I have been alternately smiling and tearing up while reading all of your thoughtful comments and posts. I am so sorry for the delay in approving them to the site. Pete's family has been quite moved by the outpouring of affection and love for Pete and his work.  And rest assured that many of the people close to Pete are making sure that his work and legacy continues.


Hello Everyone,

Sad news today.

Pete Fornatale, a legend in New York and one of the originators of progressive FM radio, has left us.

To those of you who knew Pete but were unaware of his passing, I am sorry to bear such news.  For those of you who never had the chance to meet Pete, or were unaware of what he meant to so many radio listeners ... or of his significance in my life ...  I am sadder still that you will not have the pleasure to know him.

Right now, his friends and family are asking for prayers and positive energy from everyone who knows Pete, and from those whose lives were ever touched by his words or the music he played for them in the 40+ years that he has been on the air in New York and on Sirius/XM. Peter deserves the most graceful of transitions.

Over the course of the past six years, Pete Fornatale became a dear friend to me. He also became my 'business' associate, though developing and presenting our programs together could never have been called 'work'.  He got my jokes ... all of them ... even the most intensely geeky music-related ones.  And those of you on this list who know me well all realize that this made Pete 'a member of the gang'.  And he was.  Those of you who met Pete during our own version of the 'never-ending tour' picked up on that right away. He was also, truly,  'one of the good ones'. And every person who I watched meet Pete during the course of our travels walked away thinking the same thing: "Wow, he's the same nice guy in person that he is on the radio!"

Pete holds a unique place in my life. He is someone who has inspired me since my childhood. He was a voice on the radio that was seemingly ever-present.  I remember my sister's 'hippie' friends grooving to the words he said, and to the music that Pete and his fellow jocks played in the early days of WNEW when I was a small child in the Bronx.  Going forward, I also remember how Pete and his station-mates were there to comfort a grieving generation of New Yorkers when we lost John Lennon on that horrible night over thirty years ago. (And who knew that he left the station each night - or K-Rock each afternoon - to come back to the same town I lived in? In fact, some of the friends I grew up with who are reading this probably knew Pete, or members of his family, and may not have realized who he was at the time!)

Pete Fornatale was one of the radio personalities who, along with the likes of Denis McNamara, Harry Harrison, Dan Ingram, Bruce Morrow and Dennis Elsas, inspired me to pursue a degree in Broadcasting. That decision shaped many aspects of my life that would follow ... and for that I am grateful. Pete continues to inspire me.  He always will.  We had things left undone. And I am going to move forward on a number of those things, carrying with me the energy borne of the trust and confidence that Pete placed in our ideas, and in how we approached achieving our goals. It won't be the same in any way.  But it will, I believe, be a help to me, and to the many friends - those he knew personally and those who he never met - who will miss him.

After many, many years, the Beach Boys - one of Pete Fornatale's all-time favorite groups - have reunited and recorded a new album. The lead-off single is called "That's Why God Made The Radio".  Pete didn't have the chance to hear that new single while he was still here and fully aware.  But somewhere he is smiling.  Pete is one of the people who made it quite clear to us ... time and time again ... just exactly why God made the radio. To spread music, warmth, humor and love.

In the spirit of Peace, Love and Music to you all ...

Tony Traguardo


04/26/2012 11:37pm

Pete was the reason I fell in love with radio. I loved listening to him on WNEW and then again on WFUV. He was that soothing voice of my teenage years and a welcoming home when I returned to NYC after many years on the West Coast. I will miss him very much. Thanks for all the music Pete!

04/27/2012 12:46am

Listened to him as a kid going up in NJ on NEW. He was a class act. Sorry to hear of his passing. My prayers go out to his family.

Ed (Fordham '72) in Corvallis, Oregon
04/27/2012 12:50am

Pete's voice and the music he played on WNEW-FM weekday afternoons transported me through themes and connections that are a part of me still. And how fortunate I was five years ago, back in my home state, to reconnect with Pete on WFUV's "Mixed Bag." The music and the love and the peace flowed again. What a gift the man had -- what an artist, unique in the true sense of the word.

I'm treasuring my four e-mail correspondences with Pete from 2009. In March he had just returned from his hiatus and shared emotions and thoughts so deeply yet subtly. In May I sent him a Teagarden & Van Winkle poster he had wondered about. In July both learned about the next blue moon (and he asked if I could help promote "Back to the Garden" in Oregon.) And a week later he thanked me for arranging a phone interview with KINK-FM in Portland.

Today God completed his trilogy: "That's Why God Made the Radio," "God Bless Rock and Roll," and now, "Pete Fornatale." It all fits an interconnecting theme, friend. You'll always be on the airwaves.

Peace, love, and music. Ed.

Dennis Rhodes
04/27/2012 12:56am

Well said Tony! You've stated it perfectly. When I met Pete for the first time, it was like meeting an old friend for the first time. his influence on my life is immeasurable. Pete made me a better person, a better man. I want to thank Pete's family for sharing him with us. He made this world a much better place.

Kathleen Cacioppo Green
04/27/2012 2:02am

I just read about Pete's passing. My newphew posted how he'll miss him. I first heard Pete on WNEW-FM during my Senior year in high school. He and the other greats played the music which lead us to Woodstock. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find him again on WFUV-the Jesuit radio station from Fordham these past years. So comforting to hear that wonderful voice and so enjoyable to listen to all he played for us. God bless him!

Sandra Gelman
04/27/2012 3:19am

I was so shocked and saddened to learn of Pete's passing. I and some friends had just met him this past January 30th when he did one of his multimedia presentation in NJ..Back to the Garden. He was so kind and friendly and patient as he signed my copy of Back to the Garden, "Sandy, Happy Birthday, Pete Fornatale"..and let us take photos with him. I just want to express to his family and close friends,my condolences and let them know how much he meant to so many people. I grew up listening to him on WNEW when AM radio just got too noisy ,as did thousands of people my age (late 50s)..he was the best. We will all miss him..He's gone to join Alison Steele, the night bird, who also left us too soon,and Scott Muni ,The Professor, to spin vinyl in progressive rock heaven.
God bless them.

04/27/2012 6:36am

i was born in 49, so the 60's was my coming of age era. i remember pete's voice from his beginnings on wnewfm. turning all of us on to all the great kaleidescope of sound that was being born back then. his tastes in song selection influencing mine.
then, as the title of richard neer's book," the rise and fall of rock radio" happened in front of us, new york radio as it was, was no more. corporate suits took it over.
well, around that time, jazz music entered my life, and, wrvrfm was my new home, and rock music took a back seat for many years.
i'm not sure when it was that i discovered that pete was back on the air, on wfuvfm, but it has been a very good number of years. when not in the studio rehearsing my band, if home, or in the car, my radio has been on @90.7 waiting for pete's mixed bag. a couple of weeks ago we were told of his illness, and yesterday learned of his passing. i feel as though i have lost a friend, am deeply saddened by his passing, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, his close friends, and everyone else like myself, whose life he enriched with his vast knowledge and library of song.

Linda Askinazi
04/27/2012 6:51am

What a moving tribute that was. I have been listening to Pete for years. Saturday nights will never be the same for me. No matter what I was doing or where I was going, the evening always got a kick start with Pete. There were times I sat in my car waiting for one of his music sets to end. This is a huge loss....

John R. McGeehan
04/27/2012 8:08am

So many Sunday mornings with Pete and his friends.......they will forever live in my memories and my heart. Perhaps one day I will be able to share the hundreds of hours I still have on tape (cassette) of those wonderful musical jouneys. Keep them rockin' up there Pete!!!!

Kevin McCabe
04/27/2012 8:15am

Rest in Peace Pete, You will be missed.

Salvatore Focella
04/27/2012 8:21am

Never had the opportunity to meet him, but had the good fortune of listening to his warm and magnetic voice over the air waves for many years. You did not have to meet Pete in order to realize that he was a very special person who transmitted "good vibes" over the air. I Thank Pete for being an essential part of my adolescent life in the late 1980's when he was at WNEW FM. I always looked foward to Pete's time slots on the air; he captured my attention, enthusiasm and heart. He was a genuinely touching individual who will be remembered for his accomplishments and humanistic qualities.

