John Eastman was a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was often referred to as “The Dean of Tampa Bay Talk Radio Hosts.” He began his broadcasting career in 1951 at a station in Sioux City and worked at stations in Cedar Rapids, Jacksonville, Mobile, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. He worked in Miami in the 1960’s at WINZ, WIOD and WAME.
In 1977 Eastman arrived in Tampa as a replacement for Stan Major on WDAE AM-1250 and began his “Talk of the Town” radio show that dealt with local issues and personalities. During his two years there, the show was a hit and it wasn’t long before he moved on to WPLP, WTKN, and WNSI. In the 1980’s he also hosted a television morning talk show for four years on WTSP Channel 10.
In addition to his radio work, Eastman co-wrote an episode of “The Fugitive” TV series in 1965, wrote and produced “Rooster,” a low budget film about cockfighting, in the 70’s and did voice-overs for the NFL United Way campaign. He also hosted the annual March of Dimes telethon broadcast locally in Tampa Bay.
When he was diagnosed with the most severe form of emphysema, Eastman’s career came to an end. He successfully sued Philip Morris USA and the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation in 1997 and was awarded damages in excess of $3.2 million for contributing to his nicotine addiction and causing him to have an aortic aneurysm and suffer from emphysema. He told reporters he probably wouldn’t live to collect any of it but he did.
John Eastman was living in Temple Terrace when he died peacefully in his sleep May 4, 2008 at the age of 79.
1977 - 1989 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)