One of the most beloved air personalities to ever work in the radio business has lost his battle with bladder cancer.
National Radio Hall of Famer and Country Top 40 host Bob Kingsley passed away Thursday (10/17) at the age of 80.
He resided in Weatherford, Tex.
Kingsley began his storied career in radio in 1959 in Iceland, working for the Armed Forces Radio Service. Early career stops included Los Angeles Country stations KGBS and KLAC, which was a format leader during the 1970s.
In 1974, Kingsley became the producer of nationally syndicated American Country Countdown, started one year earlier by Casey Kasem and Don Bustany as a spin-off of American Top 40.
In 1978, Kingsley succeeded the show’s original host, Don Bowman, where he remained until 2005.
In 2006, Kingsley launched Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40. He was this program’s host and continued to be at the helm until his passing, Country Aircheck reports.
Kingsley was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 1998 and became the format’s fifth representative in the National Radio Hall of Fame upon his induction in 2016. Kingsley was also the inaugural recipient of the Living Legend Award, later named for him, in 2014.
Country Aircheck founder Lon Helton, also a countdown host and a veteran of country radio, tells RBR+TVBR that Country music lost an icon.
“For more than 40 years, Bob was the voice of Country to the music’s fans around the world,” Helton said. “He counted down the week’s biggest hits for them and told the stories behind the songs and the singers, strengthening the bond that is so central to core of the relationship between country fans and stars. He championed new artists and songwriters. Bob was the gold standard for all of us in Country radio; an American original. A gentleman, and a gentle man, through and through. Weekends will never be the same without the sound of Bob’s voice.”
A celebration of life will be held at the CMA Theater in the Country Music Hall of Fame on November 14 at 1pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Kingsley’s name to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.
— With reports from Country Aircheck, in Nashville.