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Buzz Knight

(Expert in the Wings) Bob Hamilton


For today's expert in the wings we focus on a man with legendary stripes and a tremendous wealth of knowledge ready to help your organization improve. Bob Hamilton started in radio in 1963 at WBCB in Levittown, PA. The journey would take him to all points across the country and would put him in a position to make a big difference at many radio properties.

According to Bob, the first job in Levittown happened "after I sent a letter on my Tom Thumb typewriter to Stu Wayne the PD and he called me and asked me if I would do a 15-minute show on my high school each week. This was my entry into radio and the rest is history. My first PD job was when I was 18 and would add the experience of chief engineer, jock, and salesperson."

Recently, our industry lost the great Paul Drew and Bob Hamilton's career path took him to multiple encounters with the great one. "Got a note from Paul Drew in 1969 asking if I was interested in doing part-time at WIBG. In
January 1977, got a call from Paul Drew asking if I would apply for WXLO in New York. Did that but he called again on a Friday afternoon with snow falling in Philly asking could I fly to LA Saturday. I was at the airport!"

Bob would go on to be the architect for KEARTH 101 for 10 years. During that time the station would become the number one music station in LA …with automation.

His other experience would take him to National Music Director for RKO  radio, 93 KHJ; his own station ownership in Johnstown, PA; KSFO/KYA-FM, KFRC San Francisco; the Chancellor stations in San Francisco; and Magic 102.7 Miami. In 2008 he joined the Tom Kent Network.

Bob had one of the greatest brush-with-fame celebrity encounters ever! "When Sinatra's 'New York, New York' came out I was doing fill-in mornings at KEARTH and he was to appear at the Amphitheater. To promote that show I played a cut I thought was a winner and after I played it my assistant runs into the studio and says Frank Sinatra is on the phone for you. Frank had heard the broadcast and called to thank me. I was floored!"

Bob Hamilton feels that one of the greatest things missing in our industry is time. "Time is missing and the ability to dot the i's and cross the t's. With programming people responsible for many stations, they can't do what is
necessary to do the fine things that make a station great. Visit any radio station…you can sit in the lobby and feel if it is a winner. That is, if there is anyone there! I visited a cluster in a major market and the only person there was someone to answer the phone. Everything else was voice tracked. That personal touch is missing. How did you react to the Oklahoma disaster? What did you do? Start from there."

Bob Hamilton's elevator pitch: "Today's challenging radio takes special people to make it a winner. Each situation is different but it boils down to doing the right thing at the right time. There are no instant success stories. It takes time, research, and goals to win. A person with passion is the answer. Know what your goals are then strive daily with social media but more so YOUR PRODUCT! If it's not right leaving the speakers, all the other stuff doesn't matter. We as an industry are at a time where we must invest in the product. Whatever is on your station right now matters. Is your talent right? Music on target? How are sales? Do your department heads hold responsibility to win? Our company gets involved in making stations win."

When I ask Bob what his current specialty is, it's no different than the one that has propelled him for years: "Attention to detail! Dealing with sales managers and finding deals that the station can make money on and not clutter the station. From being an on-air talent to PD Ops guy to station owner to broker to sell stations to consultant, I find the 'want to win' needed in each station. My background is vast and I have targeted 'Adult Radio' as my specialty. Classic Hits stations, AC, Adult Standards, and News/Talk are also the formats I'm into."

If you want to reach this expert in the wings, contact Bob Hamilton at:

If you want to recommend an "Expert in the Wings" reach me at

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