Former WMNF DJ and urban planner Jim Beeler dies

Beeler served as a volunteer DJ at WMNF from 1982— not long after the station's first broadcast in 1979— until 1999. After working in sales and marketing for 20 years, he began a career change in the late 1990s, earning an appointment as a planning commissioner for the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission from 1998 until 2006.

Last year Beeler completed a master's degree in urban planning at the University of Florida. He was also a graduate of the University of South Florida and H. B. Plant High School.

On Wed., Sept. 5, Taylor will devote her WMNF show, Surface Noise, which airs from 6 to 8 p.m., to Beeler and his favorite music. Listeners are welcome to contribute comments to laura [at] or via Facebook.

Among her fondest memories of Beeler are times when he would debate friends and fellow WMNF volunteers about politics. Beeler, a staunch Republican, often found himself in the minority among the political liberals attracted to community radio and Tampa's music scene, Taylor says.

"We all loved him. I respect anybody who has different views but is willing to stand their ground and not reject you and still be your friend," she says.

Update: University of Florida professor Richard Schneider writes in a comment below that UF's Department of Urban and Regional Planning will establish a memorial award in Beeler's honor. Anyone wishing to contribute to this award, which will be given to an entering graduate student, should contact Schneider at rschnei [at]

  • Jim Beeler, photo by Max Reed/INsite Magazine (Gainesville)

Not long out of high school in 1986, Laura Taylor got an invitation she remembers today. One of her radio idols, Jim Beeler, a regular presenter on community radio station WMNF, invited her to spin records for a half-hour on his weekly show.

"I was obsessed with the station because it played everything I liked, from ’60s music to contemporary punk at the time," says Taylor.

Beeler's show, with its playlists of punk rock, New Wave and industrial music, was one of her touchstones. After guest DJ-ing on his show, Taylor went on to become a DJ and development director at WMNF. She also became longtime friends with Beeler, who died in Tampa this morning at approximately 2:45 a.m.

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