The Bob & Tom Show
The Bob & Tom Show is a syndicated US radio program established by Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold at radio station WFBQ in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 7, 1983, and syndicated nationally since January 6, 1995. Originally syndicated by Premiere Networks, the show moved to Cumulus Media Networks (now Westwood One) at the beginning of 2014.
|Genre||Comedy, satire, talk|
|Running time||6:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M. ET (Syndicated)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Home station||WFBQ Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Produced by||Dean Metcalf|
|Original release||March 7, 1983 – present|
"Focusing on comedy and talk, The Bob & Tom Show is a mash-up of news, sports, conversation, and interviews" which airs new broadcasts every weekday morning live from 6 to 10 A.M. in the Eastern Time Zone (5–9 A.M. Central) or tape-delayed on affiliated stations in other time zones. There is an additional weekday segment which airs between 10:00 and 10:20 A.M. ET only on home station WFBQ. As of February 13, 2017, the post-show segment airs only on select dates rather than daily.
Since January 31, 2011, The Bob & Tom Show has aired on the American Forces Network as the morning show on AFN's Legacy Channel-The World's Classic Rock Station. The Bob & Tom Show repurposes their live morning show as an overnight show called Bob & Tom All Nighter. All Nighter airs 12–5 A.M. on a few terrestrial affiliated stations and their streams.
During the show, live or pre-recorded comic songs and skits are often played, including many from a huge library of archived pieces. There are frequent impromptu "calls" from numerous characters voiced primarily by Steve Salge, Ron Sexton, and Dean Metcalf.
Several guests usually join the primary cast each day in the studio or via phone or satellite, including numerous comedians who tour nationally. The show has frequently featured up-and-coming comedians who went on to become household names, including Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carey, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Tosh, George Lopez, Brad Garrett, Ron White, and Tim Allen.
Professional athletes (including frequent guest Pat McAfee and, in past years, Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday, Reggie Miller, and numerous INDYCAR drivers), musicians, and actors from television and movies are also frequent Bob & Tom guests. The show has occasionally talked with national politicians, although those interviews generally steer clear of controversial issues. Nationally known authors including frequent guest John Feinstein have also been featured.
The show introduced the free Bob & Tom Show App for iOS and Android in early 2016, through which users may hear live streams of new broadcasts on weekday mornings through affiliate stations plus "B&T 24/7," a continuous stream of "Best of Bob & Tom" shows. This marked the first time that a stream of broadcasts from the show's archive became available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no charge to listeners. Previously, "B&T 24/7" was available only to paid subscribers of the "VIP" feature at the show's web site. "B&T 24/7" features segments recorded throughout the show's history, most featuring the original primary cast of Bob, Tom, Chick, and Kristi.
For most of The Bob & Tom Show’s 35+ year history, the cast consisted of hosts Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, sports commentator and comic foil Chick McGee, news director Kristi Lee, and producer Dean Metcalf. Kevoian and Griswold originally teamed up in the early 1980s at Petoskey, Michigan station WJML before being lured to WFBQ "Q95" Indianapolis in 1983 to host what was initially a music-heavy morning show. Marty Bender then arrived as both Program Director and contributor. After McGee (in 1986) and Lee (in 1988) joined the show, the primary cast that listeners would know for decades simply as “Bob, Tom, Chick, and Kristi” was set.
As the show became more popular and successful, Mark Patrick, Dave Dugan, Whit Grayson, Steve Salge, and Ron Sexton joined the Bob & Tom staff to voice dozens of recurring fictional and parody characters. Salge and Sexton, along with Metcalf, are still active today as voices of most of the show’s fictional characters and callers.
On January 5, 1995, Chick left The Bob & Tom Show to become co-host of a show called Kevin & McGee at KGB-FM in San Diego, California. After six months in San Diego, McGee returned on July 10, 1995 to his former job on The Bob & Tom Show. Dave Wilson filled in for Chick at first and then Gunner filled in for the rest of Chick's absence.
In the early years of the show, Pat Carlini served as a fifth in-studio cast member, joining Bob, Tom, Chick, and Kristi during their second or third hour after Carlini completed her weather-casting and news anchor duties at WTHR television's morning news program.
Since the show was first syndicated in January 1995, Dave "Gunner" Gunn sometimes filled in for Bob, Tom, Chick, or Kristi when one of them was absent. Additionally, for several days in May 2016, Gunner filled in while Chick was on vacation, which was Gunner's first appearance during all-new broadcasts in years. Subsequently, Gunner occasionally joined the cast, both to "run the board" (operate the broadcast studio's main audio mixing console, which Tom calls "master control") and to serve as an additional co-host. Gunner served as the show's host during "Best of Bob & Tom" broadcasts when the primary cast was on vacation until the January 2017 debut of his sports-oriented morning show on sister station WNDE. Hosting duties for "Best of" broadcasts have subsequently been handled by Christopher Geisen, formerly of WOFX-FM in Cincinnati, and the Kerrigan & Christopher morning show at WTUE in Dayton, Ohio, and now a member of the show's staff.
