Jerry Lubin, 'air ace' on Metro Detroit’s WABX-FM, dies at 80

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

For a music aficionado like Jerry Lubin, a gig on Metro Detroit’s WABX-FM in the 1960s and 1970s was the perfect gig.

“He loved music and he loved the people who played and made the music," said his sister, Beverly Lubin. “He loved being around it and he loved the excitement.”

Mr. Lubin died Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in California. He was 80.

The former disc jockey had been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 amid other health issues, said his son, Ethan Lubin.

As an original “air ace” at WABX, considered a pioneering station for its progressive playlists, Mr. Lubin reveled in introducing listeners to fresh sounds as well as interacting with performers.

Jerry Lubin

“He was in the right place at the right time because his style fit in with the new revolution in rock radio,” his sister said. “He was a name in the Midwest and people to this day really remember. He was influential in their lives and they loved him.”

His show, “Lunch With Lubin,” spotlighted the DJ’s talents for connecting over the airwaves, said Mark Beltzman, his son-in-law. “There was nobody more authentic, honest, truthful and real than Jerry.”

Born Sept. 21, 1940, in Detroit, Mr. Lubin graduated from the city’s Mumford High School and briefly attended Wayne State University before joining the Army, his sister said.

He later launched his radio career outside Metro Detroit before joining WABX, which ended in the early 1980s.

Jerry Lubin, in a promotional WABX photo.

Mr. Lubin also worked at other stations, including WRIF and WLLZ, according to Detroit News archives. 

At one point, he managed the MC5, one of the acts WBAX championed, relatives said.

Throughout the years, Mr. Lubin dove deep into the music business. “Jerry was an encyclopedia of knowledge when it came to rock and roll,” Beltzman said.

He also had a record collection to match at his Oak Park home. “A wall in our house — it was floor to ceiling records,” Ethan Lubin said.

Mr. Lubin eventually left radio to work for the U.S. Postal Service, his son said.

After his wife, Rosalie, died in 2013, he relocated to southern California to be closer to their children. “His love of family really was the key,” Ethan Lubin said.

Other survivors include another son, Adam; two daughters-in-law Erika and Lauren; and four grandchildren, Colin, Elliana, Zachary and Sebastian. 

Services are pending.