Meet WTTF’s Mike Roca

Mike Roca: A painful past and a melodious present

Story and photos by Sheri Trusty, Seneca County Media Relations Coordinator

As a child, Mike Roca pretended to a radio host. Today, he is living his dream job at WTTF.

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you plan. In 2014, WTTF Operations Manager and Radio Host, Mike Roca, thought he knew what the future looked like. That year, he thought, he would continue working as a fabricator and welder while raising the daughter he and his wife were expecting. It would be, he assumed, a milestone year.

Mike Roca lost his job as a fabricator and welder when his daughter was undergoing cancer treatments. When he was ready to return to work, he looked to radio for a new beginning.

Then his daughter, Kendall, was born with Neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerve cells.

Roca spent the next year and a half sitting by his daughter’s side in Cleveland hospital rooms until his boss would no longer tolerate his absences and fired him.

“I lived at the hospital,” he said. “They fired me, and I was out of work for 1 ½ years.”

Roca, jobless, spent his days watching his daughter endure cancer treatments. During that time, his family was surrounded by community support and aid from the Northeast Ohio chapter of A Special Wish, a non-profit organization that grants wishes for children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

“They grant big wishes, but they do small things, too, like provide families with food in the hospital,” Roca said. “The people at A Special Wish are kind, caring people.”

Roca’s father-in-law, Jon Shriver, founded Kruisin for Kendall Poker Run, an annual fundraiser for A Special Wish, to repay the organization for its kindness to his family. This August will mark Kruisin for Kendall’s tenth annual event.

“All the money we raise goes to A Special Wish,” Roca said. “The first year, we raised $2,000. Last year, we raised $25,000. It’s just insane.”

Mike Roca hosts several programs and interviews guests for WTTF in Tiffin and WFRO in Fremont.

Today, Kendall is a rambunctious ten-year-old who has been in remission for eight years, and Roca is living his dream job on the radio.

About six years ago, with his daughter in remission and no desire to return to fabricating, Roca scrolled through online want ads and saw that WFRO Eagle 99, WTTF’s sister station in Fremont, had an opening in the production department. He applied and got the job.

“I’ve always been savvy with musical equipment,” Roca said. “I got the job randomly and worked my up.”

Roca had been inadvertently preparing for the job his whole life. When he was about five years old, he was given a guitar and a microphone, and he used them to host pretend radio shows. When professional wrestling was on TV, he turned off the sound and made recordings of himself hosting the bouts.

“Those cassette tapes are floating in my parents’ garage somewhere,” he said. “From a young age, I was allowed to play music as loud as I wanted. I’ve always loved music and anything to do with music.”


WTTF Operations Manager and Radio Host, Mike Roca, watches the activity of downtown Tiffin from his studio.

Now, Roca plays music all day long in between promoting the people and events around Seneca County. Included in the segments he hosts on WTTF and WFRO are “What’s Happening,” “Entertainment Tiffin,” and “No Repeat Workday.” Each week, he invites local community leaders into his downtown Tiffin studio to talk about their jobs and their lives. Among them are Seneca County Commissioners Anthony Paradiso, Bill Frankart and Tyler Shuff, who appear on the County Corner segment almost weekly.

“From my first County Corner update as a commissioner, Mike has been very welcoming and very engaged in what is happening in the county,” Frankart said.

Roca’s life didn’t turn out the way he planned, but today, with a healthy daughter and a job he dreamed of as a child, life is good. Living this life in Seneca County makes it even better.

“Tiffin is so community-oriented. Our station is focused on community and has been for 60 years,” Roca said. “I like seeing how many people come into downtown. Everyone is so close-knit. I love being a part of it.”