I just heard the news that 97.7 HTZ FM’s Iron Mike Bensson died of cancer this morning. He was 60, which I never would have guessed.
I’m shocked. Not shocked that he had cancer, but shocked that it took him. Shocked and sad. He put up a hell of a fight against it, from the sounds of it. After leaving last year for surgery and treatment that cost him nearly 3 quarters of his stomach and about 40% of his esophagus, he was back on the air after just 6 weeks. That’s insane. But he left again for summer vacation at the end of this July and never made it back.
Whenever certain radio or TV people retire or die, I almost always say something about how strange it’ll be not to hear that old familiar voice anymore. That’s true with Iron Mike, but what I’ll miss most about him isn’t so much the voice, but how much fun he made radio sound. Whether it was the Teaser (which could be a pretty damn hard contest sometimes) and all his little insults (that’s not it, meat curtains), the Classified Information prank calls, the funny songs, the fake announcements he’d slip in at the end of the concert listings (and don’t miss Franky Fruitbottom and the Douche Lords at the Fuzzy Knuckle) or just the ridiculous things he’d say on the air that you just didn’t hear in most places, there was always a reason to look forward to tuning into his shows every day.
I know they used to call CFNY the spirit of radio, but for my money, you won’t find many others who brought as much spirit to radio as Iron Mike Bensson did. We all lost a great one today.