Local radio force dies at 52
Drew Rashbaum, a longtime Tampa radio executive who conceived the idea for hip-hip radio station WLLD-FM (Wild 98.7), died Tuesday in California. He was 52. He was in San Francisco on a business trip when he experienced an aortic aneurysm, said his wife, Beth Rashbaum. He died after undergoing emergency surgery and suffering strokes and a herniated brain stem.
Mr. Rashbaum, who lived in Carrollwood, got his start in journalism and once wrote for the St. Petersburg Times. Later, he helped launch stations in Tampa Bay including WSJT-FM (Smooth Jazz 94.1) and WHPT-FM (The Point). In 1998, he noticed a void for hip-hop.
"He knew the radio market in Tampa really well," said Mrs. Rashbaum, 52. "He saw an opening for this kind of thing."
After a management shift in 1999, Mr. Rashbaum moved to Radio Disney, where he became vice president of marketing and sales, overseeing 42 of Disney's stations around the country.
"They called him the hurricane," said his wife. "He was swirling around doing five things at one time. He got ten times done what most people do in one day. He just worked so hard."
Mr. Rashbaum had three daughters, age 24, 20 and 12.
Services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at Congregation Schaarai Zedek, 3303 W. Swann Ave., Tampa. The family will receive visitors 45 minutes prior. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be made to USF Foundation Inc., memo line: Drew Rashbaum Memorial Scholarship Fund. USF-CAS Office of Development, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.
Stephanie Hayes, Times Staff Writer