Rick Roberts, former manager of KTSU

By Andrew Lapin

Rick Roberts, general manager of Houston’s KTSU until his retirement in 1995, died March 21 from complications from a stroke after he was reportedly assaulted in his home. He was 72.

After the March 2 assault, Roberts was found by neighbors and was unable to communicate. Family members told the Houston Chronicle they believed Roberts’s house had been burglarized. Police are awaiting results of an autopsy to determine whether foul play was involved, the Chronicle reported.

Roberts joined the Texas Southern University–owned NPR affiliate and jazz-format station as program director in 1989 and became g.m. in 1992. In addition to his management roles at KTSU, Roberts called broadcasts of basketball and football games of the university’s athletic teams. He retired after suffering a stroke while on the air.

Prior to public radio, Roberts worked for commercial AM stations KYOK in Houston, where he became a popular on-air personality, and WBOK in New Orleans.

“He had a major, major impact, not only formatically and programmatically for the station, but especially on the students that were under his tutelage,” said Charles Hudson, KTSU operations manager and director of gospel programming. Hudson had been a student at the university during Roberts’ tenure as g.m.

“The general thought of him dying as the result of an assault just mesmerizes me,” Hudson added. “It’s a very tragic way for someone of his stature and his character to go.”

Roberts is survived by his wife, Mable Roberts; two sons, Kevin and Michael; two daughters, Kecia and Latoya; and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

This article was originally published in Current, April 1, 2013.
Send obituary notices to lapin@current.org

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