet. Happy memories!