Rebecca Pratt, a former radio host from New Orleans noted for her blunt on-air persona and strong connection to listeners passed away at age 55.
According to a police record and WWL-AM, Pratt was discovered dead in her unit by building managers on Thursday in the 900 block of Poeyfarre Street. It is unknown what caused and how the death occurred.
As part of a 2008 reorganization, Pratt, a transgender woman formerly known as John Osterlind or by the on-air moniker Ozone, was one of the out-of-town hosts hired by the conservative talk station WRNO-FM.
Pratt introduced a “rock-and-roll mentality” to the comparatively subdued airwaves of New Orleans, according to Michael Castner, WRNO’s morning anchor at the time, drawing on prior residencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. “Why Today Doesn’t Suck,” a comic history lesson on the current date, was one recurring feature.
Other hosts praised Pratt for her “non-stop” wit, according to Castner. Castner claimed that Pratt had “something inappropriate as a moniker for pretty much everyone,” including other radio station personnel.
Rebecca Pratt words occasionally got her into trouble.
Rebecca Pratt was dismissed from a Boston talk radio station for making a derogatory remark toward Palestinians. According to the station, she told a conversation participant about suicide bombers that Palestinians “had to go.”
Pratt occasionally flouted what Castner referred to as the first rule of radio by having beverages with listeners while off-air. Although Pratt was not a native of New Orleans, Jim Fisher, a former program director for WRNO, stated that her effortless rapport with the public made it work.
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In 2015, Pratt’s tenure at WRNO came to an end. The former record spinner at Boston’s WAAF-FM made a return to her roots at her next location, the rock station WKBU-FM.
Pratt notified friends about her gender transition approximately a year prior, according to Castner, even though she was no longer on the air at the time of her death. Pratt discussed her transition during a May internet radio interview with Parker.
“I know she would love for everybody to know the truth,” Parker said.
Rebecca Pratt’s early life as John Osterlind
John Osterlind was born on March 10, 1967, in Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1985, he received his diploma from Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, Connecticut. In 1987, he graduated from Dean Jr. College in Franklin, Massachusetts, where he worked as a DJ for their campus radio station, 88.3 FM WGAO.
1987 to 2015
From 1987 to 1988, He broadcast overnights on 103.7 FM WWRX, a classic rock station in Providence, Rhode Island.
He broadcast in the afternoons and evenings on the rock station WCCC-FM in Hartford, Connecticut, from 1989 to 1992.
He also broadcast in the evenings on the rock station WAAF FM in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1992 to 1994, and from 1994 to 2001. On WAAF, he was the midday jock and music director.
From 2001 to 2003, he co-hosted the morning show on WRKO AM in Boston with former Massachusetts congressman Peter Blute.
He was the popular evening talk host on WRNO FM in New Orleans, Louisiana. Until the evening of January 7, 2015.
The bogus non-profit “Pencils for Poor People,” which Osterlind and his producer James Parker invented as one of the many running jokes on The John Osterlind Show. Served as the inspiration for the protest Osterlind’s New Orleans supporters staged against WRNO after his firing.
After leaving WGSO on November 2, 2015. Osterlind hosted the morning drive-time show on 95.7 FM BAYOU before being eventually replaced by a syndicated program The WISE Guys. Osterlind then started broadcasting middays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans.