A beloved and longtime voice at Colorado Public Radio is now silent. Classical and news host Bob Lafley has died of cancer at age 74.
When you heard Lafley speak, it was hard to imagine him in any line of work other than radio. His deep voice, warm presence and knack for storytelling drew listeners in.
"His very calm, smooth, soothing demeanor on the radio was exactly the same in real life," said Sean Nethery, CPR's senior vice president of programming.
After serving in the military during the Vietnam War, Lafley moved to Denver and began his radio career in 1969. In his CPR biography, he wrote that his passion for the microphone came from growing up without what is now the dominant form of media.
"I vividly remember the time before television, when radio was king. The whole universe of news and entertainment came into homes through large wooden radio sets. Even with the advent of television, nothing was as cool, or meaningful, as the transistor radio I got from Dad one Christmas."Bob Lafley
Lafley loved music and he always shared that love with listeners and colleagues. He'd roam around the CPR office and offer music recommendations — whether it was a moving classical work or a new album from a local rock band.
He was one of a few people who would be in the building before dawn alongside a small crew of news reporters and editors and a few technical producers. CPR Classical program director Monika Vischer would see him dig through crates of albums every day early in the morning.
"Radio is an art," Vischer said. "Bob was a radio artist. He was able to internalize the music and articulate the beauty of it."
A tribute to Bob Lafley will be broadcast on Jan. 29 during Colorado Matters at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. CPR Classical will also share remembrances on air.
Bob's family has requested that any donations in his memory be sent to Colorado Public Radio.