Ross Gentile, Former WSIE DJ, Dead at 60

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Ross Gentile, known to St. Louis jazz fans for more than 15 years as the host of “Standards In Jazz" on WSIE (88.7 FM), has died. He was 60.

Gentile, a longtime resident of Glen Carbon, IL, reportedly had been in poor health for some time, and according to friends and published accounts, had been undergoing regular dialysis treatments. A report published on the website Berger's Beat says he died of a massive heart attack on Friday night at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.

In addition to being a familiar voice, Gentile (pictured) also was a familiar face to local jazz enthusiasts, often serving as master of ceremonies at live jazz shows in the area. He began at WSIE in 1993, and frequently incorporated recordings from and interviews with St. Louis jazz musicians into his program. For much of his time at WSIE, he was on the air seven days a week, broadcasting from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

His jobs before WSIE included work as a broadcaster for KSHE from 1970 to 1973, and in promotions for A&M Records.

Gentile was fired by WSIE in April 2009 as they began a series of cutbacks that eventually resulted in the elimination of all local on-air hosts. (The station since has returned to featuring local programming and hosts, though some of the voiceover work now is pre-recorded.) He subsequently sued Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, seeking to regain his old job and recover back wages and benefits. Though the filing of the suit was covered in local media such as the Edwardsville Intelligencer, no information about any resolution was ever made public.

After leaving WSIE, Gentile went on to host a jazz program on Saturday afternoons for KZQZ (1430 AM) and continued to attend, and sometimes MC, live jazz performances around the area.

Information about funeral services will be added to this post as soon it becomes available.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

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