Lee Marshall; the man with an unmistakable voice whom many said was larger than life. He was an icon in the radio and broadcasting world, as well as a mentor and professor at California Lutheran University. On April 26, Marshall died from esophageal cancer. He was 67 years old.
According to the KRIZ Legendary Radio Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame book, Marshall was a Hall of Fame radio broadcaster, 8-time recipient of the Golden Mic Award (radio’s version of TV’s Emmy Award), play-by-play commentator for professional sporting events and the voice of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger.
In his last days, Marshall spent his time as a professor at CLU teaching the Radio Industry and Voice Development classes since 2009.
“Lee was somebody who empowered other people. He opened the door. It’s really what he was all about,” said Scott Alexander, morning host of the radio station B95.1 in Ventura, Calif. Marshall chose Alexander, his former worker and close friend, to take over his teaching duties.
“All the students talked about was how Lee positively touched their lives, he was inspiring to them,” Alexander said.
When asked, Marshall made it clear what part of working at CLU he enjoyed the most.
“He would always say that the best part of his career was teaching the students,” said Beverly Kelley, former head of the CLU communication department. Kelley was responsible for making sure Marshall was hired back in 2008.
“When it was his turn to speak at the KRIZ reunion, the first radio station he worked at, he spent his time talking about his students and how much he loved them,” Kelley said.
Marshall had a unique style of teaching that students found effective.
“It was very different from any other class I’ve taken. There were no tests, no pressure and no grades hanging over your head. It allowed us to show up and learn more about the subject matter,” said junior Scott Peters, co-host of iCLU’s sports radio show “The Hot Corner.” “I was more into his class than any other class I took.”
The knowledge Marshall shared has made a lasting impact on his students.
“Some of his coined phrases were ‘you have my permission to be excellent’ and ‘know your audience,’ which I’ve applied to all aspects of life,” said senior Kyle Dzurko, host of iCLU’s radio show “Kick Back with Kyle.” “Everything he’s taught me up until this point is going to stick with me. There’s always a little piece of Lee Marshall here.”
Although Marshall was a famous figure, he never hesitated to share the spotlight. He was instrumental in connecting many students with job opportunities.
“He wanted us to outshine him. He really pushed us to be excellent in whatever we did, especially in broadcasting, because he had a real passion for radio as it used to be,” Alexander said. “He always ‘mentored it’ out of you, ‘inspired it out of you’ and made you reach down deep into yourself and gave you the tools to be better.”
Along with his character, his unmistakable voice will surely be missed.
“He always walked into the room with just this big, booming voice and it always made my day just a little bit better by hearing that,” Dzurko said.
“I loved hearing him talk. He knew exactly how to get his message to the people who needed to hear it,” Peters said.
Marshall had one last message to give his students, both past and present.
“His wife told me that he said, ‘I love those kids. I treasure every minute I spent with them.’” Kelley said.
Published May 7, 2014