Ex-NYC Disc Jockey Facing Sex Charge Dies At 78

Dave Herman, a pioneering New York City radio personality who was in a New Jersey jail awaiting trial on charges in a child sex sting, died Thursday. He was 78.

Herman died at University Hospital in Newark, attorney Marc Agnifilo said. Herman was rushed to the hospital late Wednesday from the county jail after complaining of chest pains, Agnifilo said. No official cause of death was announced.

Herman had been living in St. Croix, where he was arrested at the airport in October on a charge he tried to transport a 7-year-old girl to the U.S. Virgin Islands for sex. Herman had allegedly been awaiting the arrival a 36-year-old single mother with a young daughter that he thought he had been communicating with in multiple telephone and online conversations about arranging an illegal sexual encounters with the child.

Herman had pleaded not guilty to the federal charge, but was denied bail. Agnifilo had suggested that Herman was duped by an undercover police officer.

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

Agnifilo said he hoped the case wouldn’t overshadow Herman’s legacy.

“Some would say he lived his last months under a legal cloud and that’s true, but we should remember him for the decades he gave the gift of music to people,” Agnifilo said.

Herman was a pioneering rock disc jockey in the late 1960s and ‘70s, when he began experimenting with free-form rock music programming, something that was novel at the time on FM radio, according to Paul Heine, a senior editor at Inside Radio, an industry trade publication. Herman worked at Philadelphia’s WMMR, and later worked for decades as a morning DJ at New York City’s WNEW, where he remained until 1998, Heine said.

“WNEW was one of the most watched stations in the country in its ‘70s heyday, and he was a cornerstone of the legendary rock radio air staff there,” Heine said.