On September 1, 2015, Bob and Tom were selected as inductees to the National Radio Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place on November 5, 2015, at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in downtown Chicago. During his induction speech, Bob announced his retirement effective at the end of 2015. Bob's last day on the air was December 17, 2015. He planned to spend retirement traveling with his wife, Becky.
Before Bob's retirement, Scott Potasnik ("P-taz") replaced Gunner as the fourth in-studio voice when Bob went on extended vacations or took Mondays off, and Potasnik remained an unofficial cast member for some time after Bob's retirement. Tom described "P-taz" as the show's "sex desk" correspondent and, after Bob's retirement, as its "fact checker." Potasnik's role with the show ended in early summer 2016.
During 2015 and 2016, the show frequently featured "guest hosts," usually comedians, as a fourth or fifth in-studio voice, sometimes for several days or weeks at a time. Josh Arnold served as a frequent guest host during spring and early summer of 2016 before being named a regular cast member on August 1, 2016.
Kristi Lee announced on January 11, 2016, that she, too, had left the show, having last appeared on December 17, 2015. She returned to the show on July 11, 2016, resuming her traditional news and commentary role.
During Kristi's absence, Carlini had re-joined The Bob & Tom Show as news anchor (for all four hours each morning). After Kristi returned, Carlini appeared on a half-time basis for several days.
On November 17, 2016, Bob and Tom were reunited during their induction into the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame. On April 3, 2017, Bob made his first live on-air appearance since his retirement for the show's annual Cincinnati Reds Opening Day broadcast. On May 26, 2017, Bob made his second appearance and his first with Kristi Lee at the Indy 500 Carb Day show.
The "master control" seat, historically occupied by Bob, had been filled after his retirement mostly by Bob & Tom staffers who did not speak on the air until Ace Cosby joined the show in 2017 as its in-studio engineer and occasional on-air contributor. Cosby joined Bob & Tom flagship WFBQ in the early 1980s as an on-air personality and helped Kristi get her first job at the station. Tom refers to him as "the legendary Ace Cosby" as an homage to Cosby's 30 years of popularity with Indianapolis-area listeners and personal relationships with numerous rock musicians.
National radio syndicator Westwood One granted a multi-year contract extension on May 1, 2018, to The Bob & Tom Show. iHeartMedia, corporate parent of flagship WFBQ "Q95" and another 12 of the show's 100+ syndication outlets, announced a renewed agreement on December 10, 2018, to continue airing the show on those iHeartMedia stations. Although the announcement did not detail the length of the agreement, news reports note that The Bob & Tom Show could conceivably celebrate its 40th anniversary at Q95 on March 7, 2023.
On August 21, 2019, Tom underwent a surgical procedure on his right eye for which recovery required continuous bedrest. This led to a few days of new broadcasts during which neither original hosts Bob or Tom were present in the studio, rare in the show's long history.
The show's primary cast performed live on stage with guest comedians and live musicians at evening shows in venues around the country for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Later, they supported the Friends of the Bob & Tom Show Comedy Tour, which featured many of their frequent guests and spawned Comedy Central broadcasts and a DVD recording.
Many fictional characters and parodies of real-life people have sprung up during the show's history, some voiced by Bob Kevoian, Tom Griswold, Chick McGee, on-air producer Dean Metcalf, Steve Salge, and Ron Sexton.
- Recurring characters
- Floyd the Truck Driver (Ron Sexton)
- Jumbo the Elephant (Dean Metcalf)
- Ernie Furglar (owner of Furglar's Hardware Store) (Steve Salge)
- Herm Johnson (St. Petersburg snowbird) (Steve Salge)
- Hadji (Marc Much)
- Ian St. Ian (Dean Metcalf)
- Doc Whiskey (Tom Griswold)
- Dick Mango (Tom Griswold)
- Rick (Ron Sexton)
- Sid Gurney (Whit Grayson)
- Bart McAllister (Dave Dugan)
- Captain Dave – Captain of the Chum Dumpster (Steve Salge)
- Coach Ralph Fontaine (Ron Sexton)
- Kenny Tarmac (Ron Sexton) – embodies that annoying traveling salesman on a flight with an overinflated sense of self-worth who feels the need to demonstrate to everyone how important he is by loudly calling someone just as the plane lands. He always uses airport abbreviations while referring to his locations to further illustrate just how busy and important he is. He always calls Bob and Tom when he lands, and he always gets another call while talking to them. On a few occasions, while talking to Bob and Tom, he will run into a big-time client, whom Kenny cannot remember by name. During this time, he puts Bob and Tom on hold, while he tries to use his "Zig Ziglar bag of tricks" to get the client to reveal his name, usually failing.
