Donald Berns
Donald Berns
Donald Berns
Donald Berns

Obituary of Donald Berns


August 18, 1947 - March 1, 2015

Don Berns, a North American radio legend of the 1970's and 80's, died suddenly on Sunday, March 1st of natural causes.

After helping found WBRU, the campus radio station at Brown University, Don worked in Providence, Troy and Albany before landing at the Top 40 powerhouse WKBW in Buffalo, NY in 1970.

He involved himself in the local music and community theatre scene of WNY championing bands like "Weekend," "The Road" and Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps. He even recorded his own album under the pseudonym "Ben Steele and his Bear Hans" which featured Don singing deep album cuts of previously recorded works by artists like Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow. The late Harry Chapin performed on the disc as well.

After nearly four years at KB, Berns stunned many of his listeners when he announced a move from his high-energy show to the slower-paced delivery of "progressive" radio at competing WPHD. But after

the station's owners changed formats to top 40, Berns left the Buffalo market for Dallas.

After stints in San Diego, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, Don settled into a dream gig in Toronto at CFNY 102.1FM. He also did voice over work for hundreds of different clients and became one of the most recognizable voices in North America.

After his "retirement" from CFNY he reinvented himself as "Dr. Trance" where he is considered the "Godfather of Toronto's Rave Scene." He helped to produce some of the most legendary events in Toronto's club history.

In recent years he had TV roles and became a fixture in Toronto's theater and Improv scene. He was beloved by many for his outgoing, gregarious nature, and his irreverent sense of humour often ending his correspondence with friends by using quotes like "I used to have a handle on life, but it broke."

A private service is planned for Friday.

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