04/27/2012 8:28am



05/08/2012 10:22pm

I started to listen to pete on wnew in the early 70 s I followed him at the 6 am hr then 10 -2 for yrs then 2 to 6 He was a calming voice in the worst of times steady , consistant, there was always a playlist with a sensative theme ,a huge giant of a man with beautiful charisma , sincerly mike

tom d
04/27/2012 8:29am

Thanks so much the spirit you gave me
when radio was 'on the most high'
peace of the Lord be with you
say hi to the professor when you meet in 'studio A'
I hope to see you there

Paul Brandel
04/27/2012 8:56am

Beach Boys’ fans in the New York area during the 1970s will remember him well.

Pete was a DJ on WNEW-FM / 102.7 - the premier free-form radio station in the 1970s. Whenever the Beach Boys were touring and / or in NY - they would stop by for long in-depth interviews on Fornatale's show.

In one interview, with Mike Love, Fornatale related to Mike that 20% of the songs that he played on air were Beach Boys' songs - and Mike deadpanned, "that's all?"

In fact the Beach Boys’ September 1977 Central Park concert was the result of an on air interview between Fornatale and Dennis Wilson musing for a large free NYC show. Pete held him to it.

Pete Fornatale was to the Beach Boys what Bruce Morrow was to the Beatles.

A GREAT high school teacher as well!!!!

Bob Einfrank
04/27/2012 9:02am

I am completely saddened by Pete's passing. I had the opportunity to meet him several times in the 70's, when his influence on my musical tastes were being being formed. I will always remember his important voice; always upbeat, always intelligent, but never arrogant. He always kept me company on WFUV on Saturdays as I was driving to work, anxious to hear his clever themes and smart comments. I will miss him, not only because he was part of my youth and part of my adulthood, but because of what he meant to so many people who's lives he touched. Goodbye Pete, you meant so much to me.

Rob Armstrong
04/27/2012 9:12am

Thanks for all the memories growing up with your show on WNEW..."We've lost one of the greats"

Al Sussman
04/27/2012 9:29am

Wonderful comments, Tony, at a time when I know it was difficult for you to fully put your thoughts together. Ironically, I had just come across a link to this new Beach Boys song when a friend IM'd me with word that Pete was soon to begin his journey Home and I thought of how fitting that this song, by the group responsible for so much of Pete's musical foundation, was officially debuting this week. And, then, an hour or so after Pete's family released the news of Pete's passing, the Mets, with whom Pete had a long love-hate relationship, symbolically seemed to send Pete off with a come-from-behind ninth inning victory.

Most of Pete's friends and fans know that he was a teacher for a few years in the late '60s, before he began his professional radio career at WNEW-FM, and he probably would have made a great teacher. In a way, though, he continued to be a teacher through his radio work and his writings. Think of all of the great music to which he turned us on over the years, from Buffalo Springfield and that band's various offshoots to Harry Chapin and Aztec Two-Step to so many of the artists he played and interviewed on "Mixed Bag" and "Mixed Bag Radio." Think of the contributions Pete made to the musical foundation of some four decades worth of listeners. On that basis alone, Pete Fornatale will be sorely missed.

Ken Kaplan
04/27/2012 9:35am

I had missed the news of Pete's stroke, so I was shocked as well as greatly saddened to hear of his death. His "Mixed Bag" program back in the WNEW days was something I enjoyed so much: The new music he introduced me to, the creative segues of music I already knew, and his delightful and comforting voice. I was supposed to hear him speak about Woodstock 2 years ago at Sanctuary Concerts, but ended up in the emergency room of Morristown Memorial Hospital with an eye problem. My eye healed completely, but was so disappointed that I missed Pete's talk and never got to meet him. We listeners have a unique relationship with DJs we listen to for many years. It is a one-sided relationship, but a meaningful one nonetheless. Dar William's great song, "Are You Out There," captures that. Though I never met Pete, I knew him, and I will miss him.

Ken Kaplan
04/27/2012 9:40am

Hre is a link to Dar William's song, "Are You Out There" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0s373J0nR4

Maureen Garner-Ritter
04/27/2012 9:45am

My heart felt sympathy to Fornatale family on the untimely loss of one of our world's great spirits. Condolences also go out to the greater community of musicians, co-workers, and listeners whose lives have been touch by Pete. I have followed him around the dial since I can remember. Pete brought my favorite artists into my living room through interviews and music. He was responsible for jumpstarting the careers of many musicians. Pete was a defacto promoter of new musicians and an educator to the listeners. His voice was unmistakeable, his knowledge of music was boundless. It is an understatement to say that he will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to all- MGR

Sharon Brienza
04/27/2012 9:50am

Another voice of our youth has been silenced enterely too soon. Pete and Dennis (Elsas) were always my favorites. Listening to the two of them on WNEW-FM almost made the troubles of the world disappear for a few hours. I had the opportunity to meet Pete a few years ago at a show in Chatham where he presented his Back to the Garden book before a Roger McGuinn show. He had no problem signing my book and another one I had purchased for a friend before the show that I brought with me. We chatted for a few minutes even though there was long line of people waiting. What a wonderful man. RIP in peace, Pete, - I hope you find Scottso and John and fill heaven with some great rock & roll.

Juanita DeSilva
04/27/2012 10:10am

I was stunned and sadden at the passing of Pete. He will be sorely missed on and off the air. Rest in Peace, Pete.

Joe Tiernan
04/27/2012 10:11am

I was friends with his son Mark my freshman year at Fordham. Pete took us on a tour of the KRock studios and could not have been more of a gentleman. That voice that was so familiar and the warmth that came through the radio was the real deal, and there was no change when the mike was turned off. God Bless, Pete. My condolences to his family, may he rest in peace.

John Wagner
04/27/2012 10:15am

Pete was instrumental in adding the soundtracks to my daily experiences of growing up in metro NJ-NYC in the 60's and 70's. It was a pleasure to reunite with him via SiriusXM. This is a very sad event for me and my Jersey wiseguys. Much Love to his family and friends. We will never ever forget him. PS: too bad he didn't attend St. Peter's College in Jersey City instead of Fordham he would have been hanging with us. God bless him.

kevin fitzpatrick
04/27/2012 10:15am

I'll miss him greatly. I grew up listening to him on NEW in the 70's and beyond, was delighted to be able to get FUV streaming on line when I moved to CT so I could hear him. Made sure I set my DVR when he was on Mike Francesa's show so I could hear his stories about Woodstock, S&G, the Beach Boys and it always made me smile. So while I'm very sad, I'm also smiling at all the great memories he left me. Everytime I hear the music I loved because of Pete I will smile even more. Thanks for a lifetime of smiles Mr. Fornatale

Russell Chechele
04/27/2012 10:15am

Pete was in my personal opinion the best radio DJ that ever lived. He knew how to connect with his listeners and transport them into a more tranquil and peaceful place. God bless him.

Joan (Padney) Aupperlee
04/27/2012 10:16am

It is impossible for me to put into a few words what Pete meant to me. Wherever I was on Saturday - at 4 p.m.- I had to be near a radio so I wouldn't miss his show. I told him many times over the years that somehow, he could see into my soul. I have been listening to Pete since I had an FM converter in my 1967 Camaro. No matter what my mood, Pete could make me laugh, cry or dance around the room. He interviewed me extensively for "Back to the Garden" since I had backstage access for all 3 days. He found that fascinating and loved sharing my stories. Listening to Pete was comfortable, like spending time with an old friend. His musical knowledge was so extensive, he could set a mood and had the uncanny ability to play music that you loved but maybe had not heard in 25 years. I will miss him so much and I feel like the light has been stolen from the sky. Rest in peace my friend and thank you for all the happiness you have given me over the many years I have listened and loved you.

John Pierce
04/27/2012 10:27am

Back in the early 70's, already a fan of Pete and WNEW I noticed his name on a plaque in the halls of Fordham Prep and I thought, Wow! Pete Fornatale went to my school! How cool was that?
Thanks, Pete for all of your wonderful insight and powerful but subtle enthusiasm for the music world.

Hilary Schacter
04/27/2012 10:43am

I am one of the legions of fans who followed Pete from the first days of WNEW-FM. I am his age, and it was my goal to become a DJ just like him. Although I gave it a shot, I never had the talent. My career took me into TV behind the camera.
Oddly enough I had written to Pete on his website just about two weeks ago asking about Dave Herman. You see, Pete had mentioned Dave on the Mixed Bag program. Dave and I had worked at the same tiny New Jersey radio station, and I was asking Pete if Dave was still on the planet.
The amazing thing about Pete was that he always held my musical interest...from my 20's to my 60's. I am so very sad today. There is a void in my life...and I never knew Pete outside of my radio. A long time friend is gone. I will miss my Mixed Bag Saturday afternoons.
God bless you Pete...

