Longtime Radio Industry Figure Steve Lapa Dies


PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLA. — He owned, operated, or managed some 28 different radio and TV stations from West Palm Beach to the San Francisco Bay Area. From 2014-2018 he headed up network and syndication sales for The Bob & Tom Show. Now, many in the radio industry are pausing to pay tribute to Steve Lapa, who has died at the age of 72.

Lapa, who penned a weekly column for TALKERS Magazine, also was known for “3MinutePlanner.com,” a sales instruction website. News of his passing was first shared by TALKERS; a Dignity Memorial post as RBR+TVBR reached its Friday news deadline confirmed the report.

In 2009, Lapa was General Manager of WFTL-AM 850 in West Palm Beach under the ownership of James Crystal Enterprises. By early 2014, Lapa was fielding calls about missed payroll at both WFTL and sibling WMEN-AM 640; James Crystal Enterprises would end up filing for bankruptcy just weeks later, with its stations going to broker Mark Jorgenson.

Fast-forward to September 2021, when Lapa was involved with Newsmax in the development of its audio content helmed by the WCBM-AM 680 in Baltimore-based Rob Carson. Lapa served as a consultant through his Lapcom Communications.

At age 25, Lapa became the youngest General Manager in the U.S. of a group-owned top 30 DMA radio station, when he led WGRQ (now WGRF-FM) in Buffalo at a time when it was Album-Oriented Rock under the “Q-FM 97” brand. As 1978 came to a close, Lapa would trade the Bills for the Buccaneers by becoming GM of WYNF “Y95” in Tampa-St. Petersburg.

By July 1982, he was General Sales Manager of WVCG-AM and WYOR-FM in Miami. Given his sales prowess, he was tapped by Burkhart/Abrams & Associates, a major radio industry consultancy of the times, to head up “GRID 1,” a new sales consultancy. The effort proved to be short-lived, as he would take on the role of GSM for WDZL-39 in Miami. In August 1984, Lapa would return to radio, taking the GSM role for Century Broadcasting’s KMEL-FM in San Francisco just before its Top 40 rise in the ratings.

By April 1994, Lapa was an operating partner and Executive VP/GM of WOVV-FM (today iHeartMedia’s WLDI) in West Palm Beach, which his group sold to Fairbanks Communications. He’d stick around. In May 1997, Lapa was also in charge of Soft Adult Contemporary WRLX-FM 92.1, a ratings leader at the time and a Fairbanks sibling.

A funeral service will be held on Sunday (6/30) at 10:30am at IJ Morris at Star of David of the Palm Beaches at 9321 Memorial Park Road, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 33412. Donations in Lapa’s memory made be made to Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens.


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