Bob Durgin

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Bob Durgin
Bob Durgin.jpg
Durgin speaking at a PACleanSweep protest against the General Assembly payraise
OccupationRadio host

Bob Durgin is a former prominent radio personality in Pennsylvania.

Early life and career[edit]

A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Durgin served in the U.S. Air Force before launching his radio career in Europe in 1964.[1] Upon his return, he worked as news director for KTOK in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[1] In 1989, he began working at WHP (AM) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[1] There, his radio show became "consistently popular" and was credited for increasing WHP (AM) to second place in its market.[2] He was named the "Reader's Choice" best local talk show host in the Harrisburg area by Harrisburg Magazine.[3]

The Bob Durgin Show[edit]

He is known for wearing a Stetson hat and cowboy boots[4] and for his catchphrases "Shut Up and Pay Your Taxes" and “Give Me a Physical Break!”[1] His personality has been described as "rowdy"[5] and his political leanings are "conservative."[6]

His radio show was the center of several political events and controversies. During the 1996 election for Pennsylvania Treasurer, Republican Barbara Hafer called Durgin's show to respond to comments by incumbent Democratic Treasurer Catherine Baker Knoll saying that Hafer had misused public funds.[7] Hafer told Durgin on air that Knoll and her daughter, Mina Baker Knoll who was running for the Democratic nomination to succeed her mother, were "lying through their teeth. They are lying scumbags. I'm telling you, they are lying. They are outrageous."[7] Pressed by Durgin, Hafer added "Scumbags, that is exactly what they were. And I'll tell you, if we were in Western Pennsylvania I'd do a South Side salute, and Cathy knows exactly what that is."[7] In a later interview, Hafer did not retract her comments but noted that she might have "second thoughts" about her language.[7]

In 2004, State Representative Tom Creighton introduced legislation that would delay sheriff sales after hearing a segment on Durgin's show about an elderly woman whose home was sold for $15,000 because she hadn't paid $300 in property taxes.[8]

On July 8, 2013, Bob Durgin announced his retirement. “I feel as though, not only am I giving up a career, which is a lot, but I’m giving up a way of life,” Bob Durgin, age 70, said on his show. His last show was broadcast on August 2, 2013.

Political activism[edit]

Durgin led protests against the 1995 Pennsylvania General Assembly pay raise, both on his radio program and as a leader of large-scale protests like "The Rotunda Roundup" rally at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.[4][6]

Following the 2005 legislative pay raise, Durgin's show became "ground zero in Central Pennsylvania for public outrage over the raise."[9][10] Legislators, including Roy Baldwin, noticed increases in the volume of critical emails and phone calls about the pay raise when Durgin did shows about the pay raise.[11] Journalist Tom Barnes noted that Durgin "complains about the raise nearly every day on his show."[12] During the summer legislative recess, Durgin collected over 129,000 signatures that he presented to legislators during a "Rock the Capitol" event upon their return to the Pennsylvania State Capitol.[13][14] He unveiled the petitions by carpeting the steps of the State Capitol, before leading 100 supporters through the halls looking to lobby their legislators to repeal the pay raise.[13] To avoid a confrontation with the protesters, the Pennsylvania Senate recessed for private caucus meetings[13] Aides to John Perzel denied access to his office because of size concerns.[15][16]

In 2007, he was presented with an honor from a reform group protesting the Pennsylvania Society by holding a potluck dinner in the state capitol.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bob Durgin". Welcome to WHP (AM). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06.
  2. ^ Fox, Barry (February 18, 1997). "WINK-FM, Harrisburg, PA., Back on Top of Area Market". The Patriot-News. Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News.
  3. ^ "Simply the Best". Harrisburg Magazine. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Magazine. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-10-18.
  4. ^ a b Baer, Baer (October 26, 1995). "'Repeal the Steal,' Protesters Say Harrisburg Rally Aimed at Raises". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
  5. ^ Baer, John (September 19, 2005). "Protesters pick pig to poke pols". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Daily News.
  6. ^ a b Eshleman, Jr., Russell E. (October 26, 1995). "Hundreds Gather In Harrisburg To Protest State Officials' Pay Raise". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
  7. ^ a b c d Zausner, Robert (February 28, 1996). "Hafer Insults Knoll On Radio Show\She Called Her And Her Staff "Lying Scumbags." Knoll Had Charged She Misused Public Funds". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
  8. ^ Quinn, Justin (January 20, 2004). "Creighton bill targets sheriff sales; Would give owners more time to pay off debts". Intelligencer Journal. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: ProQuest Information and Learning.
  9. ^ Micek, John (September 20, 2005). "Huge pigs? Cows? Pay raise activists milk Perzel remarks; House speaker's farm comments fodder for upcoming protest rally". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Morning Call, Inc.
  10. ^ Adams, Helen Colwell (May 21, 2006). "Waking up Harrisburg". Intelligencer Journal. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: ProQuest Information and Learning Company. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012.
  11. ^ Hawkes, Jeff (August 5, 2005). "Exercise, not pay raise, gets seniors bent out of shape". Intelligencer Journal. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
  12. ^ Barnes, Tom (September 20, 2005). "Lawmakers Facing Big, Fat Protest Rally Against Pay Raise to Feature Inflatable Pig". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  13. ^ a b c "Repeal, repay or resign!' ; 1,500 rally at state Capitol against hike in lawmakers' salaries". The Morning Call. The Morning Call, Inc. September 27, 2005.
  14. ^ Murse, Tom (September 2, 2005). "Rally against pay hikes when lawmakers return". Intelligencer Journal. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
  15. ^ Bumsted, Brad (September 27, 2005). "Message delivered". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Tribune-Review Publishing Co. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  16. ^ Baer, John (September 27, 2005). "Protesters 'oink' lawmakers". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia Daily News.
  17. ^ Murse, Tom (November 30, 2007). "Pack your casserole and head on over to the Capitol". Lancaster New Era. ProQuest Information and Learning Company. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012.