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Former WXKE air personality Buzz Maxwell dies

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Buzz Maxwell, who a coworker describes as having one of the great voices in Fort Wayne rock radio, died Wednesday.

Maxwell, whose real name is Richard Davis, is best known locally for the approximately 14 years he worked at rock station WXKE, 103.9-FM. Maxwell left the station and its owner, Summit City Radio, about four years ago, said Rick “Doc” West, the longtime WXKE morning show host and program director.

“He is one of the great voices in rock radio in the history of Fort Wayne,” West said.

Maxwell worked the afternoon drive shift at WXKE.

One of his trademarks was playing Vince Guaraldi’s theme song from the “Peanuts” television specials at 5 p.m. each weekday, West said. The “Peanuts” music signaled an end to the work day and time to unwind, and then Maxwell would launch into WXKE’s “Traffic Jam” set of songs.

“He is a huge part of the 1980s and 1990s with people,” West said.

Maxwell struggled with health problems ever since he’s known him, West said.

Maxwell first was on kidney dialysis, and then received a kidney transplant, West said. Maxwell suffered a heart attack one day while working at the radio station’s control board. He later was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue.

West said Maxwell was loved by WXKE staff.

Once when Maxwell was off work for about six months to recover from medical treatment, West said he and other staffers each worked an extra two hours a day to cover Maxwell’s air shift so the ailing DJ could continue to get paid.

Sharon Rossi, another popular WXKE air personality who died in February, also organized Buzzfest in 2006 to help raise money for Maxwell and his medical care, West said.

“Now we’ve lost both of them in less than a six-month period,” West said.