The Passing of a Radio Pioneer

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A retired DJ, one of the most evocative voices on New York airwaves in the early days of FM's ascendancy, died Thursday morning while in federal custody in New Jersey on pedophile charges to which he pleaded not guilty. Dave Herman was 78 years old.

His death was confirmed by his defense attorney, Marc A. Agnifilo, who was notified by a U.S. marshal. Officials said Herman was taken from the Essex County Jail to Newark's University Hospital Wednesday after complaining of chest pains. No official cause of death was released.

Herman, who had been out of the spotlight since retiring in 1998, lived primarily in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and in Airmont in Rockland County, where he has a daughter. He made news in October when he was arrested at St. Croix's airport. According to the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of New Jersey, Dave was at the airport where he expected to meet a 36-year-old woman with whom he had been communicating in Internet chat rooms and by phone, and her 6- or 7-year-old daughter, with the intention of having sex with the child. In reality, he had been talking with an undercover officer from the Bergen County prosecutor's office.

Agnifilo said he hoped the case wouldn't overshadow his client's legacy. This included serving as emcee when Elton's live radio concert on Nov. 17, 1970 (later released as the album, 11-17-70) at New York's A&R Recording Studios was broadcast by WABC-FM.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey said they were moving to dismiss the charges, as is standard practise upon the death of a defendant.

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