Country Radio Hall of Famer Bob Kingsley was honored last night (2/17) for his 40 years in national radio syndication as part of American Country Countdown (1974-2006) and as host and owner of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 (2006-present), distributed by WestwoodOne. The surprise event, benefiting the Opry Trust Fund, included performances, appearances and taped messages by a mix of industry legends, today’s hit-makers and Nashville’s most influential singer-songwriters. A 50-year veteran of the radio and music industries, Kingsley walked into the Grand Ole Opry House believing he was there to pay tribute to the Grand Ole Opry’s 89th birthday, when in reality, the evening was all conceived to honor him.
“I could not have been more surprised,” said a visibly moved Kingsley, “and I could not feel more honored. I have made a career of country music radio because I love it, and to have my friends in the business, from artists and songwriters to industry executives, tell me my work has made a difference–well it means the world to me. And to have the people I work with day in and day out here to celebrate with me makes it all the more special.”
Nearly 50 artists participated in the evening including 25-plus taped video messages along with in person appearances or performances by Rhett Akins and Thomas Rhett, Alabama, Lynn Anderson, Garth Brooks, Eli Young Band, Radney Foster, Janie Fricke, Jack Ingram, Jewel, Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Will Robinson, Tom Schuyler, Red Steagall, Jeffrey Steele, Tanya Tucker, Steve Wariner, Lee Ann Womack, Wynonna, Trisha Yearwood and Chris Young. Many of the artists who paid tribute commented not only on their professional relationships with Bob but also on their personal friendships. Bob’s dedication and commitment to bringing their music to the fans, while offering insights into their creative processes and personal lives, have made him the most listened-to voice in country radio history.
“What a pleasure to host so many friends on the Opry House stage tonight as we all came together to celebrate one of country radio’s most beloved voices, leaders, and gentlemen,” said Pete Fisher, Grand Ole Opry vice president and general manager. “All of us at the Opry are particularly honored that, just as Bob has made a point to do throughout his career, tonight’s event also gave back to a worthy cause, the Opry Trust Fund. For nearly 50 years the Trust Fund has assisted members of the country music community in need, and I can’t think of a better way to honor Bob’s contributions to the country community than to continue that legacy of helping others in his name.”
2014 marks 40 years since Bob Kingsley first became involved in counting down America’s biggest country hits every weekend. Bob was named American Country Countdown’s producer in 1974, and took over as host four years later. His long and successful run as host set the stage for modern-day syndication, and with the formation of KCCS Productions, he and his wife and partner Nan Kingsley established a highly successful business approach where they distributed and retained ownership of the content created for the show. Bob’s career entered new territory in 2006 with the launch of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, a show KCCS solely owned and distributed, partnering with Dial Global, now WestwoodOne, for national ad sales. Bob’s wins as the CMA’s National Broadcast Personality of the Year awards in 2001 and 2003 and his 2006 Academy of Country Music Award for On-Air Personality-National showed his impressive staying power, bookending 40 years of industry honors that began with 1966 and 1967 trophies as the ACM’s Radio Personality of the Year, during his tenure on-air at KGBS in Los Angeles. Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 can be heard currently on more than 350 radio stations around the world.
A proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Bob has a passion for military-related and other charitable causes. Using his national platform to give back, Bob has been an ardent supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, and he hosts the annual National Cutting Horse Celebrity Cutting to benefit a variety of causes.
*Photos Courtesy of Chris Hollo for the Grand Ole Opry