Salute to Bob Kingsley – One of My Best Days in Broadcasting
Somewhere before the Holidays of 2003, I was working in Dallas for ABC Radio Networks on one of their satellite-fed country radio formats when I got a call from the one and only Bob Kingsley asking little ol' me to fill in for him on his countdown show, after someone picked me up off the floor, I believe I said... yes!
Let me back up just a bit, a few weeks earlier I learned that Bob took a vacation from the countdown show once or twice a year and usually had someone from his affiliate list come to the studio and fill in for him. All you had to do was send in a demo tape (cassette tape, remember those?) and cross your fingers. I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a shot, so I sent one of my demos to his studios in Weatherford, Texas and of course, crossed my fingers.
Sometime later I got "that call" I mentioned earlier, and there he was, Bob Kingsley on the other end of the phone asking me to fill in for him! You can imagine how pumped I was that a Country broadcast legend, Hall of Famer, someone I've been listening to literally since I was in High School was telling me how great I sounded and that he would really like for me fill in for him on his vacation week. That was cool!
Mid-January 2004 my turn arrived, I lived in Arlington at the time so it was only about a 30-minute drive or so out to Weatherford to the palatial Kingsley studios. After meeting everyone I got comfortable in my booth for the next five and half hours of voice-numbing take after take trying to impress Bob and the gang, or at the very least not embarrass myself.
It's interesting how they did the show each week back then, I'm sure a lot has changed since but at that time the show was still being delivered primarily on CD through the mail. So, the show was actually a week behind the real charts. With instant internet delivery these days, I'm sure all that has changed. I was fascinated by all the new insider info I learned about the show and Bob but I will save you much of the "how the sausage is made" details. It was tough, my voice was ready to give up about 3 hours into it, but it was fun and we managed to pull it off. Bob's people made me feel right at home and I learned a lot that day of what it's like to try and read a script with three people talking in your ear, all with suggestions of how to do it better. HAHAHA!
With Bob's passing this week all these memories came flooding back and I just wanted to share them with you. Bob Kingsley was a terrific guy, I didn't know him well, we saw each other at the Christmas party each year, would occasionally run into him in the halls at the ABC Building in Dallas and we talked that one time on the phone, but after listening to the man count down the top country songs on the radio since 1978, I think we all felt like we knew Bob pretty well.
The country music world mourns this week as well as the radio world and millions of fans all over the world, we've all lost a legend we grew up listening to in Bob Kingsley. Rest in peace sir, and thanks again for the thrill of a lifetime for me, when I got to fill in for the late, great Bob Kingsley.