Host of: 'DCB Jazz
Bob has been a serious jazz person since he was 11 years old, most likely because of his oldest brother, who was also a jazz person, and had the music playing almost constantly in the house. In high school Bob was in a group of 3 other jazz fans (out of a student body of 1800) who tried to foster appreciation for jazz by sneaking Dave Brubeck and Cannonball Adderley 45s onto the local youth center’s jukebox.
They weren’t very successful. But back then jazz wasn’t as well known or accepted as it is now.
Starting in 1965, Bob attended Elmhurst College and was one of the first freshmen to have a radio show in his first semester and, yeah, it was a jazz show. Bob did jazz shows for his entire tenure at Elmhurst and graduated as a speech education major. After graduation he was hired as high school speech teacher and a faculty advisor to the school’s fledgling radio station. Some of his students did jazz shows.
In March, 1973, Bob was hired by the Chicago area jazz station, WBEE-AM because he had written a letter to its parent company offering ideas on how to do a better job of presenting jazz. He started as a morning newsman and occasional program host, but in August of that year was promoted to Operations and Program Director, a gig he held for 8 and a half years.
WDCB was still a part-time radio station that shared a signal with another suburban FM station when Bob joined the staff as a volunteer in 1983, hosting a jazz show on Saturday mornings. As the station became full-time in the latter half of the ‘80s, Bob’s involvement also grew, moving to Monday nights and producing a number of jazz series, such as the “Stan Kenton Anthology” - a 13 part series on the history of the Kenton Band, “Solo” - a program highlighting a single artist each week, and “The Big Bands Never Left” - a weekly program highlighting contemporary big bands (sort of a precursor to Bill O’Connell’s “New Vintage” program). Into the ‘90s Bob was all over the place in the WDCB schedule, doing morning and afternoon drive time on weekdays and finally settling into a 3-hour Sunday night show which featured a section called “Guess Who” combining discussion, education, and listener participation in a sort of Blindfold Test (Downbeat) atmosphere.
Increasing time demands of Bob’s day gig made it necessary for him to stop his volunteering in March of 1987. He retired in 2006, and in 2013 he and his wife built their “bucket list” home near Traverse City, Michigan and Bob started volunteering at WNMC as host of a weekly jazz show. They moved back to LaGrange Park in 2018 to be closer to family, and Bob started popping up on WDCB again.
Spreading and sharing Jazz with an audience has been a major passion for the majority of Bob’s life, and he considers himself very fortunate to be doing it again on WDCB.