Bobby Bones (broadcaster)
Bones at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City.
April 2, 1980
Bobby Bones (born Bobby Estell, on April 2, 1980) is an American on-air radio personality and entertainer. He is the host of the nationally syndicated weekday radio program The Bobby Bones Show, originating out of WSIX-FM in Nashville, Tennessee, and is the top country music DJ in the U.S.
Bobby Estell (aka Bobby Bones) was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to Pamela Hurt, a single mother who became pregnant at age 15. He was raised in the small community of Mountain Pine, Arkansas, by his mother and maternal grandmother. His biological father was with him until the age of 5, then disappeared. Bobby began dreaming of a radio career around the age of 5 or 6
Bones began his radio career at age 17 at the campus station of Henderson State University, KSH-FM 91.1. He graduated with a B.A. in Radio/Television from Henderson in 2002.
Early professional career
While still in college, Bones went to work as a station hand at KLAZ 105.9 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, but was put on the air within a few days of being hired. A manager there gave him the choice of going on the air as Bobby Z or Bobby Bones. In 2002, Bones was hired by Q100/KQAR in Little Rock, Arkansas. While there, he broke into another radio station (ALICE 107.7), which led to his next job in Austin, Texas, to begin hosting The Bobby Bones Show on 96.7 KISS FM.
Bones’s first full-time radio contract paid him $17,000.
Bones was originally hired for the evening shift on KHFI (96.7 “KISS” FM) and moved to the morning drive shorty thereafter. While in Austin, he met two of his future co-hosts, Lunchbox (in a bar) and Amy (in a restaurant). Neither had radio experience when Bones put them on the air. His executive producer, Alayna, was previously an intern on the show.
Over ten years, the show built its audience into the top-rated morning show in Austin and was syndicated in a few regional markets. At the height of his popularity, Bones was offered a job outside of radio but ultimately chose to remain with Clear Channel.
In the fall of 2012, Clear Channel moved Bones and his show from Austin and its Top 40 format to Nashville and a country music format while taking The Bobby Bones Show nationwide. Bones took over the slot hosted by longtime DJ Gerry House, who retired in 2010. Bones now broadcasts from WSIX-FM in Nashville on weekday mornings from 5 to 10am (CT). His co-hosts are Lunchbox and Amy, and features Ray, Eddie, Nada and Alayna. Michael Bryan is the program director.
The Bobby Bones Show has become a regular interview stop for top country music stars, including Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and The Band Perry.
On air, Bones and his co-hosts break the country radio mold with a mix of pop-culture news and information. As Bones noted in one interview, "I'm not a cowboy. I don't wear a belt buckle, or I don't have those traditional old school country music radio elements about me. But from where I grew up and how I grew up, country music has always been the fabric of the music that I've listened to."
In February 2013, The Bobby Bones Show went into national syndication with Premiere Networks(owned by Clear Channel) and was made available via iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio mobile app. The show launched with 35 stations and is currently carried by 68 FM radio stations in the U.S. It is regarded as central to Clear Channel’s partnership with Country Music Television in what’s been termed a “country music media arms race.” According to Clear Channel Radio, which owns WSIX-FM, the show is the number one-rated morning show in Austin, Texas; Wichita, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; and Lubbock, Texas.
Nationally, The Bobby Bones Show is the biggest country music morning show in the country, with an estimated audience of nearly 3 million listeners. The show’s largest market is Washington, D.C., where WMZQ airs it weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.
Bones also hosts the weekly Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones carried on over 100 radio stations.
As part of the Clear Channel organization, Bones was tapped to host the inaugural iHeartRadio Country Music Festival held in Austin, Texas, in 2014. He presented the award for Country Song of the Year at the first iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.
Bones appeared in the 2009 feature film, Bandslam, with Vanessa Hudgens. He has also appeared on the ABC drama Nashville (2012 TV series) and has been a guest host with Kelly Ripa on Live! with Regis and Kelly.
Since 2012, Bones has been part of the FOX Sports Radio lineup, hosting the weekend sports talk program Roddick and Bones with tennis star Andy Roddick, airing Saturdays from 1p.m. to 4p.m. ET on nearly 300 radio stations across the U.S.
Public profile, controversies and acclaim
Bones is regarded as a different sort of radio DJ. “Without that classic, booming radio DJ voice,” as the Washington Post led in a profile. “He wishes he had it - he tried to fake it - but it never quite worked out.” Bones is known for conducting unscripted interviews, and his willingness to discuss any aspect of his life and work on the air.
Bones, along with his on-air crew, is active with multiple charities. In partnership with TEEMHaiti, Numana, he and co-host Amy created 30 Abes, a Haitian hunger-relief organization. On September 28, 2013, volunteers broke a Guiness World Record with 530,064 meals packed in 45 minutes.
Bones has also come under fire for 'not being country enough.' but makes a point of reading scathing posts and tweets to his audience and argues for the rights of his detractors to criticize him.
Bones makes a point of declaring his devotion as a dog lover and owner of a shelter mix, Dusty.
Awards and honors
For four years running, from 2004 to 2008, Bones was named Best Radio Personality by the Austin Music Awards, presented by The Austin Chronicle and SXSW. The Bobby Bones Show also won Best Radio Program 2007-2008. On April 6, 2014, Bones, Amy and Lunchbox won their first Academy of Country Music Award for National On-Air Personality of the Year, just nine months into Bones’s first year in country music.
- "Bobby Bones Affiliate Stations". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Bobby Bones may be Regis & Kelly co-host". KXAN. Jan 13, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
- Shea, Stewart (March 23, 2014). "Mountain Pine native deals real on the radio, goes nationwide". Arkansas Online. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Shea, Stewart (March 11, 2014). "Country Radio's New Voice". Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- Dinges, Gary (Oct 9, 2013). "Bobby Bones Austin's Top Morning Host". Austin 360. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
- Trigger (Jan 13, 2014). "Clear Channel DJ Bobby Bones May Be Looking to Leave Radio". Saving Country Music.com. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- Shea, Stewart (March 11, 2014). "Country Radio's New Voice". Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- "Air talent is radio’s new country crossover". Inside Radio. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "The Bobby Bones Show". Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- Rau, Nate (Sep 24, 2103). "Bobby Bones pops modern sound to top of country radio". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "Bobby Bones Shifts From Top 40 To Country, Launching Daily National Country Show And Weekend Countdown Show". Feb 23, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "Bobby Bones Show Affiliates". Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Top On-Air Radio Personality Bobby Bones Ink Long-Term Contract". Clear Channel. June 18, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones". Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean & more tapped for first-ever iHeartRadio Country Festival". iHeart Radio. Jan 8, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Bobby Presents at iHeart Radio Awards". May 1, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Bobby Bones on Regis and Kelly". Jan 28, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- "Andy Roddick Fox Sports Live Host". May 22, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- Yar, Emily (March 18, 2013). "Bobby Bones, new to WMZQ, hosts a different kind of country music morning radio show". Washington Post. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Red Cross Partnering with Bobby Bones Show for Celebrity Auction". May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "30 Abes". Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- "Most Hunger Relief Meals Packaged in One Hour". Guinness Book of World Records. Guinness World Records. September 28, 2103. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- Rau, Nate (September 24, 2013). "Bobby Bones pops modern sound to top of country radio". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Austin Music Awards". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- "Radio Award Winners Announced for the 49th Annual Academy of County Music Awards". Academy of Country Music. February 18, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
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