JAMESTOWN – A local broadcasting legend has passed away.
Long-time WJTN personality Jim Roselle died Wednesday at his home in Jamestown. He was 89 years old.
Roselle started working at WJTN in 1953 and was in his 61st year at the station, spending 41 summers broadcasting daily from Chautauqua Institution.
He hosted many shows during his time with the station, most recently The Jim Roselle Show weekday mornings from 9 am to noon. He also shared the microphone with his good friend Russ Diethrick on “The Times of Your Life” program on Saturday mornings.
In 2010, Roselle was inducted into New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
WJTN News director Terry Frank spent more than three daces working with Roselle, saying he was a true ambassador of Jamestown.
“He was very much part of the Jamestown fabric. He spoke Jamestown. He talked about Jamestown. He was an ambassador for Jamestown – not just around here and New York State, but he went to Russia as part of the Chautauqua exchanges and other programs. He was just an amazing guy… someone you model yourself after. You try to be as upbeat, as personable and as professional as possible, and that was the epitome of Jim Roselle,” Frank told WRFA.
One of the many career highlights for Roselle was broadcasting at Chautauqua Institution every summer since 1974, where he interviewed hundreds of national and internationally recognized individuals from his broadcast location at Bestor Plaza. Roselle always knew the right questions to ask, which was a testament to his skills as an interviewer.
“I think Jim also epitomized hard work,” Frank said. “He seldom, if ever, went into an interview unarmed. He had read the book the person had written. He read stories about what they had said and what they had done. If there was a controversy with the person, be it a presidential candidate or someone involved with the administration or someone involved in foreign policy, he knew what the issues were. He did the due diligence required for a good interview.
“But he also had a way of disarming the person he was talking to, and that really helped him to get people to open up and respond, so when he asked a tough question, they were more willing to answer it.”
In addition to his hall of fame career as a broadcaster, Roselle was also active in the community. He had been a member of the Board of Directors for the Lucille Ball Little Theatre for over 30 years; the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club for more than 25 years; and the James Prendergast Library. He also had been the chairman for many community events.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Hubert Funeral Home, with visitation scheduled for Saturday, March 26 from 1 to 4 pm and 6 to 9 pm in the Funeral Home. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 12:30 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 am Monday March 28 at St. James Catholic Church. Burial will be in Sunset Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Boys & Girls Club, the James Prendergast Library, or Lucille Ball Little Theater in Jamestown.