Photo by Ella Gahnt
||BOB PERKINS was born and raised in South Philadelphia, and as
a child listened to radio day and night. His father loved radio, and repaired them as
a hobby, so there was almost always at least one radio on in the Perkins household from
dawn till sometimes well past midnight.
Bob wandered into a radio station in Detroit in 1964 while on vacation, and was offered a job. He returned to Philadelphia, but went back to Detroit weeks later to live and work in radio. He eventually worked at three Detroit radio stations in five-years--learning different aspects of the industry at each one. One station hired him as Program Director for its all-jazz operation; another station employed him as its Assistant News Director.
Bob was lured back to Philly by WDAS in late 1969, and was hired as a newsman. In three-years he became News Director. The following year he also became Editorial Director, writing and voicing the daily editorials for both WDAS and WDAS-FM. He remained at WDAS for 19 years.
While at WDAS, Bob also wrote opinion columns for the Philadelphia Tribune and the Philadelphia New Observer--and for 20 years, he hosted a Saturday night jazz program at WHYY-FM. During his 43 years in broadcasting and print journalism, 37 years were spent in Philadelphia.
Bob has amassed over three-dozen awards (bestowed by journalistic organizations, or community groups) for either journalistic excellence, or for service to the local community
Bob's major broadcast and print honors include a Kal Rudman Milestone in Radio Award, and a Mellon Jazz Community Service Award--in recognition of his years of helping to keep America's indigenous art-form alive, through his columns on jazz, and via his hosting of jazz music programs on radio. Also among his prized memorabilia as a newsman/editorialist, are invitations to attend two White House news conferences-one each from presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
In 2003, Bob was inducted into the Philadelphia Broadcast Hall of Fame-enshrined with broadcast legends, John Facenda, Larry Kane, Dick Clark, Herb Clarke and Ed Bradley to name a few.
Since joining Temple University's radio station, WRTI-FM in 1997, Bob's knowledge of jazz programming has helped increase the station's week-day jazz audience--and doubled the station's Sunday jazz audience. This has been accomplished in large part, through his introducing many of the station's classical listeners to modern jazz--a music quite a number of them previously thought they didn't like.
Bob resides in Glenside, Pa., with his lovely wife Sheila