Longtime Daytona Beach conservative talk radio host Marc Bernier has died after a three-week battle with COVID-19, according to WNDB and Southern Stone Communications, which announced the 30-year veteran's death on Twitter this weekend.
In recent days, Bernier, 65, of Ormond Beach, was being remembered as a conservative who sought out other points of view for his shows, which included morning commentary, a daily three-hour show in the afternoon, shows and specials on the weekends, and more, reports The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The newspaper reports in recent months that Bernier had become an outspoken opponent of vaccinations.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, a longtime guest on Bernier's WNDB show, said that he was "numb" after a representative of the station confirmed to him that the talk show host had died.
"To me, this is a death in the family," said Chitwood, who had appeared regularly on Bernier's show for the past 15 years, first while he was the police chief of Daytona Beach, and then sheriff.
"We had the ability to do that give and take," he said, noting they did not always get along. "You don't have to agree with everything a person says for them to be your friend. I don't think a lot of people get that."
Liberals and conservatives alike said Bernier treated everyone fairly.
Justin Gates, a vice president at Sports Network International in Ormond Beach and friend of Bernier's, said he first met Bernier, a native of Rhode Island, when the radio host moved to the Daytona Beach area 30 years ago. Gates served as the best man at the radio host's wedding.
Bernier and Gates co-hosted the "Weekend Around the House" for a while and the men, both conservatives, reunited last December for another Saturday morning show.
"He gives all sides," Gates said in an interview before Bernier died. "He's not going to bully and throw punches or do potshots or do things for ratings. That's why he's so popular."
Northey, a Democrat who was on Volusia County Council for 20 years, was a liberal who was often welcomed on Bernier's show.
He said he didn't think the host was "as right-wing as what his show is," Northey said. "I think he has an understanding of moderation. ... I find he can be persuaded. He's not dug in on any issue."
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