Bob Perkins (radio)

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From right to left: Bob Perkins, his wife Sheila, and Congressman Chaka Fattah.

Bob Perkins is an American radio personality. He is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-area Jazz program host and (DJ) for WRTI,[1] and has been on air for more than 30 years. His radio career began in 1964 in Detroit, Michigan. He went on to work for WDAS and WHYY in Philadelphia. In 1997 he joined WRTI-FM Temple University Radio. Known for his laid-back and mellow style, Perkins is a favorite of night-time jazz listeners in the Philadelphia area. One of his well-known sayings is "This is BP with the GM!", meaning "Bob Perkins with the good music." He is also an accomplished radio news journalist and a First Call Master of Ceremonies for regional jazz music events. He has earned well over forty different honors and awards from major government, artistic, journalistic and community organizations. Information about his on-air schedule may be found at WRTI's website. Bob once announced that he expected his personal website project to go online in late 2009 or 2010.

Radio career summary[edit]

Perkins is the PM drive time jazz radio personality and host for WRTI-FM Temple University Radio in Philadelphia. He has been with the station since 1997. His knowledge of jazz programming was instrumental to a significant increase in weekday Jazz listenership and a doubling of the Sunday Jazz audience for his time slot. Previously (1988 to 1997) Perkins hosted a well known Jazz radio show Saturday nights on WHYY-FM. Starting in Philadelphia Radio in 1969, Perkins joined WDAS/WDAS-FM as a Newsman and became the News Director after two years. He also became the Editorial Director after another year. His distinctive deep voice and progressive points of view became an on-air signature for the fast-growing FM and AM operations at WDAS/WDAS-FM over 19 years during the 1970s and 80s. Perkins got his career started in Detroit radio over five years from 1964 to 1969. After breaking in as a DJ and announcer at WGPR-FM, he then expanded to news at WCHB-AM while also working as jazz program director for its twin, WCHD-FM. Then he continued to grow working as newsman and assistant director at WJLB-AM in Detroit before his career path returned him to Philadelphia.

Perkins is also a first-call jazz MC. He regularly serves as master of ceremonies for major annual and special concert events in the region, such as the previous and very popular Mellon Jazz Festival Concert Series. Perkins is currently engaged for the annual Cape May Jazz Festival Concert Series and the Tony Williams Jazz Festival Concert Series.

Print media and other projects[edit]

Perkins had a five-year relationship with The Philadelphia Tribune, where he wrote commentary on government, society and public sffairs. He also wrote editorials and other articles for the former The Philadelphia New Observer. Perkins is most proud of his independently produced radio documentary on the life of African-American history icon, Paul Robeson, who was born in the region and spent his last years living in Philadelphia. Perkins has an independent website project under construction, and he expected it to launch by early 2010.

Personal life[edit]

Perkins was born Robert Ellis Perkins on December 6, 1933. He credits his love for radio to his father who repaired radios as a hobby when he was young. There was always a radio on in the house and the foundation for Perkins' involvement with radio as a media was established then. He got his first job in radio during a trip to visit his two brothers in Detroit in 1964. Perkins wandered into the station at WGPR-FM and got a position as on-air DJ and Announcer. He has attended two different White House News Conferences - one each in the presence of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Perkins was born and raised in South Philadelphia and currently lives in Glenside, Pennsylvania, with his wife Sheila.

Honors and awards[edit]

Some of Bob Perkins' major honors and awards for career accomplishments include: The Kal Rudman Milestones in Radio Award; The Mellon Jazz Community Service Award, 2002); Inducted to the Philadelphia Broadcast Hall of Fame, 2003 and the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia [1] Hall of Fame (Enshrined with Philadelphia Broadcast Legends John Facenda, Larry Kane, Dick Clark, Herb Clark and Ed Bradley, to name a few); City of Philadelphia Proclamation by Mayor John Street for Outstanding Contribution to Philadelphia Jazz, 2007; State of Pennsylvania Proclamations at the State House of Representatives and the State Senate for Outstanding Contribution by a Pennsylvania Resident to Jazz, 2007; U.S. House of Representatives Proclamation by Congressman Chaka Fattah for Outstanding Contribution by a Pennsylvania Resident to Jazz, 2007 (pictured above).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hilty, James; Hilty, James W.; Hart, Ann Weaver (2009-12-28). Temple University: 125 Years of Service to Philadelphia, the Nation, and the World. Temple University Press. pp. 154–. ISBN 978-1-4399-0019-2. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 

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