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MailTribune.com
  • Infection takes life of radio executive

    Bob Johnson owned four local stations
  • Bob Johnson was born into media broadcasting and carried a love for it until he died this week while vacationing with his family at Lake Shasta.
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  • Bob Johnson was born into media broadcasting and carried a love for it until he died this week while vacationing with his family at Lake Shasta.
    Johnson, 64, owned and operated four radio stations in the Rogue Valley, including KTMT and KCMX, and his father brought KTVL television to the area decades ago.
    Johnson was enjoying his yearly trip to the lake when he fell ill, according to his wife, Karen Johnson.
    He was admitted to a hospital in Redding, where he died Sept. 17. The cause of death was septic shock, a serious infection.
    "This was not expected," his wife said, adding family members still don't know how he contracted the infection.
    Johnson was a longtime fixture in Rogue Valley radio, having brought one of the first rock 'n' roll stations to the area in the 1980s, his wife said.
    He also owned and operated sports and talk radio stations. However, his heart was always geared toward rock.
    "He was rock 'n' roll all the way," Karen Johnson said.
    Bob Johnson sold his four radio stations in 1994 and then kicked off an eventful retirement, his family said.
    "We spent time at Lake Shasta and traveled," his wife said. "We rode around on a side-by-side. He was very active."
    Johnson was a lifelong Rogue Valley resident who left twice to study journalism at the University of Oregon and spend a stint in the Army. He was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War, his family said.
    He had a deep passion for Oregon Ducks football, his family said.
    "He always said he was a Ducks fan before it was cool," Karen Johnson said.
    His other interest was collecting old phonograph records. His Central Point home was like a museum for old-school broadcasting, his family said.
    "He was always interested in the history of recorded sound," Karen Johnson said.
    In addition to his work in radio, Bob Johnson served on the Jackson County Fair Board. He was on the board when the amphitheater was built. It was something he was very proud of, his wife said.
    He was a longtime member of the Medford Rotary Club.
    Johnson is survived by his two daughters and a son and his brother and sister.
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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