CARRYING THE TORCH

As I sit in Bittner's office, a man who identifies himself as Bill leaves a message. "How are you feeling, Bob?" he asks, offering any help Bittner may need.

"People call all the time asking to volunteer," Bittner says. But he can't take them on; his for-profit status dictates that he's a one-man show.

That could change. One of Bittner's ideas for retirement is to sell the station — and his collection — to a non-profit group willing to carry the torch.

That idea doesn't thrill Al Deadrick, who's drawn to Bittner's single-mindedness. "Part of its [the station's] success is that it's Bob Bittner's monomania," he says. "I shudder to think about what will happen when he's gone."

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