The Christian Radio & Records Industry is mourning the loss of one of its own this weekend. Longtime Christian Radio programmer and air personality Jeff Taylor passed away Saturday (11/7) from a heart attack. Jeff was only 55.
Most recently Jeff was morning host at KCBI/Dallas until 2019. He was also with WSOR/Ft. Myers, Power 92/Fargo and the WAY-FM Network. In addition Jeff worked in mainstream radio as the PD at KISS-FM in Fargo, and also worked for Z-103.3 in the Lakes Region of Minnesota. Please keep Jeff’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Jeff’s life and career touched many people.
HisAir would like to honor Jeff with the words of many of his friends and co-workers thru the years that crossed paths with Jeff… We’ll all miss you dearly Jeff Taylor.
I’ve known Jeff Taylor for about 35 years. Before we started Way-FM, I worked at WSOR Fort Myers. In the mid 1980’s, the station management allowed me to oversee a Saturday night youth outreach show called Lifeline. Jeff started interning and after some coaching started hosting the show occasionally. A few years later, he came up to me at a birthday party… pulled me off to the side and said “hey I heard thru the grapevine you might be starting a full time CCM station for young adults. If your dream comes true, PLEASE keep me in mind”.
I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Years later Jeff and I would laugh about it because he ended up being the GM of that station. Jeff was the most passionate, hard working guy we had back then. He absolutely loved doing the morning show and groomed so many people……..people who went so far in radio and they would say that Jeff was the reason. He loved his staff so so much. He treated them like family. Dozens of people who worked for him would say that he cared for them like a big brother would and then some. I am so glad that I was one of the lucky ones who knew Jeff for such a long time. His love for his family also was so inspiring. He knew God’s grace covered our failures….every single one of them and made that the theme of his life to which we are all grateful. – Bob Augsburg/WayFM Founder/President Emeritus
Jeff was a gifted communicator both on and off the air. He had this ability, almost a compulsion, to make sure everyone was welcome and felt loved. He had an amazing ability to see potential in people, both professionally and personally, and found the way to help them find hone their skills and find their place with their gifts. I was always proud of his willingness to share the struggles and hard spots – that can be such a hard thing to do and such a gift. He went above and beyond to let you know you mattered to him and to Jesus. – Jeff Connell/Former PD WayFM
A lot of people knew Jeff Taylor as a radio guy, as the guy who both on the air and on social media loved to be doing life together – in as real and honest a way as he could. He didn’t hide that he wasn’t perfect, but he also didn’t hide just how much he LOVED God’s grace. I knew him more than that though; not only was he my first boss in radio and eventual cohost of the morning show, he was truly family. He took me in when I was just a young kid out of college and it grew into a strong bond. We were brothers, and I’ll miss our regular phone calls and conversations. While everyone else may miss his talks about his famous “pork chops of love”, grace, and everything going on in his life, I’ll miss most my brother and friend, the guy who truly believed in showing love to everybody, not only in words, but in deeds. He will be truly missed. – Steve Shore/WayFM Network Assistant Program Director/Music Director
Jeff’s passion for people was so contagious. Working with him at WayFM, his energy would fill up the room. I learned a lot about fundraising from him because he knew how to connect with others on and off the air. – Ace McKay/WDJC Morning Co-host
Jeff Taylor and I sat across a microphone from each other for six years. I have served in radio in Dallas/Fort Worth for twenty-two years now, and I can tell you he was one of the most talented broadcasters I’ve ever known. Jeff had a way of reaching through the radio and grabbing you by the heart. Because his security truly was in Christ, he could voice his deepest struggles. He didn’t want to “broadcast,” he wanted to “do life together.” He shared freely about his son Tommy’s autism. He spoke openly and honestly about his struggles with depression and alcoholism. More than anything, he wanted you to know that if you struggled, you didn’t struggle alone.
A decade or so before I’d met him, Jeff had encountered the grace of God in a way that changed him forever. His eyes lit up as he recounted the way Jesus pursued the worst of sinners. “The only thing you bring to your salvation,” he would say, “is the sin that makes it necessary.” What a message of hope for a broken world. I find the deepest comfort knowing that Jeff is in the arms of his Savior, fully and finally free. Please join me in praying for his wife, Larisa, his daughter, Kate, and his son, Tommy. – Rebecca Carrell/KCBI Morning Co-host
I think Jeff Taylor’s first love was radio. Until he met his beautiful wife Larisa and had his two great kids Tommy and Kate. He loved radio mostly because it was a way to share the hope and truth of the Gospel to many who’d never heard it shared in such a relatable way. He absolutely loved mentoring interns from Cedarville University, a few of which are some of WayFM’s most talented team members to this day. Jeff had a way of always making you feel better about yourself after spending time with him. He was the ultimate encourager and a great leader who felt like his role as a boss was to help you shine, not the other way around. Jeff was a brother, the dearest of friends and truly one of God’s Good and Faithful Servants. – Kim Harrison/Business Development Coordinator WayFM
I wasn’t even in Christian radio when I first met Jeff. I was a young journalist who left everything familiar in Iowa to take a job as a television reporter in Ft. Myers, Florida. I ended up interviewing him for a story, but he did not let the connection stop there. He knew I didn’t know many people in town and made me feel welcome and included. He often offered me free tickets to concerts, which was a huge blessing to a broke TV reporter. I remember one time I was even able to take my parents along to Third Day because my folks were in town for a visit. Years later I shifted from TV news to morning Christian radio and Jeff introduced me to the industry with a public announcement, offering encouragement and warmth. While we never lived in the same place after that brief crossover in Florida, he never let that stop him from maintaining a friendship or offering an encouraging word. – Alison Storm/Chickfilla podcast host, former His Radio Morning co-host
Jeff volunteered for me when I worked at WAY FM in Fort Myers in the early 90’s. I loved his excitement for Christian radio. Jeff loved people, I’ll always remember that. We lost a good man. – Bill Scott/Chief Client Officer Vidare Creative
Jeff had a passion and enthusiasm for reaching people, whether it was listeners to his radio show, a Sunday School class he was teaching, or his neighbor across the street. He energized those around him, and truly created a family atmosphere with teammates. I knew Jeff well, and when I would do a market visit to our Ft. Myers station, I could feel the energy when I walked through the door. Jeff drove that. He loved his staff, he truly adored Larisa and the kids, and he served God with a passion that is rare. – Jim Marshall/VP of Operations WayFM
The kids would call him Mr. Jeff. He was a fun, Mountain Dew loving goofball! His hugs were spectacular and his encouragement, contagious. If you asked ten people about him they would describe him in ten different ways but with ONE common word- encourager. Jeff would always tell the story to anyone who would listen about how our families rode out a hurricane together. It’s true. We made pb&j sandwiches by the loaf for those few days! They got kicked out of their home temporarily by hurricane Charlie. We were on the other coast of Florida and the next storm kicked US out and we all ended up at Jeff’s Aunt Edie’s house. That was so long ago. Since then we’ve shared a lot of life together. Jeff and our Pastor co officiated our wedding in 2017. That was really special. Many people attribute their relationship with Jesus to something Jeff had shared with them. That’s even MORE special! I will miss him dearly. Larisa, Tommy and Kate as well as Jeff’s parents remain in our prayers. – Donna Cruz/Air Talent
Losing Jeff meant losing a friend I had known and worked with for over 20 years! For many of those years he was responsible for leading and managing the original radio station in the WAY Media Group, 88.7 WAY-FM/Fort Myers, FL. As Chief Operating Officer at the time, I always looked forward to my work trips to Southwest Florida and to hang out with his team over meals. He would often remind me “my team will put their heads through the wall for WAY-FM!” And though he would say that to me jokingly, I knew it was probably true because of his leadership in the field and his strong capacity to nurture relationships. And to their credit, it really was a great team of people there. But much more importantly as a husband, father and brother in Christ, and similar to David in the Bible, Jeff knew how to express his sheer joy in the Lord as well as express God’s grace in the midst of deep pain. Though newer friends of his may know him more for his recent struggles, I will remember Jeff more for his love of life, his frequent reminders how much he loved me, his humor and high energy, and his authentic transparency. I will miss Jeff Taylor. I am grateful he was in my life! – Dusty Rhodes former Senior Vice President WAY Media Group/WAY-FM
I worked with Jeff for almost a year and a half at KCBI-Dallas. He taught everyone around him that it’s ok to be broken, that God’s grace will always prevail. His words of God’s grace is something that I have shared often with many. He was a great encourager and friend that will be greatly missed. – Traci Hite/Promotion Manager Curb Word Entertainment
Words are hard to find in expressing my gratitude for the gift of Jeff Taylor. Brutally honest, real. He always ended our texts or calls with ‘love you man!’ I love you too Jeff. You will be so missed. ‘I can only Imagine’. – Frank Reed/KLTY