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Valley broadcasting legend Pete Gabriel dies

YOUNGSTOWN — Radio broadcaster Pete Gabriel, known for starting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Mahoning Valley, has died.

His death was announced Wednesday on the website of News Radio 570 WKBN. He was 83.

His involvement in the long-running parade tradition began with an on-air conversation in 1979 and continued each year, except for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He had commented on his Facebook page: “I am really proud to have created an event involving thousands both in the parade and viewing it. A true family tradition that has been part of Youngstown, Ohio, for half a Century.”

According to 570 WKBN, he was born in Bronx, N.Y. and graduated high school in Sunbury, Pa. He then enlisted in the Air Force and began his radio career in 1958 at Lajes Field, a base 500 miles off shore from Portugal.

After stops at radio stations in Harrisburg, Kansas City and Columbus, Gabriel made Youngstown his home at 570 WKBN.

He hosted programs and served as the program director, according to the station. “He was the architect of the transition from music to talk programming,” it said.

news@vindy.com

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