Ken Klein
04/27/2012 10:50am

I am shocked to hear that Pete Fornatale has passed! I have been listening to him for over 40 years! He will truly be missed!

04/27/2012 10:58am

Pete was a dear friend for over 40 years. We never met but I felt like he was family. His taste in music and the way he carried himself was simply the best. I feel like I lost a part of my family and will miss his Mixed Bag show soooo much. That was a highlight of my weekend. Saturday nite by the radio. Well Pete, rest in peace and my deepest sympathy to your family.

Caryn Gilbert
04/27/2012 11:03am

am so saddened by the death of Pete Fornatale. He was my "Mixed Bag" inspiration. He put songs together like a poet. His music sets evoked memories of simpler days and quiet creativity. I will miss him immensely. RIP.

dePaul Consiglio
04/27/2012 11:04am

Pete Fornatale was responsible for my finding out about WFUV a number of years ago when I moved back to NY from Florida.
I was surfing the radio dial one day when I heard his voice and I said Wow! Pete Fornatale. Then I heard WFUV so I became addicted to both Pete whom I already was addicted to and WFUV.
So Pete , thanks for the music, and returning my e mails and to quote the song, "Long my you run"
All the Best to you and yours,
dePaul Consiglio

Karen R. Klestzick
04/27/2012 11:37am

Though I got to know Pete (like so many others) over the airwaves, in recent years, I was able to get to know him personally through his friendship with my husband, Neal Shulman of Aztec Two-Step. I always joked with Pete that he was my date on Saturday afternoons most weekends (during Mixed Bag) while Neal was on the road. As I write this, Darren Devivo has just finished playing a Dan Fogelberg song on FUV, mentioning that it always makes him cry. I don’t need much help today.
--Karen R. Klestzick

04/27/2012 11:44am

Like Tony, I also grew up listening to Pete and the wonderful crew at WNEW-FM in the 70's. I was also motivated to pursue a career in broadcasting because what Pete did was so entertaining and so creative and bold that I wanted to try to do the same.

Pete's voice was unique and his knowledge and passion for music were intense. His love of what he did seethed through the radio and proved to me that radio could be pushed to the limits of being a creative, interesting, must-listen-to source of entertainment. It is so sad that teenagers today don't get to experience the kind of magic that Pete brought to the radio every day.

I will miss him forever, but I know that his spirit and his passion live on in others like myself who he touched so gracefully. Rest in Peace, Pete.

- Joe Moss

04/27/2012 11:47am

Having listened to Mr. Fornatale since age 12 and having moved around out of the area, but always moving back. His voice on the radio always meant that I'm back home. I wonder what voice my kids will miss since there is no dj on stations they listen to. Sorry to hear the news, but heaven got a heck of a dj.

04/27/2012 11:49am

When I heard this sad news, I felt as if I'd lost another piece of my youth. Remember listening to his voice every day all through my college years in the 70's and beyond. And I was still listening to the "Mixed Bag" on Saturday evenings. We "boomer" fans have lost a friend of our generation's music these past 40 years. Rest in peace, Pete, and thank you for your soft voice and for playing what you loved and what we loved to hear. Condolences to the Fornatale family.

Gregg Thompson
04/27/2012 11:58am

Pete ment so much to the ears and minds of an entire generation growing up in the NYC area. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with him 4 times over the past 40 years and each time walked away knowing I had shared thoughts with someone who felt both the same passion for music and care about people that I did.

We owe it to future generations to make sure they understand what FM radio ment to the Boomers, and how it allowed people to both listen to muisc and share their passions. Pete, you will be missed.

Duke Johnson
04/27/2012 12:19pm

In recent years during the annual Hunger-thon, I would stop everything and listen to Pete when he would appear with Mike Francesa on WFAN-NY. The stories were priceless and took me back to the days of WNEW-FM, vinyl albums and t-shirts screened with your favorite band. This truly leaves a hole in the hearts of fans here in NYC.

04/27/2012 12:23pm

I already miss Pete Fornatale. I was a fan since about 1970-71. It meant so much more to get to know him a few years ago and call him a friend. We spoke on the phone or by email often when planning the concerts that we co-hosted in Short Hills, NJ. When I doubted myself, he encouraged me to continue with ongoing shows. He told me that I was as good or better than professional concert promoters when it came to marketing and organizing a show. He said I made everyone feel welcome and happy to attend and be a part of the experience we created together. That was Pete's way. He made everyone feel good, even if you were a stranger to him.

Last night, instead of sitting at the computer and reading all the blog and Facebook postings, my wife Nancy and I decided to pick up last minute tickets for a tribute show for Rick Nelson. Pete always enjoyed Rick's music and played it through the years. We went in Pete's honor. The show featured Rick's 2 sons and multimedia video segments. Not more than 10 seconds into the show and the first video, there appears Pete Fornatale on screen talking about Rick Nelson. Pete made several video appearances during the 2 hour show. Pete was the "go to" person with a breadth of knowledge on all the music he loved. It was an enjoyable distraction.

We were working together on our next concert presentation for May 12th. Pete wanted this show to be even more successful and memorable (if at all possible) than the past shows. He had wit and humor that I sometimes had to hesitate and think about in order to get it. But I always did. After Pete did a show promo on the air Saturday April 14th, he emailed me to let me know. I emailed back letting him know that I was already receiving inquiries about the show from his promo and I thought this show is going to work out just as we planned. Pete replies back, "Do you want to be Barnum or Bailey", with a smiley face. I replied, "Do you mean this one will be the 'greatest show on earth' Mr. Bailey?". That was our last communication.

I have lost a friend, and the world has lost a radio legend and rock & roll icon.

I am grateful to have had him in my life.

David Stone

Francis Maley
04/27/2012 12:25pm

I loved listening to Pete in the 70s and on. I went to college starting in 1976 and listened every day to Pete,Dennis and Scottso on WNEW-FM-where rock lived. I am very sad today in my heart. Pete's passing brings back happy memories, but tears to my eyes. He was a kind man and a soothing presence on the radio. God bless his soul.

04/27/2012 12:46pm

Unbearable sadness over the loss of a great voice --- both the sound of it and the content. A brilliant listener and observer and friend of my generation gone in a minute. He, and Jonathan Schwartz, and the WNEW.fm and WFUV teams made the 1970s and 1980s music and lore unforgettable. We are eternally in Pete's debt.... This generation now could learn much from his professional example and appreciation of popular music. Condolences to his family and closest friends.

Nancy Cunningham
04/27/2012 1:27pm

Thanks for stating similar thoughts - I returned from the west and college to the welcoming voice of this man. I honestly say one of the reasons I was so homesick was because there was no radio in any way comparable to my new York rock n roll djs there. Well I never left and went to great lengths to be with him on Saturdays at 4pm. What a gaping hole to have to fill. Sad sad sad. Gone much much too soon

frank flanagan
04/27/2012 1:33pm

I've lost a very close friend of whom I have never met.

I will always keep playing the music and listening to the radio

Kate Baker
04/27/2012 1:36pm

Words cannot express how devastated I am on hearing this news. Pete was so special, and brought music to me in a style that was his alone. All those "anniversary Shows', all those radio broadcasts, with his signature "themed" format - there is just no way to say what he meant to me. He cannot be replaced! I am heartbroken!

04/27/2012 1:36pm

will always remember saturday morning sixties
rest in peace

Deborah Boylan
04/27/2012 1:47pm

I met Pete in 1982. He took me to the opening of Blade Runner to thank me for getting his watch fixed. We remained friends for the next 30 years exchanging birthday greetings and occasionally getting together for a drink. One of the last times I saw him he presented me with a signed copy of "Bookends" and then again later for a quick signing of "Back to the Garden" and to exchange pictures from a Christmas party we attended. I will miss him and his voice. I will always love his voice.

04/27/2012 1:47pm

I was fortunate enough to meet Pete on one of his last tours to promote his Woodstock book. We have lost a true legend in the music broadcasting field and a real diplomat for peace and love for our generation. Pete was a vanguard on the radio scene when it really meant something to be a DJ. RIP Pete, and say hello to Scotso Rosko and the Nightbird for us!

