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Bob Kingsley, Country Radio Legend, Dead at 80

Rolling Stone logo Rolling Stone 10/17/2019 Stephen L. Betts
Bob Kingsley wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: bobkingsley-obit © Provided by Penske Media Corporation bobkingsley-obit

Country radio legend Bob Kingley, the longtime host of the nationally syndicated program Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, died early Thursday in Weatherford, Texas, following a lengthy battle with bladder cancer. He was 80 years old.

A member of the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, inducted in 1998, he later became only the format’s fifth representative in the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2016. Kingsley was 18 and serving in the Air Force when his radio career began in 1959 as an announcer for the Armed Forces Radio Service station in Keflavik, Iceland. Kingsley’s early career included work at stations in Las Vegas and Tijuana, Mexico, before landing at KGBS in Los Angeles and that city’s KLAC, which switched to a country format, programmed by Kingsley, beginning in 1970.

In 1974, Kingsley became the producer of the nationally syndicated American Country Countdown, which had been launched a year earlier by Casey Kasem and Don Bustany. He succeeded the show’s original host Don Bowman, in 1978, and beginning in 1987, ACC was named Billboard‘s Network/Syndicated Program of the Year for 16 consecutive years. He exited that program in 2005, after which he began hosting Country Top 40. Kingsley was a two-time recipient of the CMA’s National Broadcast Personality of the Year honor and in 2007 earning the ACM National Broadcast Personality of the Year award. In 2014, Kingsley was the inaugural recipient of the Living Legend Award, which now bears his name and recognizes notable music industry professionals.

A celebration of life is scheduled for November 14th at the CMA Theater in the Country Music Hall of Fame, beginning at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Kingsley’s name to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.

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