Faye Gade, the owner of Jersey Shore radio station WHTG, died on Thursday (Jan. 29) at the age of 65. Specifics surrounding Gade’s death have not been released, but the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s statement revealed that she passed “after a long illness” (via All Access Music Group).

Gade was the daughter of Harold and Theo Gade, who founded the station in 1957. She took over ownership in the ‘80s, handling the station’s transition to alternative rock in 1984 and making it one of only 10 stations at the time to take on the format.

“She was really pleased by it,” said Mike Marrone, WHTG’s music director at the time (via Asbury Park Press). “The station back then was really well respected in the industry for our taste in music and our standards – we didn’t take money to play records, we played the music that we loved and she enjoyed that.”

That music included a heavy rotation of the B-52s, the Smiths, the Cure, R.E.M. and more. It also led to visits from the likes of Gwen Stefani, Jewel, Joey Ramone and others.

Jon Vena, who worked for the station between 1994 and 2000, noted that Gade was one of few women in the industry at the time. “It was a very male dominated form of media,” Vena said. “It was ground breaking that she owned that station and she made the final decisions on almost everything.”

Matt Pinfield, best known as an MTV and VH1 on-air personality, started at the station in the mid-'80s and rose to the Program Director position by the early '90s. In fact, in 1998, he hosted an episode of MTV's 'Say What?' from the station:

Gade went on to sell WHTG to Press Communications in 2000. In 2009, the station flipped formats to Top 40, and in 2010 it went to country with the new call letters WKMK.

As Diffuser remembers Gade's impact on the world of alternative rock (and radio), we offer our condolences to her friends, families and listeners.