04/27/2012 2:19pm

I have little doubt that at the forefront of the welcoming committee for Pete Fornatale's entrance into the afterlife, Harry Chapin was front and center to greet the DJ who was so much a cheerleader for his music throughout his entire career. That support perhaps culminated with Pete choosing Harry’s song "Dance Band On The Titanic" to open his final Mixed Bag show on April 14. More importantly, after Harry’s passing, Pete put much energy into the Chapin organization WHY (World Hunger Year, now renamed Why Hunger).

As Harry's drummer I had the pleasure of meeting Pete on several occasions as he would MC our shows from time to time in the 70s and early 80s. Years later we would again meet regularly at the Chapin family’s Sunday morning Thanksgiving performances at the K-Rock studio. It was at that time that he and I became friends resulting from our mutual fascination with rock music history and memorabilia. I consequently had the good fortune of seeing his collection of musical artifacts at his home on more than one occasion.

My most vivid memory of him was at a small Chapin musical function that Pete MC’d at a church on the upper west side in 2002. It was a sad occasion in that Harry, Tom, and Steve’s older brother James had just passed. Pete knew James well as they were both involved in World Hunger Year. Pete spoke of him glowingly but hit home as he paraphrased this beautiful sentiment. He spoke of standing on the beach as an old wooden sailing ship moves off into the distance. The little wooden boat gets smaller and smaller and then it is gone. Completely out of sight. But the truth is the little ship is still there, over the horizon and out of sight, but still there!

All the best to Pete’s family and to his friends at WFUV.

Howard Fields

05/08/2012 3:17pm

Howie - This post is lovely. Thank you.

I remember that concert well too. And I remember just how sad we all were at the loss of James. Pete truly did nail it ... and I hope to G-d he's right ...

Hope to see you soon.

Irene Palmese
04/27/2012 2:23pm

Pete was a legend in his own time the likes of which we may never experience again. He was simply put THE BEST at how he weaved his magic over the airways and at his appearances. I first met Pete at a signing for his Woodstock book at the Syosset Library one stormy rainy night and not a lot of people showed up which was lucky for me because I got to tell him just how much he meant to me. We talked about the Museum at Bethel Woods which is fabulous and I said to him that you know how upon exiting how you always end up in the gift store and guess what the first thing I came face to face was? He looked at me as if to be really interested and said What? I replied Your book!! It put such a smile on his face I felt so glad and proud to think I just made HIS night- a payback for all the years he made mine!!! We took some great pictures together and I walked with him out to his car still talking about music together and I brought up how upset I was that the Moody Blues still were not in the Hall Of Fame to which he agreed but gently reminded me there were others too.. Pete turned me on to so many great musicians like Al Kooper remember I Stand Alone and Blood Sweat and Tears - Father to the Man. Music lives on which is the greatest thing about it, and so will Pete in all of our hearts. Rest in peace, you were a very special and uniquely talented human being with a great voice that will never be forgotten. Sad to say that Radio will never be the same for me. He was great too on the YES network with his former student Mike Francesa who stated that whenever Pete was on his ratings went through the roof not surprising for such a talented and humble man who will be sorely missed.

Clare Lafferty
04/27/2012 2:40pm

My condolences go out to Pete's family and many friends. Pete was an important person in the history of rock and radio in general. His willingness to play lesser known tracks and get the word out about new groups made many bands successful. His charity work, especially with WHY Hunger, showed what kind of person Pete really was. I have many fond memories of listening to WNEW and Pete's calming voice on the other end.

Rest in peace, Pete. You will be sorely missed.

04/27/2012 3:13pm

pete was a special trail blazer. the world is a better place and he helped make it so.

04/27/2012 3:19pm

Oh My God I was so sorry to hear of his loss. I loved listening to him on WNEW IN THE 70'S. He had a soulful and understanding voice which resonated in the music he chose for us to listen to. RIP, Pete

Lois Benevento
04/27/2012 3:20pm

I always was impressed and appreciative of how the most beautiful music/poetry from my earlier years could take on an added dimension through the use of Pete's "themes". He created something, with every show, that nourished not only my emotional side through his choice of music, but also the intellectual side that responded with satisfaction to the connections he presented to us with his thematic categories. It was brilliant, and it was fun! The tone of his voice, as well as the interesting content of what he said, and the excellence of all his presentations made me feel that time spent listening to him on the radio was time well spent. Will miss having his shows to look forward to on WFUV.

04/27/2012 3:27pm

Pete you were an inspiration to an entire generation...you touched so many lives...there is now a true void in NYC radio...my condolences to your family....and the entire NY radio family...you will be missed....

ira spiegel
04/27/2012 3:57pm

Today we lost a bit of our collective soul. Mr. Fornatale was the DJ of our lives and played the soundtrack of our lives. He introduced me to so many artists and made me appreciate the ones i already knew on a higher level.
My drives home and waiting for "mixed bag" will be a little empty from now on.
I never physically met Mr. Fornatale, but he was a great friend and a voice that we will forever miss.

04/27/2012 4:00pm

I will always remember the Mixed Bag show Pete did immediately after 9/11. I happened to record it over XM and have played it whenever I needed to be uplifted. I remember most Pete saying that we will get through this, and ten years later he was so remarkably right. All of us New Yorkers knew how dark we felt that week. His inclusion of John Gorka's "Let Them in" in that broadcast never fails to bring tears to my eye. RIP Pete and thanks for sharing your love for music with us.

Deacon Tim McBride
04/27/2012 4:07pm

I had the unique pleasure of appearing on Pete's early Sunday morning magazine shows (not Mixed Bag) at both NEW and K-Rock as a recycling coordinator in his home town, spreading the word about being green. And there was a time when I went to work for a child victim services non-profit when he helped promote April as Child Abuse Prevention Month by playing a couple of my suggestions and topping the theme off with a couple of his own. And when I became an ordained Deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, we had occasion to talk and he was very kind and encouraging.
Back in those days at NEW, when we taped the Sunday morning program, he introduced me to Dennis, as a "fan." I, of course, stumbled over the Lennon connection and what it meant to me. I noticed Pete laughing at that moment. On the way to Penn Station, I tried to tell him what he meant to me, and stumbled again. He just laughed and said it was good to have and be a fan, as he was of the music.
I continue to stumble today in shock and grief and mourning. But my faith and my human experience tells me that Pete will always be with me, in the ether of my very spirit, at the core of my delight.
Pete, I will continue to look for you on Rockaway's boardwalk no matter, and to listen to you in the music and the sound of the waves and to see you between the horizon and the sky.
Peace, Pete. Love you. Tim

Steven Santoro
04/27/2012 4:22pm

I remember a few years back listening to Mixed Bag one Saturday with my wife Terese Russo-Santoro. I can't remember the theme, but Pete actually played a Madonna song. I said to Terese, "Ya know.... I know we hate that woman, but for some reason when Pete plays a record, it somehow sounds better no matter who it is". So long Pete. Saturdays will never be the same without you.

Jessa Mittleman
04/27/2012 4:26pm

I plan a donation to WFUV so that it can continue Pete's art.

Jules Lippman
04/27/2012 4:33pm

To someone who exuded peace, reflection, & humanity simply by speaking and playing music on the radio. A real legend! You will be missed, but I'll raise a glass to you this Saturday evening when the music seems to be missing that special something.

Fred Siwiec
04/27/2012 4:49pm

There is not another person on radio that conveyed through the ether the warmth, love of music, magic and humor as Pete. You could FEEL his simile through the speakers and it rested in your heart. Peace Dear Pete...you'll always live in our hearts.

laura welsh
04/27/2012 5:00pm

Thank-you Pete for your calming voice through my teenage years-loved WNEW FM and the great tunes you played (you and the great music will always hold a special place in my heart).May your family and friends find peace through the music you had so much passion for .Long live WFUV!!!

Beth Saltalamacchio
04/27/2012 5:02pm

I hired Pete and Tony to do the Simon and Garfunkel "How Terribly strange to be 70" program at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library last November. I was excited to meet Pete, remembering him from his WNEW and K Rock days. I found him to be gracious, warm and friendly, and the program was great, attracting a huge crowd of baby boomers like myself. Tony, by the way, is one of the sweetest guys I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

The Woodstock program was booked for May 9, a week and a half from now. Sadly, we will not see Pete here at Plainview again. This makes the fact that I got to meet him all the more special. It was a privilege I will not forget.

Rest in peace, Pete.

Warren Meyers
04/27/2012 5:31pm

This is a profound loss for music lovers the world over and for Pete's family. Surely his dedicated protege's will carry on and do well in their own way. But we all know there was only one Pete who embellished each song's meaning with his knowledge of the music and our souls. We will miss you Pete. We are all very saddened beyond mere words but we will always remember not only the music but the way HE played the music.

04/27/2012 5:53pm

I first became aware of Pete at some time in the 1970s when my radio listening habits moved from AM top 40 to the AOR stations on the FM dial. By 1982, I was listening almost exclusively to WNEW-FM. I tuned in to the very first Mixed Bag show that year and became a devoted listener. That year I saw Pete for the first time when he hosted a Mixed Bag sponsored concert at Caldwell College in New Jersey. Pete always knew how to make an entrance. He took the stage that day, looked out at the assembled throng and began: "I'm a farmer..." in his best Max Yasgur impression, feigned snapping out of this flashback, and went on to introduce a great lineup of musical acts. Woodstock it wasn't, but it was the first all day music festival I attended and a very fond memory, thanks to Pete. The next time I saw him was on a Mixed Bag live music cruise on an excursion boat in New York harbor. This time he appeared in nautical attire, looking for all the world like Thurston Howell III. Once again, a fine entrance. By the time I next saw him, the WNEW-FM we knew and loved was no more, and Pete had long since left WXRK. He entered the stage that night at The Bottom Line holding a sign that read: "WILL DJ FOR FOOD" He did a great job that night subbing for Vin Scelsa at that night's "In Their Own Words" show.
While Pete was off the air, I had become a frequent WFUV listener and was thrilled when he joined the airstaff back in 2001. I can't adequately express how much enjoyment I've had listening to Pete on the radio for most of my life. I hope that recordings of his entertaining and informative shows will be available for years to come.

Tina Camporeale
04/27/2012 6:18pm

I met Pete many years ago when I was in high school and Pete was working at WNEWFM. It was because my friend Rosie and I got the idea that we should take a trip from Dutchess County to NYC to tell him in person how much we appreciated him. Unannounced, we boldly walked into the NEW studio while he was on the air, and asked if we could meet Pete. Moments later, Pete came out to greet us and spent a considerable amount of time interviewing us. It was as if he was trying to understand why two teenage girls would make this long trip just for him. He was just so gracious, and that same gracious personality has been a part of my life all this time. He obviously meant a lot to me and I will miss him.

04/27/2012 6:32pm

This was sent to press last night from the AFTRA Foundation.

LOS ANGELES (April 26, 2012) --- The AFTRA Foundation has released the following statement regarding the death of WFUV disc jockey Pete Fornatale, who was honored on Feb. 6, 2012 with the AFTRA Foundation's AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award in Broadcasting (aka, the AMEE Award in Broadcasting):

"The AFTRA Foundation is saddened by the loss of veteran disc jockey and rock historian Pete Fornatale. Pete’s 40-plus years in broadcasting have been critical to the progress and continued development of radio programming and pop culture scholarship. We are proud to have honored Pete this past February with the AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award in Broadcasting, which recognized not only his outstanding professional achievements, but his passion, dedication and love of his craft. We hold Pete dear in our hearts and will continue to be inspired by his legacy. We send out deepest condolences to his family, friends and many, many fans."

04/27/2012 6:34pm

SAG-AFTRA issue this statement last night:

SAG-AFTRA Mourns the Passing of Pete Fornatale

SAG-AFTRA joins rock music and radio fans around the country in mourning the passing of disc jockey, respected rock historian, and long-time union member Pete Fornatale.

Fornatale’s four decade long career in broadcasting highlights the integrity and commitment to craft represented by union members, not only in his own work, but in the work of his union brothers and sisters that he shared with the world through his programming. Fornatale joined AFTRA in 1970.

SAG-AFTRA sends their deepest condolences to Fornatale’s friends and family. His voice will be missed not only on the air, but in our hearts.

Jeanne (Zele) Spada
04/27/2012 6:53pm

I knew Pete from E.188th St as he lived next to my Grandfather. He was "one of us". Each summer my cousin Frankie C., Pete and a few other friends would come to Glen Island beach, everyday! As we were all teenagers then, my mom would drive them home. What fun! Will miss you Pete!

Bob Corrigan
04/27/2012 6:58pm

I was a classmate of Pete's at Fordham University in the mid-60s, and a fellow Communication Arts major. We sometimes double-dated, and I remember Pete as a wonderful guy who made friends easily. I had the privilege of occasionally sugggeting a "theme" for his Campus Caravan show on WFUV, and supplied him with some of the music he played on those shows. I was always proud to say that I was a friend and classmate, and very proud of what Pete accomplished in life. More than anything else, I'll always remember him as a gentleman. -- Bob Corrigan, Fordham Class of '67

04/27/2012 7:00pm

I grew up in NJ listening to Pete throughout grammer, middle and high school. Now, as a woman in my 40's I have enjoyed hearing him regularly on WFUV. I was shocked and heatbroken to hear yesterday that he had died suddenly. I have felt such sadness today listening to Dennis and cried when I heard the Judy Collins version of Amazing Grace. His voice will always be with me. His children should know that he touched many people and that his voice was a wonderful soundtrack to many of us who grew up in the 70's. Peace.

tom holoman
04/27/2012 7:06pm

I 'm one of the people who never got to meet Pete, but I feel like i lost a truly great friend. He ad a unique voice and manner about him.I will remember him as a true lover of music and someone who was always willing to share his gift. Tom Holoman think good thoughts

Sandy Rothschild Wolff
04/27/2012 7:21pm

I loved listening to Pete in the 60s & 70s and then heard his voice again sometime later...shocked. I always loved his voice and never knew what he looked like until I saw him on TV once and could then put a picture to the voice.
I put a post on face book-R.I.P Pete.

04/27/2012 7:28pm

Pete was a legend from the glory days of progressive rock radio. Those who experienced it understand the long-lost sense of community that we all shared. Thanks for many hours of enjoyable listening.

RIP, Pete.

Mary Shaw
04/27/2012 7:47pm

tony, would Love to send a card, I will donate but also would like to send a mass card to the family!!! Is there a address? I am so sad, I found the pix of us today in 2010 I cried!!!

Ruth McManus Krems
04/27/2012 10:06pm

Pete Fornatale will always hold a special place in my heart. He was my English/Mass Media teacher at Maria Regina High School in the late 60's early 70's. In later years Pete and I chatted via e-mail and it was great "talking' with him. Although I no longer live in NY I loved hearing him on WFUV via the internet. Last year I was happy to have him sign his book for me and i will cherish it always. I am so happy to have grown up in the Woodstock generation and to have had Pete Fornatale be there showing us his love for music which has given me a great love for it too.

Paris Stachtiaris
04/27/2012 10:15pm

Pete was my teacher at Adelphi University in 1984. I'm glad I was able to see him again at The Book Revue last year where I had him sign my copy of "Back To The Garden". I am so greatful that I was able to tell him what a wonderful teacher he was and how I enjoyed his class. My condolences go out to his family and friends. He will be missed.

04/27/2012 10:32pm

Pete Fornatale made me cool.....Back in the early 70's I was sick of the "top 40 bubble-gum" rock so I listened to stations playing "adult" music...The Fifth Dimension, Herb Alpert and the Tehuana Brass, Dionne Warwick etc. We had a guy do some carpentry work on our Brooklyn brownstone. He was a cool, free spirit. A good looking guy my wife and her friends couldn't get enough of. I should have hated him. But he always had a portable radio playing and it was tuned to WNEW-FM. I liked the music; I like the DJ (Pete) so I started listening to that station. I was defiantly cool. (in my head anyway) I became a big fan of Pete's. Even went to see a show at Carnegie Hall because he was the M.C. and he talked about it on his show.
Then when my son was 6 we moved to the suburbs. We moved to Port Washington on Long Island. My son Matt made friends quickly and one was a charming little kid named Mark Fornatale. I asked Matt to ask his firend Mark if his dad worked in radio, You can imagine how blown away I was when he typical kid, off the cuff answer was I asked him and, yeah his dad]s on the radio. Wow!
Over the years thanks to our sons' friendship I got to meet Pete and his wife Susan and their whole family. Pete was as nice and easy going and friendly in person as he sounded on the radio. He was always deeply involved and proud of his own "My Three Sons".
I will miss him. We all will.

