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Remembering Erik Van Ness 10 Years Later

photo by Eric Johnson

Today I would like to take a bit of your time to remember former New Jersey 101.5 Imaging and Creative Services Director Erik Van Ness.

Erik was with New Jersey 101.5 in the late 90s and early 2000′s and created some of the most unique radio imaging ever heard on any radio station, anywhere, at anytime.

What is “radio imaging” you may ask?  Well, it’s the recordings you hear on New Jersey 101.5 that talk about New Jersey 101.5.  Station promos like “NOT NEW YORK, NOT PHILADELPHIA”.  I guess the best way to describe radio imaging is just to let you listen to some of Erik’s amazing work:

Erik is not the voice you hear, but he is the person who wrote the copy, picked out the music, did the editing and produced the audio production.

The most memorable radio production Erik assembled was his special mix of “Fire & Rain” that he produced the night of 9/11/01.  We still play it on the air on each 9/11 anniversary.  You can listen to it now on our 9/11 page.  Just scroll down to “Fire & Rain 9/11 Mix”.

Erik Van Ness passed away 10 years ago today, on November 19, 2002 after a life long battle with cystic fibrosis at the age of 28.  The battle he fought was nothing short of heroic, beating the odds of life expectancy.  Toward the end he would haul himself into the radio station lugging around an oxygen tank to keep him alive.  Through it all, his creativity only intensified.

Erik passed during the time of year he loved.  He once wrote;

the remaining leaves find their way to ground one at a time like hesitant high divers.  The smell of wood smoke from a distant fireplace proves Autumn’s presence.  A feeling washes over me.  Reminiscent of Autumns past.

It is incredible to think that he’s been gone a decade.  His influence has been shared with his co workers and can still be heard daily by our listeners.  We can only imagine what audio masterpieces he would have created over the past 10 years. We can only dream of the contributions he would have made in all our lives in that decade.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to his family and all those he touched.

As we note the 10th anniversary of Erik’s passing, please consider making a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

 

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