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Don Cavaleri

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Don Cavaleri was Sales Manager under Bill Prettyman & Charles Giddens during the late '70s & early '80's. He left the station in 1983 to pursue station ownership with Steve Kingston. Sadly, he passed away in October, 2011.



Steve Kingston remembers Don Cavaleri

Don Cavaleri passed away October 16, 2011 after a brief but fierce battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer. Don and I had been friends since meeting at WPGC in the early 80’s. At the time, he was the General Sales Manager, and I was the Program Director. As at most radio stations, the battle lines were drawn; sales versus programming. But as I learned over the years, Don not only excelled professionally as a sales person, sales manager and overall broadcast executive, but had the sensibilities to invest in opportunities and people. He expressed his frustration with corporate life long before it became trendy, and decided to buy stations. I was fortunate enough to join him and his entrepreneurial adventure into radio station ownership.

In 1983, he left WPGC, and we formed a partnership to purchase our first radio station; KZKX, a 100KW FM serving Seward, Nebraska. Making the transition “up market” to Lincoln was truly a worst to first scenario. But he succeeded, and at last check, KZKX still dominates the market. Don possessed the skills and real passion for radio, and my 100 percent trust in his character and talent allowed me to pursue my own career while Don minded the store. We went on to purchase stations in Charleston, Annapolis and eventually St Augustine, Florida, which was close enough to home and he intended to manage, during the launch and for the first few months of the start up.

Don was a true outdoorsman, and of all the properties we owned, Don truly loved Annapolis because of the bay, its close association with nature and the environment, and his love of wooden ducks. When the company was divested and sold off in the early 2000’s for multiples that in today’s world are astronomical, I was committed to Annapolis and Don was committed to a life of golf and retirement. I told him I would prefer not to cash out of WRNR, and persuaded him to stay on. Though he was 1000 miles away, he did.

To the end, he was in my life as a mentor, advisor, consultant and most importantly, a friend. I spoke to Don almost every day over the many years we were friends and colleagues. I will miss my friend, but I know he left us on his own terms; proud, sure, unflappable and with little fuss. He is survived by his loving wife and high school sweetheart Ann, sons Kyle and Chad, and several grandchildren.



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