Robert Feinstein
04/27/2012 11:35pm

Campus Caravan, Pete's smile filled my radio. I sent him a note saying so. He read it on the air, and we became friends.He was warm, gracious and without guile. Sincerity rang in his voice. We sat in with him on many Saturdays. His joy overflowed as did his passion. And there were the White Castle sliders afterwards. My condolences to his sons and the rest of his family.

Simeon A. Sahaydachny
04/28/2012 5:42am

Thank you, Pete, for all the beautiful music, wonderful information, interviews and discussions, over all those many years. We love and miss you.

Joe Palumbo
04/28/2012 6:43am

Pete Fornatale was one of those rare gifts that God gives to New Yorkers to compensate for everything else, not all of it good, that comes with living in and around New York. There was never a time when hearing Pete's voice on the radio and unique talent for blending music selections into thoughtful themes did not bring a smile to my face and stir warmth in my heart. Rest in peace, Pete.

Marty Baicker
04/28/2012 8:07am

As a long-time fan of Pete and his work, I was thrilled to meet him one Saturday afternoon in the old FUV studio in 2002. Pete was exactly as he came across on the air- genuine, gracious, funny, self-effacing, and just a great guy.We spoke about our shared love for Poco and he signed my Deliverin' CD. He was interested in hearing about what I did for a living and all about my background.

Years from now, when people try to understand the music of our generation, they will be listening to recordings of Pete's wonderful, insightful interviews and his fun and entertaining shows- bad puns and all.

Our world is a lesser place because Pete is gone. ..gone but he will never be forgotten....Rest in peace, Pete Fornatale.

Marilyn Unick
04/28/2012 10:46am

I sit here in tears. My memories of WNEW are a part of my life from high school to WFUV to seeing Pete on public TV for telethons. He will be warmly remembered. It is difficult to lose those who brought you the most joy from music and of the wonderful youthful memories we all cling to. This is the circle of life. My thoughts to his family and collegues. Carry on the wonderful traditon he began.

Marilyn Unick
Sparta, NJ

Deborah K
04/28/2012 10:48am

From Campus Caravan to Pete Fornatale's final show on WFUV, I was drawn by his connection to the music and the culture of the times. When I first listened to Pete, I was a high school student and each broadcast coming through my blue Zenith tabletop radio infused me with the desire to play Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan on the radio--and for a while, I did.

Years later, Pete's broadcasts helped mark pivotal periods in my life. When the theme music began, the connections were made more poignant.

No more, Yet, the connections remain through time. I appreciated being part of it all.

Thank you, Pete.

B Kula
04/28/2012 11:01am

Wow, what a loss. My condolences to your family and everyone who listened to Pete on the radio. Saturday's will not be the same without Pete's show, Mixed Bag. Radio will not be the same with Pete gone. Gone but not forgotten, Pete has left a tremendous legacy and imprint on radio, on rock n roll and on all of us whom he touched with his words, humor, insight and musical selections. Pete, thanks for all the great shows...you kept it interesting...you kept it real...you'll be truly missed but not forgotten. Rest in Peace!

Nina Wegener
04/28/2012 12:07pm

Thank you so much for your comments. In 1984 a friend told me about Pete's shows on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I started listening and have listened to him ever since whatever station he was broadcasting from. As a longtime FUV listener/member, I was thrilled when he joined the "family" there, and Saturday nights became for me "appointment radio". My husband is and has been executive director of the AFTRA NY Local and in that position often had dealings with Pete. Every time he would be meeting with Pete he would tell me and I would say, "Tell Pete how much I love him!" then one time I decided that I should do it myself so I wrote Pete a long email telling him how much his program meant to me. Pete didn't just respond, he called me on my home phone to thank me for my email. Most recently, he contacted my husband putting his name in for consideration for the AMEE award for broadcasting. Pete was so thrilled when he found out that he was the recipient of the broadcasting award. And, always gracious, he sent my husband a hand-written thank you note. That night at the AMEES, he gave us a "shout-out" in his acceptance speech (which, by the way, was the best acceptance speech EVER!), and later, a big hug, again thanking us.
What a wonderful person! He has enriched my life--and the lives of so many others-- in so many ways. He left us way too soon; I'm sure there are many more themes he could have explored!

Candice Clayton
04/28/2012 2:30pm

Pete Fornatale was my English teacher in high school. He influenced my high school years (a very difficult time in my life) in a very positive and inspirational way. Thanks for making a difference, Pete.

Steven Rosenfeld
04/28/2012 3:04pm

Pete Fornatale was above all, a finest gentleman in radio. Even as he became one of the most successful radio personalities ever, he remained true to his listeners, fans, colleagues and the emerging artists he so cared about.
Pete's integrity and modesty made a lasting impression on all who knew and worked with him.
The world lost a true champion on April 26, 2012.

04/28/2012 5:52pm

Pete was truly a pioneer in the emergence of progressive FM radio. He will be truly missed. Condolences to his family.

04/28/2012 5:58pm

I share in everyone's sorrow at the news of Pete's passing. He was a part of growing up for me and I will always hear his wonderful voice. Rest in peace, Pete. So many fans miss you and always will... Whenever I hear the letter WNEW... I think of him. My prayers go out to his family. He truly was the best...

Denis Carroll
04/28/2012 6:22pm

I am so bummed. I just found out about Pete's passing. Grwoing up in the Bronx, listening to WNEW ... Pete was so much a part of every day life. And being a huge Beach Boy fan, and a Fordham Prep and Fordham U grad..I felt a bond to Pete. Never met him...but wish I had. I was there in canrnegie Hall when he introduced the Beach Boys with that surfboard. I felt Pete kept the Beach boys alive in radio when they wereat their low point. I hope Carl and Dennis were there to greet him in heaven. I am deeply saddened . We lost one of the good ones.

Debby Kleinberg
04/28/2012 6:25pm

My condolences to Pete's family - his biological family as well as his vast music family, at WFUV, the old WNEW, and the many fans whom he touched.

It is with heavy heart that I urge everyone whom he touched to carry on the fine tradition and love of the music he shared with all of us who were fortunate enough to share his gift for using the music to express what is in the soul.

Listening to Don now, thank you for the beautiful tribute today - and as the Boss is singing: Enjoy the journey to the Land of Hopes and Dreams, Pete. I feel only a mixed bag . . . hadn't begun to recover from Levon.

Mary Ann Fisher
04/28/2012 6:28pm

Pete has had an enormous influence on my life. The greatest was to get me involved with WHY Hunger. He was the first to broadcast the annual Hungerthon. At first, I was a mere contributor. Eventually, 20 years ago, I finally answered his call to volunteer. I have not missed a Hungerthon since.I have many happy memories of Pete stopping by the phone bank and joining in the post-Hungerthon parties... Pete also introduced me to amazing artists I may otherwise never have come to know: Christine Lavin, David Roth, Ralph McTell, Fairport Convention, Michael Smith, and on and on. My life is all the more enriched because of Pete. May his family be comforted by the gentle influence and compassion that Pete gave to this world. Peace.

Judith Mermelstein
04/28/2012 6:30pm

Pete's death is, to my great surprise, having as heavy an effect on me as John Lennon's death did...and I named my son after John. I posted on WFUV's page that I'd met Pete when I was in high school & he let me sit in the studio for an entire session of Campus Caravan in order to write an article for my youth-group newspaper. He was my "holy man on the FM radio" (OK, one of them) and the music he introduced me to helped me through my turbulent youth & beyond. It's just not fair that he's not in this world any more. When Don McGee played Phil Ochs this afternoon, I just totally lost it. Yet another gone too soon...I hope there is a Rock & Roll Heaven.

04/28/2012 6:37pm

This was a nice tribute to Pete. We will miss him. RIP Pete.

Angela N.
04/28/2012 6:52pm

I just heard :'(
One of my very favorite voices of the 70's!!
Very moving tribute Anthony.....so sorry for the loss of Pete <3


Vince McG
05/06/2012 9:45am

Lest we forget, many of us owe a great deal of thanks to Pete and his friends who through their tireless efforts and respect for humanity stopped a war. Life was made greater, we were all made more humane by his sincerity which sparked many of us to think.

