By Joe Moskowitz
Roxbury is never going to sound the same again. The big booming voice of Bob Ackershoek has fallen silent.
Ackershoek died Friday, several days after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 62.
Ackershoek was vacationing in South Carolina when he was stricken. He had brought with him the things he loved most, Cassie Grabowski, his companion of more than 30 years, his golf clubs, and plenty of rock and roll music, undoubtedly some of it by “The Beach Boys.”
In his radio element
Bob was a big man with a big voice and when he wanted to be heard, anyone within earshot of Cassie’s Cafe might have heard him.
But then Roxbury’s WIOX Radio went on the air two years ago and a far-larger audience could hear him. One of them was Artie Martello, the station’s operations manager and host of “Mostly Folk.” On Monday, Artie’s show was dedicated to the memory of Bob Ackershoek.
Martello said Ackershoek was there every day, talking about new promos for the station, or about how to improve his golf swing, or upgrade his golf equipment. They didn’t always agree about music.
Martello said Ackershoek was “a rough, tough, creampuff.”
Joe Piasek, WIOX founder and general manager, credits Ackershoek with recruiting a large percentage of the station’s on-air hosts. Ackershoek hosted the station’s first show when it went on the air and Piasek called him the station’s, “Number one cheerleader.”
He used the word “unique” to describe Ackershoek’s personality, but both he and Martello said cited Ackershoek’s great passion about what he was doing for the station and the community.
Bob grew up in New Jersey listening to stations like WNEW-FM and its cast of legendary progressive rock DJs like Pete Fornatale. They became friends and not long before Fornatale died, he joined Ackershoek on the air during Bob’s “This is the Rock” program.
Another of Ackershoek’s “Radio Royalty” was Meg Griffin, one of rock radio’s first female stars and also Piasek’s ex wife. Each year around Christmas she would come to Roxbury to visit and do a show with Ackershoek. Griffin, who now works for Sirius-XM, was making arrangements for this year’s show when she got the call telling her that Ackershoek had died.
His passion was such that he had developed a following via the internet among DJs, big-name performers, and music fans around the world.
Bob won’t be forgotten anytime soon and a memorial service will be held after the holidays. By his wishes there will be no funeral or wake.