Talk pioneer Neil Rogers in failing health


Former WQAM-AM Miami talk host Neil Rogers has been hospitalized since last month, following two heart attacks and a stroke this year. But his attorney says there are other health issues as well and Rogers, who recently turned 68, is not expected to recover.

Rogers ended his radio career in 2009 after 33 years on the air in Miami. His caustic delivery and liberal views made him enemies as well as fans, but also delivered big ratings. He took his successful show from WKAT-AM to WNWS-AM, WINZ-AM, WZTA-FM, WIOD-AM and finally to WQAM-AM. Controversial to the end, Rogers agreed to a settlement with Beasley Broadcast Group which took him off the air in June 2009, a year after he’d signed a new five-year contract, and made him a consultant. He’d actually been off the air since the previous month, having been suspended by Beasley’s WQAM for dropping an f-bomb on the air.

Although he no longer had a radio show, fans continued to listen to archives of his past broadcasts on Rogers’ website. More recently the site provided updates on his health. Featured there now is a statement from Rogers’ friend and attorney Norman Kent.

“Neil did not go to a hospice to recover. Doctors tell us there is no reason to believe he necessarily will. You see, he faces more than heart issues,” Kent explained.

“Just as Ronald Reagan had the courage to tell America a quarter of a century ago that he was an American afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, so too must I share with you that Neil Rogers is suffering from progressive vascular dementia, a very common form of dementia characterized by blockages in the blood supply to the brain, which lead to neurological symptoms. The complications associated with Neil’s diabetes and the corresponding stroke, have functionally impaired his cognitive abilities. He is not always aware of his circumstances and surroundings. The progressive deterioration and decline has been rapid; significant since Thanksgiving,” the attorney said.
“Neil is also suffering presently from ‘Sundowners Syndrome,’ also known as sundowning. It is a symptom often associated with the early stages of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. It is an uncomfortable sleep and mood disorder which causes sufferers to experience periods of extreme agitation and confusion during the late afternoon or early evening hours, leading to irritability towards even caregivers or hospital staff,” Kent said of his friend’s deteriorating health.
“Far from being alone, Neil is on a daily basis surrounded by his longest and most loyal intimate friends and acquaintances. He has 24 hour around the clock nursing care, and he has also, when lucid, been buoyed by multiple colleagues in the broadcast industry reaching out to him, stirring nostalgic remembrances of days that once were,” Kent said. He thanked Rogers’ fans for their support and affection, but noted that there would no longer be any need for daily updates on his medical condition.