Pam Owen Strobel
04/28/2012 7:11pm

I started listening to and hearing Pete in the late 60's. I was on probation for a demonstration arrest and I will tell you that he and others at WNEW-FM put their music arms around my shoulders during the 3 years. I listened to Saturday morning 60"s, Mixed Bag and more recently the 4 to 8 mixed bag. Thank you Pete... I will deeply miss you... we need to keep the music coming....

04/28/2012 7:33pm

God bless Pete. Thanks Don, especially for that last Stones, "Start Me Up". Pete would always make sure that we got the gist by playing it at least 3 times. He had a knack of making them all Magical. RIP Pete.

04/28/2012 7:57pm

The loss is unbearable tonight. Pete was such a big part of my life with his Mixed Bag show. The tears are flowing freely as I now hear the Paul Winter Consort and his theme song .

Cathy Petrone
04/28/2012 7:58pm

To the Fornatale family and friends,

My deepest sympathies for your sudden loss.Twenty-five years ago I was an editor at Morrow Junior Books and called Pete to suggest a book on rock and roll history for young people. Who better to write it? He accepted the offer and it was the beginning of a wonderful book, in which I worked as Pete's editor. I still have some of his handwritten pages, since at the time he did not type.I was thrillled and honored to work with someone who was a legend to me even then. We stayed in touch throughout the years. I also graduated from Fordham, and of course I always felt he was with me through the radio. Saturday afternoons meant Mixed Bag on WFUV.
A few years back he called to tell me to tell me he was putting my name in the acknowlegements in "Bookends" as one of his first editors. I was stunned by his generosity. We reconnected and since I work at the Westport Library, he agreed to come to speak. A while ago, I send him an idea for a Mixed Bag show.

On March 31 I received an email from Pete: "Today's the day I use your idea--thinking--for my show!!! Please call to catch up."
He even acknowledged me on the air--again I was so surprised and touched that he remembered. I was putting aside a time to call him, knowing it would be a long call, and planned to do it last week...I am sad I did not get to speak to him one more last time.
Pete was a man of utmost integrity, kindness and full of love and passion for music and the people who made it. He can never be replaced, and I am glad I got to know him as a friend.

Cathy Barbella Petrone

Grace w.
04/28/2012 8:27pm

my deepest sympathy to Pete's family and those who knew him well. My husband and I were just fans and feel such a tremendous loss, so we can only imagine the grief you are feeling. We just finished listening to Don McGee's Mixed Bag tribute and were left emotionally drained as the student became the teacher and took us on a wonderful, memorable journey in Pete's honor. I have posted several places to share my thoughts, trying to vent my grief. He lives on in our memories and playlists we've created, inspired by his wonderful genius and the music he introduced us to. RIP, Pete. Your legacy lives on.

Nancy Macri Kennedy
04/28/2012 8:41pm

Pete Fornatale was a gentleman. I have listened to him for decades--from WNEW to K-Rock to WFUV and have appreciated the lessons he taught me about music. His love of his vocation was evident and we, his listening public, are the richer for it. Thank you, Pete, for all the years. I will keep his friends and family in my prayers in the coming days, and will miss him for a long time.

04/28/2012 9:36pm

Pete was the guy who opened up music to me during my teens and 20's. Since leaving New York years ago, I feel so fortunate to have the rich history of progressive rock that Pete pioneered. And all we had to do was turn on the radio and he took us on so many great journeys. I have not heard his show in a long time, but miss him so much!

Carole Ferrara
04/28/2012 10:06pm

Cousins at birth. Friends as children. Strangers as adults. Not sure why. I do know that after reading all the comments written about Pete the man and the personality, I cannot help but be saddened by the fact I never got to know that person. I hope in our next life we get a chance to catch up. Rest in peace Peter and may God hold you in the palm of his hand. Know that you are in very good company.

john sullivan
04/28/2012 10:21pm

After 9/11 there were two cultural events that got me through it; that I knew that somehow we could deal with this. One was David Letterman sitting down and not doing a monologue, but talking about feelings. The other thing happened when I happened to turn on fuv that saturday to hear Pete's show. The music that he choose reaffirmed the human spirt and that we are all brothers. I am glad that I got a chance to thank him for that at one of his woodstock shows. I believe that there is an other side and that those that pass are pulling for us. I know that Pete is playing music there that will help pull us all through. It is a sad day for us on this side..

04/28/2012 11:40pm

Pete was always my favorite of the on-air personalities at WNEW-FM. He introduced me to a lot of different types of music and bands. Poco is the first that comes to mind, but there are many others as well. He deepened my appreciation of Brian Wilson's music long before his genius was again appeciated. Pete always seemed like a really good person, and from everything I've read in the days since his passing, that's just what he was.

I wish that I had the opportunity to meet Pete, to be able to thank him for all that he contributed to broadening my horizons. Unfortunately, that never happened, but, at least, I had the opportunity to say it here. Thanks.

Joe Palumbo
04/29/2012 7:05am

Such an incredible part of my life and my musical history.
I always called his thematic music relationships as Pete Fornatale'isms.
Someone wrote the song, played lead guitar on the next song, produced the next song of the next singer and so and so on.

Barbara Rahmdass
04/29/2012 10:24am

He was my "friend" since the early days of WNEW-FM. We shared a few email exchanges over the years. When I finally met him during his book tour at the original "Woodstock" site, after learning who I was, he stood up to give me a hug and a kiss. A special man indeed! I am so very sad about his passing. Please post some of his old shows and interviews on the web so we can continue hearing his voice and dancing to the music.

Ruth Shanen
04/29/2012 10:37am

4/29/2012 I turned on WFUV this morning and within
minutes heard of Pete's passing. It came as a shock.
I've been listening to Pete's shows since my teen
years in the late 1960's and I suppose I thought
that somehow he would go on forever. I feel as if
one more piece of my youth has been lost.
Although I never met him, turning to Pete
on the radio was like spending happy time with
a long-time friend; someone who shared the
same philosophy; someone who was always
warm and welcoming; someone who shared
so many memories. Pete is a part of my
personal history, one of the small band who
broadcast the soundtrack of my life. A few
of that band are still doing so, on WFUV,
and I am so glad to have them.
Pete was an anchor in many lives, I am
certain. He is a legend of radio and will
live on in so many hearts - I will miss him.

Kathleen Ryan Berger
04/29/2012 11:29am

One Saturday night Mix Bag “during fashion week”,
Pete dared himself to play this song back to back,
which of course he did...much to my pleasure!
Now when I think of Pete I fondly recall this song…
"You've Either Got or You Haven't Got Style" and that
Pete Fornatele had!!!
Kathleen Ryan Berger

Shaun Reen
04/29/2012 12:01pm

I grew up with Pete and all his friends at WNEW FM. Even though the last few years he was my neighbor in Rockaway, I never got the chance to greet him and thank him for all those great years he gave to us. So, Pete, thank you. I'm sure that your still spinning records and pleasing all of the other fans that have gone on before and were anxiously awaiting your arrival. Job well done...now rest!

R. Silvestri
04/29/2012 2:55pm

Unbelievable news!
My friend Ellen and I got to know Pete way back in the early Fordham years - it is sad sad news - without Pete, can Rock n Roll be here to stay?

Mike O'Hagan
04/29/2012 3:35pm

Time does move on... I grew up in Brooklyn listening to Pete, Bruce Morrow, Alison Steele, Murray the K, Scot Muni & Dennis Elsas. As the music of the time was maturing, so was I. As the transition from AM to FM moved forth, these men & women were in the forefront. They opened my ears and my mind to new music, new experiences and new opportunities. I moved away from NYC in 1971 and lived around the country & around the world. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the cutting edge radio that these people pioneered. As they fall by the wayside of life, I say a prayer of thanks for their contributions to my life and the lives of the other listeners of that era. To those of that cadre that remain, 'Thanks!'. To those like Pete that have moved on, you may be gone, but you are not forgotten.

