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Satellite Radio Pioneer Dean Spratt Has Passed Away
Dean Spratt, whose voice should be very familiar to longtime satellite TV and radio enthusiasts, died in hospital at Minneapolis, Minnesota, around 3pm Saturday, January 20, 2007, following complications from a massive stroke.
Dean's most recent gig (for more years than this writer can remember) was as a host on the WOKIE satellite radio network, with a Thursday night music program called Thursday Night Poupourri. I had a typical 35 minute satellite technical talk portion on this show, from 9:25 to 10pm Central time, where Dean and I would discuss anything satellite related, especially current news and events, and more often than not would stray into other topics (usually humorous and sometimes satellite-related). Anything to have some fun.
Dean Spratt was an underappreciated fixture in Twin Cities broadcast radio, until consolidation by greedy media companies forced him and others out of longtime on-the-air jobs. I first heard him via satellite when WCCO-AM 830 was carried on an audio subcarrier with the Minnesota predecessor to the regional Fox Sports network. He was primarily their traffic reporter, and did other broadcast duties. What amazed me about his skills on the air--was that Dean was blind. He was a master at ad-libbing, and was able to jump from a normal conversation in his home studio to doing a live on-the-air traffic report for Twin Cities radio stations, and do a very credible job despite his never seeing any of the streets and roads that he was reporting on. After consolidation at WCCO, Dean worked for Metro Traffic and other radio stints at smaller stations. Still more consolidation in the past two years forced him out of his last "day" job, and he was relegated to more or less pursuing a fulltime unpaid hobby as a satellite radio enthusiast. Dean had been dabbling in satellite radio for hobbyists as far back as 1993-1994, starting with a substitution for Gary Bourgois when he needed a week off from his Friday Night Live show. Subbing for Gary ended up into a fulltime weekly show on another network, where Dean got to play his own music and old radio shows for several hours a week, especially on Thursday nights. Though unpaid, you could tell that this was Dean's passion; broadcasting and music. It is a tragedy that he was taken from us at the young age of 54, and not given any paid opportunities to work in his normal profession in recent times. He will be thoroughly missed.
More information will be posted on the Global Communications website at
and I am certain there will be bulletins and tribute programs on WOKIE and other satellite radio ventures.
01-20-2007 08:23 PM