Every time he gets in front of the microphone, Bob Kingsley adds to his status as the most listened-to radio voice in country music history. The Host and Executive Producer of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, far and away the most successful show of its kind, has been the king of the country countdown for four decades now, and to hear him tell it, the process retains every bit of its magic.
“I love the music and the people who make it,” he says, “and I want our listeners to have as much insight into both as it’s possible to give them, and to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.”
Bob’s love for the genre, its people and its history has always been evident in that warm, rich voice, and the combination has given him both a vast and loyal audience and legendary status within the industry. He has twice been named the CMA’s National Broadcast Personality of the Year and his show received Billboard’s Network/Syndicated Program of the Year award an incredible 16 times. He has been voted National Air Personality of the Year three times by Country Radio Broadcasters and Country Aircheck. Bob received the ACM’s National Broadcast Personality of the Year Award in 2007 and was chosen as the recipient of the 2012 President’s Award by the CRB. He was inducted in 1998 into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame.
The event that perhaps most tellingly combined acknowledgement of his legendary achievements with the deeply held affection of the industry came in February 2014 when friends and colleagues gathered on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry as Bob received the Living Legend Award. Accolades came in tribute and in song by the likes of Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Reba, Alabama, Martina McBride, Wynonna and a host of others.
For Bob, the path to such success has been straightforward. “It’s always one listener at a time,” he says. “I focus on that one person, maybe with a cup of coffee at the kitchen table or in a car driving down the road, and talk directly to him or her. I’m sharing stories I find fascinating, and if I do my job right, hopefully they’ll share my passion.”
Bob’s love for radio and for music dates back to his childhood. “When I was 7,” he says, “I had an illness that kept me in bed for a year. I would listen to the radio, and certain shows became really important to me. It was complete escapism and entertainment. I didn’t realize the imprint it was making, but it obviously stayed with me.”
When he was 18, Bob joined the Air Force and served in Keflavik, Iceland, where he jumped at a chance to become an announcer on Armed Forces Radio.
As he learned the ropes as an announcer, he also developed an appreciation for the country music he was playing. The combination would carry him to legendary stations like KFOX, KGBS, KFI and KLAC in Los Angeles. Then, in April 1974, Bob took a job producing “American Country Countdown.” Four years later, he took over as host, propelling the show to its place as a national and international institution.
In January 2006, Bob launched The Country Top 40, currently distributed by Westwood One. He continues to produce and host specials like his highly popular “Christmas in America” and an annual year-end countdown show.