Simonson for the suggestion of remembering our radio friends who
have passed on.
We'll include our own articles as well as obituaries.
Dick Camnitz aka Dick Shane reports the passing of an Orlando radio legend. Bill Vermillion known as "the weird beard" on WLOF-AM 950 has lost his 2 year battle with Cancer. Bill requested no formal funeral or memorial service but there most likely will be a celebration of his life at some later date. Stay tuned for details as they become available.
Longtime Orlando Radio Giant William Joseph Vermillion Jr. dies of cancer at 71
Rich McKay Sentinel Staff Writer May 27, 2008
Before the homogenization of radio, it was the voice of "The Weird Beard" who ruled Orlando's airwaves with rapid-fire banter, free-style record selections and a zaniness that has all but been sterilized out of existence. The voice of Weird Beard, a '60s- and '70s-era disc jockey for WLOF AM -- fell silent a little after 1 p.m. Saturday when he succumbed to a long fight with intestinal cancer, his son said. Vermillion was 71. "The chemotherapy had just worn him out," his son, William Fred Vermillion, said Monday from his Orlando home where a number of longtime friends and well-wishers gathered. There was no formal announcement and no funeral or service is planned, the younger Vermillion said, following his father's wishes. But news of the elder Vermillion's passing spread across Internet websites devoted to radio days of yesteryear. Steve Rutledge, whose late father John (Rutledge) once owned the Orlando station, said that Vermillion should be remembered not only for his on-air presence, which was a must-listen for young people wanting the Beatles and later Jimi Hendrix, but for his uncanny ability to pick tomorrow's top songs before anyone else. "He was known as 'B-side Bill' because he'd listen to the flip side of a record, not just the A-side that the record producers were promoting," said Rutledge, now of Memphis, Tenn. "He was truly a legend, nationally known, everybody and his brother knew Weird Beard," he said. Former colleague Lee Arnold, now of Milwaukee, said Vermillion is credited for putting Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" on the top-40 lists of the country back in 1967. After leaving the station before it was sold and automated in 1982, Vermillion became a recording engineer for BeeJay Recording Studio where he helped make albums for bands such as Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and Judas Priest. In addition to his son, the elder Vermillion is survived by his wife Bonnie Vermillion of Winter Park; his brother Robert J. Vermillion of Great Falls, Mont.; daughter-in-law Brenda Vermillion; grandson Christopher Vermillion; and granddaughter Anastajia Williams.
Rich McKay can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5470. Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel
Disc Jockey Dies In Crash
February 4, 2005 Orlando Sentinel
ORANGE COUNTY - A veteran disc jockey died Wednesday afternoon from injuries in a head-on crash east of Orlando. Michelin Villalobos' sport utility vehicle rammed a car about 12:56PM after he swerved across the center line into the southbound lane of Econlockhatchee Trail, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Villalobos, 78, hosted a program on Saturdays for radio station WONQ-AM 1140 in Casselberry. A Central Florida resident for about 20 years, he was well-known for his earlier radio career in Puerto Rico, grieving callers to the station said Thursday. An autopsy will determine if Villalobos suffered some sort of medical emergency in the moments before the crash, said Trooper Kim Miller, an FHP spokeswoman. The driver and two passenger in the southbound car were treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center and Florida Hospital East with less-severe injuries, the FHP said.