- Donnie Baker (played by Ron Sexton) – regularly makes topical calls to the show and has a very authentic redneck accent. He relates anecdotes involving a good friend who had a semi-relevant experience, usually ending in a punch-line. Most of his calls are punctuated by a tagline like, "I swear to God" or "Look it up..." or "it's state law." Sometimes, Donnie is corrected, or told to get off the phone by Randy, his work supervisor (voiced by Matt Thompson), after which he always yells, "Shut up Randy!" His calls usually come to an abrupt end, and always by him saying, "...I gotta go." Donnie also appears with his band as "Donnie Baker and the Pork Pistols".
- Mr. Obvious and the Caller (Chick McGee & Dean Metcalf) – A frequent skit subject on The Bob & Tom Show, Mr. Obvious is portrayed as a radio personality with his own show, The Mr. Obvious Show. He gives obvious and simple advice about whatever problem the caller may have. The caller always seems to be the same person, and opens the conversation with "Hi, Mr. Obvious. Long time listener, first time caller." From there, the caller will describe his issue and give symptoms to help Mr. Obvious figure out his problem. Most of the time, the caller's issue is something that anyone else could figure out, but he cannot. Mr. Obvious is played by Chick McGee, and the caller is played by Dean Metcalf.
- Recurring parodies of real people and fictional characters
- Sir Charles (Charles Barkley) (Ron Sexton)
- Jack Bauer (from the TV series "24") (Steve Salge)
- Joe Biden, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy are all voiced by the same comedian. (Steve Salge)
- Morgan Freeman (as his character Red from the movie The Shawshank Redemption) (Ron Sexton)
- James Gandolfini (as Tony Soprano) (Ron Sexton)
- Sammy Davis, Jr. (Ricky Rydell)
- Jerry Jones (Ron Sexton)
- Larry King (Steve Salge)
- Dr. Phil McGraw (Ron Sexton)
- The Pope (always in a stereotypical Italian accent) (Dean Metcalf)
- Steven Seagal and his fan (Ron Sexton)
- Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (Ricky Rydell)
- Babe Ruth (Ron Sexton)
The show also takes calls from actual live listeners, plus miscellaneous "crazy listener" caricatures.
On November 3, 2008, WGN America began airing an hour-long TV show taken from the day's radio broadcast at Midnight ET Monday through Friday (as of November 2009, it was moved to 2 a.m. ET). The program ended its run on WGN America on September 10, 2010, as part of an extensive revamp of the network's schedule. As part of the deal, WTTV Indianapolis (another Tribune-owned station) would be the first to air the nightly one-hour telecast.
Over their career, the show has been actively involved in charitable work. Some of the albums they have produced since 1986 have been utilized to raise money for various charities. After the syndicated portion of their show ends at 10:00 a.m. Eastern they typically devote up to a half-hour to further interviews, often about local events, bands, and charities.
In October, it has become tradition for Chick to get a prostate exam on the air to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Bob and Tom used to promote this exam as "Proctober"; however, this exam is now "Rectember". The latest exam was held on September 6, 2011 with Gunner doing it.
The Bob & Tom Show has produced seven CDs for the USO to include in holiday care packages sent to troops stationed worldwide.
Bob and Tom had a friendly wager with former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday that if he ever got a touchdown they would donate $5,000 to the charity of his choice. During the 2006–07 NFL season, they increased the wager to $10,000. They assumed that they were safe since offensive linemen almost never score points in NFL games. In January 2007 in the AFC Championship game against the rival New England Patriots, on a play near New England's goal line, Dominic Rhodes carried into the middle of the line and fumbled. Saturday fell on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown. Bob and Tom made good on their wager and donated $10,000 total with $5,000 each going to People's Burn Foundation of Indiana and Kid's Voice of Indiana, Inc.
- In 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2006, Bob and Tom were recipients of the Marconi Award from the NAB.
- From 1991 to 1998, Bob and Tom received The Billboard Magazine Radio Personality of the Year award.
- In 1994 and 2008, Bob and Tom were named Sagamores of the Wabash, the state of Indiana's highest honor.
- In 1996 and 2000, the show was awarded the National Chairman's Citation Award from the Leukemia Society of America.
- In 2000, 2001, and 2003, Bob and Tom received the Radio & Records Classic Rock Personality of the Year Award.
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