Twin Cities talk show radio host and producer Tammy Raasch had that remarkable combination of effervescence and doggedness that made her one of the best celebrity recruiters in town.
Raasch was so good, said her friend and former colleague Cheryl Kaye, that she was able to get “Today Show” weatherman Al Roker on the phone for an interview right after he publicly admitted to the most embarrassing moment of his life — an, er, accident when he was visiting the White House.
“That’s how amazing she was,” said Kaye.
Raasch, who family members said had faced a long challenge with the disease of alcoholism, died Aug. 30. She was 40.
She was born in Shakopee, and her family moved to Brighton, Mich., when she was in high school, a time when her love of talent and entertaining began to blossom. Her sister Amy Raasch said she would charm even her quietest high school friends into joining school talent shows.
“They would follow Tammy anywhere,” she said.
One high school teacher described her as “the most active Student Council member never on the council,” Amy Raasch said.
After the family moved back to Minnesota, Raasch learned radio broadcasting at Brown College in Mendota Heights. She worked as a legal assistant before making the move into radio in 2008.
Raasch was a talk show radio host and producer on “The Van and Cheryl Morning Show” on KS95 and the My Talk 107.1 midday show “The Donna, Marley and Tam Show.”
“She was, like, throwing a handful of glitter in any situation,” Kaye said. “She was this sparkly, quirky, huggable, adorable unicorn.”
A lot of people in radio have to work at being always personable, warm and natural. For Raasch, it was just who she was, Kaye said.
“Tammy was the most authentic person I have ever met on the air or in general in life,” she said. “She just had a way of seeing things that was unique. She was able to bring that to the air.”
It also worked well for her producing skills, and her celebrity-recruiting job at Nineball Radio, which provided guests for radio programs. Her motto was “Give me their name and I’ll book them,” something she accomplished with charm and determination.
One of the other passions in her life was animals. She routinely rescued lost and abandoned animals and was known for giving them away as birthday presents to her friends and family, Amy Raasch said.
“It started in high school with guinea pigs,” she said. “Pretty much everyone kept them. She was a fierce advocate.”
She once suggested to a friend that they go out and find all the lost dogs in Minneapolis, but he managed to talk her out of that particular project. Her own dog, Lyla, was a mixed-breed rescue who had as much energy as Raasch did, Kaye said.
Raasch had an equally powerful love for family and friends. She was the one Kaye would call whenever she had something wonderful or tragic to share, Kaye said. Even now she has the urge to call her — and, of course, she can’t.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Kaye said.
Raasch is survived by her parents, Gary and Sally Raasch, and siblings Amy Raasch, Jill Serbay, Molly Contos and John Raasch, along with several nieces and nephews.
Services have been held.