Bill Dunlap
04/29/2012 3:35pm

This piece is perfect and the line that I liked was that Pete was the same guy in person as on the air. I said the same thing earlier in a comment on a NYTimes blog. I got to know Pete after I gave him a snippet of a Chuck Berry radio show I had done for NBC Radio (remember NBC Radio?) for his "This Day in Rock" series. I saw him from time to time later when I worked for a broadcasting trade paper in New York.
My favorite memory though, which I haven't seen mentioned anywhere, were his Easter Sunday morning shows with Steve Goodman. They were great together and played off each other so well. I don't know how many years they did it, but it was appointment listening for me every time.
Bill Dunlap
Lake Oswego, Oregon

04/29/2012 7:53pm

I didn't really know Pete as an adult, but I had the biggest crush on him in elementary school at Mt. Carmel in the Bronx. We walked to school together and were wonderful friends until I think the 4th or 5th grade. I ran into him at a lecturehe gave about 10 years ago and we took a picture together. We remembered each other but never did get to do a show on reunions. I am so sorry to have missed my chance to reconnect with him. Life is short; memory is short but history lives on, as does all the good he left behind. Til we meet again, Pete!

Ed Yaker
04/29/2012 8:38pm

Tony, thank you for assisting Pete on the technical end. As he made clear, the new technology was not his strong point.
As I've been thinking about Pete in the few days since learning of his passing, I've been thinking of the legacy he left us. I would bet you have friends you met because of Pete. I know I do, people I met after being fellow posters on the Mixed Bag bulletin board when it was a community Pete was proud of and participated in. I know that others have also formed friendships brought together by mistermixedbag. Then there is all the music now in my collection including songs and artists I did not know except for hearing them on Mixed Bag. Would WHY have grown as it did without the early and steady championing by Pete Fornatale? The first I heard of hungerthon was on Pete's show and seemed only later that it expanded to more shows and more radio stations. The best of his shows were those that highlighted positive feelings, be they centered around a holiday such as July Fourth or Labor Day, or a person like John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King. Pete was a force for decency, and brought that to so many of us.

04/29/2012 9:59pm

pete was "the heart of saturday night"... saturday nights will never be the same!!! GOD bless you and thank you for over 40 years of joy.

Milt E
04/29/2012 11:13pm

I am crushed by the news of Pete's passing. He was my radio role model and my mentor. I idolized him in the 60's and 70's and was able to keep in touch with him all the years since. I am blessed to have seen him last year talking about his Woodstock book and regret not having him sign a copy for me. His voice may have been silenced but he will always live in my heart.

Susan Moryan
04/30/2012 10:46am

Even after several days I am still very unsettled by Pete's death. Somehow, it was comforting knowing that someone I listened to for 40 years was still on the air creating magical musical moments. Pete will be sorely missed. But it must be extremely gratifying to his family and friends to know the profound effect he had on the lives of so many people who never even met him.

Maryellen Collins
04/30/2012 10:47am

Tony, I am sorry you lost your friend. I am sorry we all lost Pete. I met him briefly and felt like I had known him forever. He had that effect on people. As so many people have said, Saturday afternoons will never be the same.

Faye Vanover
04/30/2012 3:04pm

I was shocked when I saw the news of Pete's passing run across the bottom of the TV screen. I still feel like I lost someone from my own family.
My husband and I used to listen to Pete's conversation and music when we were first married and so he has been a part of our 32 year relationship.
My husband is a security guard now and listened to him as he drove around at night and would sometimes tell me something he said or played.
I would like to know about the memorial service. Will come if we can.

Mike Einhorn
04/30/2012 3:39pm

Pete's "smile" came across the radio whenever he talked...

Ginny Wurthmann
04/30/2012 3:43pm

I woke up to Pete's very special voice in the early 70's and bought some outstanding music because of what he played and liked (we bought albums in those days). I listened to him during the day in the 80's and then rediscoverd him again on the Fordham station on Saturdays in the past few years. I not only loved what he had to say and play, but loved his comforting voice. He will be sorely missed here, but I hope he's hangin' with Levon Helm, Dick Clark, Elvis and John Lennon somewhere right now.

Jerome Garfunkel
05/01/2012 11:14am

Pete was my friend
When we hugged to say hello and when we hugged to say goodbye, it was sincere, sustained, filled with warmth.  No patting on the back, like air-kissing an acquaintance, ours was a genuine gesture of friendship and respect. 
I call out his name, expecting him to answer. All I hear is silence, a void that is Pete. 

Ed Benz
05/01/2012 9:31pm

So sorry to hear of Pete's passing! I was lucky to know Pete before his celebrity, when he was a teacher in the media department of my Long Island high school in 1970 - Maria Regina in Uniondale. In that same setting was his good friend and fellow D.J. Denis Elsas!! They promoted "The Good Earth" (Bill Swafford: "Good Morning Starshine" and Jim Dawson: Still singing his tunes in NYC). I've followed the careers and music of these two music icons ever since. I called Pete once or twice while on the air at WNEW and he always took the time to say hello and chat with me. I will remember him fondly, he was definitely an influence in my taste of music over the decades! I'm proud to say I consider him a friend. - My best to his family on their loss, he will surely be missed, Ed

Kate Fay
05/02/2012 2:53pm

I grew up listening to Pete, along with my older brothers. To say that he framed my listening habits and choices is a great understatement. WNEW was the best place on the dial and Pete's Mixed Bag was always entertaining. I'm not surprised to read that he was as nice in person as he sounded on the radio. As a student at Fairleigh Dickinson, I remember him coming to speak with us. What an honor! I picked up on WFUV some years ago, and that is now my new favorite place on the radio. And to think Pete's influence was instrumental to the station's founding! What a great legacy!

05/02/2012 3:17pm

Here's a link to a remembrance piece about Pete that I have been struggling with writing for AcousticMusicScene.com since he died last week. I was choking back tears as I re-read interview-profile articles about him that I wrote for The New York Times and other publications in 1989 and recalled some of the artists to whose music he first introduced me and so many others. Some of them have since become friends, while the music has been the soundtrack of my life.


A student
05/04/2012 4:40pm

My name is not important, I am one of the many Maria Regina High School students for whom music was a small part of our life until "Mr. Fornatale" became our English teacher.
His "personal" touch to teaching was just like his "personal" touch on the radio, we all were important to him and each was made to feel that way. He had a way of reaching his students that previously had not been tried. He was provocative and challenging and funny and entertaining and progressive. We saw the movie " An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge" in his class. He made us THINK and perhaps we didn't have the exact answer he was looking for but, he was genuinely pleased if you could explain your reasoning, in other words there were no wrong answers.
His death seems like a "wrong answer" to me now. We lived through very interesting times in HS and Mr Fornatale was one of the best. We are all better by having been taught by you. With enormous gratitude and love.
One of your students, my name not important as I know I speak for many. Happy trails PETE.

05/05/2012 9:50am

Will be missed!
A longtime listener, from many a radio stations gone by.

05/05/2012 10:56pm

I just read about Pete's passing in Time Magazine. Living in Columbus, OH for about 35 years makes it hard to stay tuned to the news in NYC. When I read the news I stopped and shudderd. I started listening to WNEW-FM in 1967 when they went on the air and I listened intently up until I left New York City in 1976. I met Pete once at some event at Queens College when I was a student there and I remember his campagn to get Dave Herman back on the radio and come to work at WNEW-FM. I met them both. Pete will be missed and he will be remembered by all the people who listened back then when radio was really-free form and the DJ hosts were in a conversation with the audience. They welcomed audience feedback and comments. It was a personal relationship which I don't think I've experienced since those days, with the exception of what they do on Sirius XM. Thank you for hosting this blog and please express my condolences to Pete's family. He made listening to the radio a real experience for me and for so many others.

Ben M
05/06/2012 9:44am

I am shocked, just shocked. I just learned of Pete's passing while reading an article in today's Newsday by Lew Goodman.

I cannot remember a time when Pete wasnt on my radio. What was so great is that when you heard his distinctive voice, you knew it would soon be followed by either a great story or even greater music.

In today's worldof pre-programmed Pandora style playlists, artists such as Pete will be sorely missed.

RIP Pete and please be sure to say hello to Scottso for me


Ben M.

Rich Huhn
05/07/2012 11:32am

My first purchase from my first job was an FM radio so I could listen to WNEW-FM and their brilliant announcers. Pete was a huge part of my life and I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Paul Colby tribute on 11/4/11 at The Outpost in the Burbs where he was the Master of Ceremonies. It was so great to see him, my "Master of Music" in person doing what he loved to do. I will always remember his amazing devotion to his art and his genuine love for people.

06/23/2012 11:43am

Rest in peace, Pete. You were an inspiration and great "company" on the radio on many a day. Thanks for all you've done for radio.


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