Bob wasn’t just famous throughout his career—he was internationally famous. Rivers scored his first major novelty hit with the AT&T Breakup Song (Breaking Up Is Hard On You), and his song parodies became a staple of NBC’s “The Source” network, then the American Comedy Network (the worlds’ first morning-show prep service) and later ABC Radio.
During his unlikely rise from the suburbs to competitive morning stardom in Boston at WAAF in the ‘80s, Bob kicked off a decades-long, RIAA-certified-gold-record relationship with Atlantic Records as TWISTED TUNES appeared on radio stations worldwide. Fledgling MTV spun videos for tunes like “Just Big Ego” and “I am Santa Claus.” Major Market personalities like Rick Dees and Scott Shannon joined every other station in America in playing hell out of them during his multi-million-copy, 7-album run. Today Twisted Christmas’ Walking Round in Women’s Underwear, though illegal in Florida, is still a must-play Holiday fave.
Bob moved from Boston to Baltimore and 98 Rock in 1987. When the Baltimore Orioles lost a record 23 games in a row to open the 1988 season, Bob pledged to remain on the air non-stop until they won. The 258 1/2 hour marathon was an international media hit, a ratings win, and garnered him Billboard Radio Promotion of the Year.
Bob rode his increasing fame to another legendary rocker, KISW in Seattle, where his first appearance, naked and stoned out of his mind in a hotel lobby, became the launching pad both for his one and only trip to rehab and a 25-year career as the #1 Adult morning show in the market.
The Seattle Bob Rivers Show featuring Bob, Spike and Joe was a one of a kind improv talk show–irreverent yet family friendly, with sharp writing, a smart cast, and Twisted Tunes. KISW and Rivers helped support the birth of Grunge in Seattle. Bob played keyboards and “managed” the show’s band, Spike and the Impalers, which featured Rock N Roll Hall of Fame guests and played to tens of thousands annually, selling out stages usually reserved for touring acts. “Nudestock” became an annual event—and again made headlines.
Bob’s Seattle career continued through long stints at KZOK and KJR-FM. He was so totally tied into Seattle, the home of Boeing, that when he confessed on-air to a lifetime fear of flying, he was ridiculed (on-air!) into taking flight lessons, ultimately becoming an instrument-rated pilot and Cessna owner. So of course when Colton Harris-Moore, the notorious Barefoot Bandit, stole his first plane—it was Bob’s.
The Bob Rivers show raised over $10 million for World Vision, with live broadcasts from as far away as Bangladesh. After getting out of the morning show business Bob continued his charitable work, using his strong podcasting audience to help launch The Black River Innovation Campus in Springfield VT.
Today Bob and his wife Lisa live in Las Vegas. He’s working on a feature concert film based on the memorial concert for Yes Drummer Alan White, makes an annual pilgrimage to Vermont to make his own Maple Syrup and has reunited with his WAAF partner to bring a new generation of the Bob and Zip show to New England on 100FM, The Pike.
I’m honored to be a 2023 Nominee to the Radio Hall of Fame