RIP Russ

Longtime Dallas radio DJ Russ Martin found dead at Frisco home

Longtime Dallas radio DJ Russ Martin found dead at Frisco home

DJ Russ Martin
He'd been on the air in Dallas for more than 30 years. Photo courtesy of Russ Martin

Longtime Dallas DJ Russ Martin was found dead at his home in Frisco on February 27; he was 60.

According to a police report, Frisco police responded to a call at Martin's residence in the 6300 block of Douglas Avenue in Frisco, after a friend found him unresponsive. Martin was pronounced dead at the scene; the cause of death is yet to be determined, but foul play was not suspected.

Martin, who was born Russell Dale Martin on October 4, 1960 and grew up in Pleasant Grove, was a Dallas radio personality for more than 30 years. He rose to fame after joining rock station KEGL 97.1 "The Eagle," where he did the morning drive-time slot after The Howard Stern Show left the station in 1997.

He subsequently hosted The Russ Martin Show on KLLI Live 105.3 in Dallas until 2008, when KLLI switched to sports, then returned to the Eagle in 2010 to do the weekday afternoon show.

Martin also worked for the Satellite Music Network and worked part-time for Z-Rock.

Jeff Skin Wade, one half of the Ben & Skin Show which airs weekdays from 2-5 pm, shared a thoughtful memorial, saying:

"We're saddened by the passing of radio legend Russ Martin. Russ was a hilarious, beloved, and larger-than-life talk radio trailblazer in DFW for many years. When not making us all laugh, he showed tremendous heart by working tirelessly in our community to support first responders and their families when they needed it most. We were fortunate to work alongside one of the single most influential radio hosts in DFW history. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends, as well as his co-hosts and thousands of fiercely loyal RMS listeners."

Martin was a controversial figure, dubbed a "shock jock," who championed animals and contributed to charitable causes, particularly for first responders, including a foundation that raised money for fallen police officers and firefighters. He was also arrested for assault against a girlfriend in 2008, and was the victim of an armed robbery in 2015.

A big car buff, he had a collection of legendary cars that included the Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch, the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, and a Batmobile.

The Eagle called for fans to share their memories on Twitter.

"It's with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of 97.1 The Eagle's Russ Martin," the radio station tweeted. "He will be dearly missed & we send our deepest condolences to his family & friends during this difficult time. We’d love to hear your favorite memory of Russ Martin below."

"I used to listen to his show on the drive home from work, and when Russ would go off on a tear he would have me laughing so hard that I was afraid I'd swerve off the road," said one fan.

Another said, "He was the talented and comical part of Dallas Radio. He did so much for the community with his work with animals and Police & Fire."

"I tuned in every day for 5 years on my way home from work," said one. "I was so excited to get my first car when I was 18 & just listen to him banter on about stuff. Definitely made my hour long drive much more bearable. Rest In Peace, Russ."