Millersville University’s Longtime WIXQ Radio Advisor ‘Doc Roc’ Dies at 82 | Entertainment

Ralph “Doc Roc” Anttonen, longtime Millersville University faculty member, radio personality and adviser to student-run station WIXQ, has died at age 82.

Anttonen died Friday, Oct. 21, Millersville University President Daniel Wubah announced in an email Monday afternoon.

Anttonen held numerous positions during his 41.5-year tenure, the longest of which was as Exploratory Programs Coordinator from 1986 until 2013, when he retired.

“Very few people in the history of Millersville University have touched as many people as Dr. Ralph Anttonen, affectionately known as Doc Roc,” Wubah said in a statement.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 5 from 2-3 p.m. at the Pucillo Gymnasium in Millersville, where he spent nearly 50 years.

“A force of nature”

Although Anttonen is best known as an advisor to WIXQ, he was also the voice of men’s basketball games. He was inducted into the Millersville Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

Anttonen got his nickname at WIXQ, he told LNP reporter Kevin Stiriker in a 2021 interview.

New DJ JJ Williams said, “I’m the Duke of Soul”, and Anttonen replied, “Well, then I’m the Doc of Rock.”

Anttonen hosted his radio show, “Oldies But Goodies,” with his wife, former Conestoga Valley School District special education teacher Judy Anttonen. The radio show played music from 1955 to 1962, or the era between Elvis Presley and the Beatles, Anttonen said.

Anttonen and his wife, known affectionately on campus as Mama Roc, had been married since June 9, 1962, according to Anttonen’s Facebook page.

“Without mom, Doc wouldn’t have been the person he was,” said Shane Garcia, a 2019 grad who worked on WIXQ alongside Anttonen.

Anttonen continued to host the radio show even after retiring as the station’s adviser in 2013. His successor, Lowery Woodall, an assistant professor of communications at Millersville University, ended up develop a lifelong friendship with Anttonen.

“Doc was a bit of a force of nature,” Woodall said. “He’s the kind of person who filled a room when he walked in. Whether he liked it or not, he couldn’t help but be the center of attention in any room he was in. , because he was just this incredibly tall man who kind of used to talking with his arms and hands.”

When they hung out together, Woodall and Anttonen often found themselves talking about everything from radio to philosophy to how to better the lives of the students around them.

“He was a character: just this kind of lovable, affable, cartoonish character that made the rooms he was in a lot more enjoyable to be in,” Woodall said.

Woodall, who remained WIXQ’s adviser until May, recalled Anttonen’s big heart on Monday and remembered him as someone who just wanted others around him to be happy.

Legacy at WIXQ

This welcoming, friendly attitude and grace was extended to his students.

“Doc was very responsible for creating a lot of the culture for WIXQ,” Woodall said. “(WIXQ) is kind of considered that home for lovable misfits and people who couldn’t find any other place on campus where they feel comfortable and can be themselves.”

2019 alumnus Garcia, who previously worked with WIXQ, agreed. Garcia said Anttonen understood the often wiley nature of young adults and knew they needed a place to express themselves.

WIXQ grew from a simple, cinder block-laden studio to a colorful, painted studio where students could hang out and be themselves under Anttonen’s guidance.

“He allowed it to happen when he knew other teachers, other counselors, wouldn’t let it happen,” Garcia said.

In 2020, Anttonen contacted Garcia with the idea of ​​starting a podcast to supplement the written story Anttonen collected about the creation of WIXQ.

The podcast, Scholastic Transmission, features over 70 episodes filled with WIXQ history, complete with guest appearances from alumni.

“WIXQ is Doc’s legacy,” Garcia said. “WIXQ was a home, because Doc made sure of it. … He wanted to make sure he was giving everyone he met the home he never had. This is Doc Roc to a T .”

Writer Olivia Miller contributed to this report.

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