Bob Kingsley, Legendary Country Radio DJ, Dies at 80
Bob Kingsley, longtime on-air personality and the host of syndicated radio show Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40, died on Thursday (Oct. 17) at his home in Weatherford, Texas. He was 80 years old and was receiving treatment for bladder cancer.
For over six decades, Kingsley was a mainstay on country radio. In 1978, he took over hosting duties of American Country Countdown, a weekly radio show that counts down the Top 40 songs on country radio from the previous week. While in that role, he also supplemented the countdown with numerous holiday specials, artist and album features and more. Under his watch, the show was named Billboard's Network/Syndicated Country Program of the Year for 16 consecutive years. His role on the show also brought Kingsley widespread acclaim, making him a household name throughout America over the course of his tenure and beyond.
In 2006, Kingsley and his partner, Nan Kingsley, founded Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40, a radio program still running on over 320 stations. A press release explains that Kingsley's devotion dates back to his early life, when his love for country radio helped through a year-long bout of polio.
"I would listen to the radio, and certain shows became really important to me," he once recalled. "It was complete escapism and entertainment. I didn't realize the imprint it was making, but it obviously stayed with me."
In October, Kingsley announced that he would be stepping down from his hosting duties at Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40 in order to seek treatment for bladder cancer. He explained that between Oct. 12 and Dec. 1, a series of leading country women -- from Trisha Yearwood to Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, and more -- would be hosting the show in his absence. This came as part of a partnership with the Country Music Association, which is using the 2019 CMA Awards to spotlight the genre's female artists as well.
In addition to his lengthy career in radio, Kingsley worked tirelessly in support of the charitable causes that mattered most to him, including Disabled American Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Wounded Warrior Project, Careity Foundation, the Palliative Unit of Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and more. He was also the recipient of the Wounded Warrior Project's Tony Snow Award for his work on behalf of injured servicemen and women.
A celebration of Kingsley's life will be held in Nashville on Nov. 14 at 1pm at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that those who wish to donate in remembrance of Kingsley to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.
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