SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — WiLD 94.9 radio hosts of “The JV Show” read news on Thursday that they hoped would never come. Hosts Selena and Graham were hosting the show live when they learned that a body found in the San Francisco Bay next to Pier 39 was confirmed to be Jeffrey Vandergrift.
Selena said, “Yesterday a body was found at Pier 39. I was hoping and praying that it was not JV. Our last show with him was February 23. Moving forward without him, I can’t even wrap my mind. It’s always going to be ‘The JV Show,’ especially as long as I’m here at wild.”
As the voice of WiLD 49.9’s popular morning shows, Vandergrift was a Bay Area icon. His love for radio, deep knowledge of music, and unmatched comedy wit resonated with longtime listeners for decades.
Radio hosts Graham and Selena have kept “The JV Show” on the air despite struggling with sadness and grief ever since he vanished hours after he hosted his final episode. He was reported missing to the San Francisco Police Department on February 24.
A coroner has not yet confirmed his official cause of death. Vandergrift suffered from Lyme disease and “he was going through absolute hell” from chronic symptoms, Selena said.
Graham said JV was his idol. He said, “I wanted to be JV. What this guy does is incredible. He was a visionary. He accomplished so, so much. He’s gotten me through tough times in my life. I am blessed and lucky I got to work with him and share this show.”
JV talked about his health struggles with Lyme disease on his radio show, but most listeners did not know how bad his struggles were behind-the-scenes.
Graham said, “Most people listening had no idea what he was going through. It was magic what he was doing, that he was still able to come to the show and do what he did. Between shows, he was broken.” JV was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2021.
His fans called into the show Thursday sobbing and expressing their deepest condolences. A memorial of flowers left by fans grew outside WiLD 94.9’s station.
Graham said one of JV’s most remarkable accomplishments was his impact on countless listeners’ lives. “That listening family was a family. He created that, it’s incredibly special and unique. There are so many people who grew up with JV, he was part of their family and lives for such a long time,” Graham said.
Selena said JV was an incredibly kind person. “The JV Show” hosts asked listeners to pray for Vandergrift’s family, including his mother, sister, and wife.
JV’s wife, model and actress Natasha Yi, wrote a message on social media March 1 when he was still missing. She said “personal information” had been found indicating that he wasn’t coming back. “Please forgive my silence during this time – my heart is utterly broken, and the pain feels unbearable,” Yi wrote March 1.
Vandergrift devoted three decades to radio and entertaining early risers. He launched “The JV Show” in 2009, and “The Dog House,” in 1994. He also had a recurring segment on KRON4 called “Check-in With Wild 94.9’s JV.”
The Fremont native wrote a lengthy Facebook post titled, “Lyme & Suicide” six months ago.
In the post he wrote, “As someone who is currently battling Lyme, I can tell you that most people that try to escape this world are not doing so because they are depressed. It is because of the daily torture that this disease puts the individual through. The physical symptoms are brutal, however once these microbes cross the blood-brain barrier, what it does to the brain cannot really be put into words. I currently have multiple infections that are active—each can affect the brain in different ways.”
JV wrote, “What matters most are the things of a spiritual nature. I’ve learned that hope is one the things we can give others that are trapped in darkness. Every time this happens it colors the soul of the person that gave it.”
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day. If you need help, call 988.