Question: How many "chronics" showed up for Neil Rogers' memorial service Friday in Wilton Manors?
Answer: Quite a few.
If you are a Neil Rogers fan, you know what a "chronic" is.
If you weren't a fan, "chronic" was Neil's term for someone who called his show too often or a listener whose life revolved around the show.
Many of the stories on Neil following his death last Dec. 24 mentioned that he had no immediate family.
That's not entirely true.
Neil had a big family which was made up of the tens of thousands of listeners who tuned in daily to his show.
And I'm here to report that if Friday's turnout was any indication, many in Neil's extended family appear to be rejects from the King Mango Strut.
The crowd which numbered at least 200 - maybe more - filled up the main room at the Center for Spiritual Living in Wilton Manors.
The Sun-Sentinel's Tom Jicha - a long-time friend of Neil - filed this report on the service.
Neil Rogers' memorial service Friday played just like his radio program: raucous, bawdy and free-form.
The irony is the legendary talk-show host, who died Christmas Eve at 68, disdained events such as the one at the Center for Spiritual Living in Wilton Manors.
As his friend and attorney Norman Kent said, "Who else would have taken a week's worth of calls on whether he should go to his mother's funeral?" Rogers didn't go.
The memorial was a trip down memory lane for South Florida radio buffs. Rogers' long-time producer, Jorge Rodriguez, came with a video tribute. Rodriguez rebutted a favorite saying of Rogers' that South Florida is a bedroom town with no sense of community or cohesion. "Neil created cohesion."
Rick Shaw spoke fondly and eloquently of Rogers, who harangued him unmercifully for years until they finally met and became friends. "He turned out to be so kind and gentle. I was really surprised." Shaw said he didn't think "anyone could have brought this august group together except Neil."
Duff Lindsey, a program director at WQAM during Rogers' run there and now a DJ at WFLL, AM 1400, was taken aback at their first meeting by how quiet he was in a social setting. "Jorge did most of the talking."
Lindsey quickly learned Radio Neil was a different person. "You didn't program Neil. He programmed you." Lindsey dreaded the occasions when he would get a memo from upper management saying, "You have to talk to Neil about …"
Bob Green, a program director of WIOD when Rogers was there, recalled that he and Neil had a good relationship "most of the time."
WIOD of old also was represented by Teri Griffin, a news and traffic reporter at WIOD, "or I was until Wednesday," and Roger Magolin, who was the late Mike Reineri's producer for many years.
The shocker of the day was the appearance of Boca Brian, who produced the hundreds of brilliant musical bits that brightened the "Neil Rogers Show." Boca Brian is actually Boca Brittany.
Here are a few shots I made during the service.
|"Boca Brian" and the Miami Herald's Ellie Brecher|
|L to R, former WIOD program director Bob Green, Neil's producer Jorge Rodriguez and "Boca Brian"|
|Neil's friend and attorney Norman Kent|
|Attorney and friend Norman Kent eulogizes Neil|
|Neil's long-time producer Jorge Rodriguez speaks|
|L to R, the Sun-Sentinel's Tom Jicha, David Hine, friend of Neil for 25 years and Norman Kent watch a video tribute to Neil|
|The crowd at Neil's memorial reacts to the video tribute|
|L to R, long time Neil Rogers friend David Hine, attorney Norman Kent and Miami Herald reporter Steve Rothaus watch video tribute to Neil|
|Tribute to Neil included video clips|