Skinny Bobby Harper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Robert Blake Harper[1] (1939 – July 22, 2003) was a Canadian-born[2] radio and video DJ.

Radio[edit]

Harper debuted on the air in Shenandoah, Iowa, where he worked at a radio station to help to pay his college expenses. Much of his job involved playing recorded religious programs.[2]

First making it big in Cincinnati, Ohio at WSAI (AM)[1] and in Kansas City, Missouri at WDAF.[3][4] He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1960s and joined the staff of WQXI[5] radio. WKRP in Cincinnati creator Hugh Wilson had worked with Harper at WQXI and used him as the inspiration for the sitcom's off-the-wall character Dr. Johnny Fever.[6][4]

In June 1965, Harper was fired from WSAI after he was involved in legal problems including three speeding convictions in 14 months and convictions for disorderly conduct. WSAI's owners also fired the station's general manager, who had allowed Harper to continue working up to that point.[7]

While in Atlanta, Harper also worked for seven other radio stations, including WIIN,[8] WPLO,[2] WGST,[9] WLTA,[10] WKLS,[11] WAKY[5] and WSB.[4] Born and raised in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Harper was a die-hard hockey fan and served as a color commentator for Atlanta Flames radio and television broadcasts.[12]

An article in The Atlanta Constitution in 1975 described Harper as the "one-time rascal of early morning repartee for WIIN radio" and said that he was "once known as The King of Bad Taste".[2] In his early years on WIIN, Harper was known for editorializing as he ranted against the Vietnam War and President Richard Nixon. He also made unexpected telephone calls to the White House and J. Edgar Hoover, as well as others.[2]

Television[edit]

Harper left WAKY at the end of January 1970 to return to Atlanta — to work in television, at WATL, rather than in radio. An article in The Courier-Journal reported that Harper "told about a TV show, as yet unnamed, patterned after a Top 40 radio operation, designed to run twice a week."[13] The program, Now Explosion, ran from noon each Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday and from noon each Sunday until 3 a.m. Monday. Harper and Bob Todd were the hosts.[14]

Later in 1970, a different version of the program, The Now Explosion! was broadcast on WPIX-TV in New York City. It premiered on June 20 with a 4:30-6 p.m. broadcast followed by a different episode that night from 11 o'clock to 2 a.m. Harper was described in an article in the New York Daily News as "the off-camera announcer".[15] The programs were recorded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[15]

In 1971, Harper teamed with Freddie Miller on The Miller-Harper Sports Report on WTCG-TV in Atlanta.[16]

Other activities[edit]

After being released from WSB in 1991,[4] Harper stayed in Atlanta but left radio, going to work in the corporate communications office of Delta Air Lines. He went on to work for MARTA and Underground Atlanta before retiring.

Death[edit]

Harper died on July 22, 2003 in Atlanta from lung cancer.[6][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Disc Jockey Lands In Jail". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Ohio, Cincinnati. March 23, 1965. p. 22. Retrieved June 28, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ a b c d e Harris, Art (January 15, 1975). "Skinny Bobby Harper Is Back ... But the 'King of Bad Taste' Has Cleaned Up His Radio Act". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. p. 19. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Wagner, Joyce (September 27, 1974). "John Masterman Joins WDAF Firing List". The Kansas City Times. Missouri, Kansas City. p. 53. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ a b c d e "Radio Broadcasting History: Radio People by Name (H)". 440 International, Inc. 2008. pp. entry for Skinny Bobby Harper. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  5. ^ a b Jones, Paul (July 29, 1965). "2 Public Affairs Programs Tongiht". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. p. 14. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ a b Powell, Kay (July 24, 2003). "Fans can pay tribute to DJ Bobby Harper". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. p. C6. Retrieved June 28, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "WSAI Disc Jockey, General Manager Fired". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Ohio, Cincinnati. June 19, 1965. p. 1. Retrieved June 28, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Students Walk Miles To Collect Dimes". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. January 23, 1971. p. 49. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Gray, Farnum (November 16, 1974). "Skinny Bobby Returns". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. p. 51. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ Newby, Debbie (March 24, 1983). "Skinny Bobby still rocks 'n' rolls on radio". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. p. 82. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ "'Skinny' Bobby Harper Moving to a New Station". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. October 6, 1977. p. 22. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ "Harper To Do Flames Games". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. October 10, 1979. p. 42. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  13. ^ Doussard, James (January 21, 1970). "WAKY's Skinny Bobby Moving On to Atlanta". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. p. 20. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  14. ^ Jones, Paul (March 25, 1970). "Channel 11 Picks Beauties Tonight". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. p. 47. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  15. ^ a b Maksian, George (June 16, 1970). "Now Explosion Set for WPIX". Daily News. New York, New York City. p. 56. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ "(The Miller-Harper Sports Report ad)". The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia, Atlanta. October 1, 1971. p. 75. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]