By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 15, 2018 at 9:29 AM

The longtime voice of Milwaukee Public Radio, Bruce Winter, has died at age 64.

Winter battled cancer and other health challenges for several years.

"It's going to be more than surreal to walk into the station and not see Bruce in a studio, or at his desk, or in a meeting," says his WUWM-FM colleague Mitch Teich.

"The radio world has changed so much over the years that there are fewer and fewer people with the kind of institutional memory at a station that Bruce had. He was so woven into the sound of the station for so long that it will be many years before his voice goes silent."

Winter, who went to MPS' Pulaski High, attended UW-Milwaukee and got his start at the station at age 17, rising ultimately to program director.

According to a brief bio on the station website, Winter used his Mass Communication degree to land "radio jobs around southeastern Wisconsin as a reporter, traffic guy, deejay and newscaster.

"As WUWM's Program Director, Bruce sets the tone and personality of the station, working with the on-air staff and integrating our locally produced programming with the national shows. Over the years, Bruce has hosted a range of music shows: classical, jazz, easy-listening, adult, and the unique mix of WUWM@Nite and WUWM2: Music 24/7."

News of his passing emerged on Facebook Wednesday, drawing countless tributes to his kindness and support for local musicians and for budding radio talent. Like this one:

Teich says that there will be tributes to Winter on WUWM's "Lake Effect" and Bob Reitman's "It's Alright, Ma, It's Only Music" shows.

A couple weeks ago, Winter posted this video, writing, "'I'll live on, and I'll be strong. Cuz it just ain't my cross to bear.' I miss Greg Allman. So glad there is so much of that music around."

This morning, like every weekday morning for more years than I can remember, I awoke to the sound of Winter's voice.

You will indeed live on, Bruce, and Milwaukee will miss you. Thanks for making sure that so much great music was always around.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.