BROOKSVILLE - Steve Manuel said Bob Penrod was the general manager back in 1982 when Hernando Broadcasting Co. bought the station.
Manuel said he stayed in touch with Penrod, who moved back to New York state but continued to visit his daughter in Brooksville throughout the years.
"I always told him if he decided to retire or move back to Brooksville I would put him to work," Manuel said. And, 10 years ago, Penrod "popped in" to the station to say he was back, and ready.
Penrod died just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday from ALS. He was 73 years old. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Shirley, and their two children, Suzanne McAlpine of Brooksville and Daniel Penrod of Portland, Ore. Penrod had four grandchildren, Richard Killingsworth, 23, Katie Killingsworth, 21, Breanna McAlpine, 13, and Tristan Penrod, 15.
Penrod hosted an afternoon talk show three days a week on WWJB, as well as a weekly big band hour. Manuel said WWJB's phone kept ringing on Tuesday with condolences.
Penrod also worked as a morning radio host for the Rochester N.Y. station WHAM and worked and managed stations in the Finger Lakes.
"He started working in radio in high school, and just couldn't retire," said Shirley Penrod. "He really listened to the answers of the questions he asked, and that made a difference."
In Hernando County, Penrod acted as the face of the station, and always looked forward to Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, according to Barbara Manuel.
"He always had the chamber ladies in there, and said he was in the studio with a bunch of beautiful women," Barbara Manuel said.
"Bob absolutely loved broadcasting, it was just in his blood, and even when he was sick he wanted to keep working," Barbara Manuel said, "I don't ever remember meeting anyone that had such a love for their job, their passion."
Richard Linkul, marketing director for Oak Hill Hospital, said he had known Penrod for about eight years, and first got to work with him on the hospital's community advisory council.
"He was such an avid supporter of our community, always complimentary of others and a positive spirit in the room," Linkul said. "He will be so dearly missed."
Linkul recalled Wednesday that Penrod was a lover and collector of model trains, and that his "eyes would light up" when asked about the pastime.
Shirley Penrod said she plans to scatter some of Penrod's ashes in Altoona, Pa., where he's traveled "every year since he was a little boy" to see trains slowly traverse a horseshoe curve in the Allegheny Mountains.
Penrod had a great interview style, according to Linkul, which left the interviewee feeling like they were "having a nice conversation with their closest friend."
"He was certainly very unique in his talents and loved his community so so much," Linkul added.
Craig Bolton said he didn't know Penrod personally, but has listened to his shows over the years and occasionally called in.
Bolton said Penrod was a good listener, an imperative trait of a good talk show host.
"Bob was very good at that, he didn't walk over anybody when they were speaking," Bolton said. "A lot of talk show hosts make that mistake."
A memorial service will be held for Penrod at Brewer Funeral Home on Sept. 6. Shirley Penrod said visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., followed by a simple celebration of life and buffet. Penrod said donations to ALS would be appreciated in lieu of flowers.