The Bob Levy Some Don’t Know About
You will likely hear quite a bit about Bob Levy over the next few days. You will hear him called an icon, radio legend, and the man who helped build WOBM into an Ocean County institution.
THE original employee who was best known as the host of Topic A on Sunday mornings for nearly four decades but during his time also served as the radio station’s General Manager, Sales Manager and even Sports Director in the early years. All of that is why the fourth floor of our office in Toms River is known as the Bob Levy Broadcast Center as he personified what excellence truly is in our industry.
However today, the day after Bob died rather suddenly at the age of 86 from complications associated with a recent fall, I choose to talk about a different Bob Levy. The one who showed compassion for others despite what many thought at times was a gruff exterior.
Bob was not one to display emotion which I think is more a product of his generation than anything else. However inside he was a true softie, especially when it came to children.
Some of you might recall the holiday fundraising event he did for many years called Tara-Mark in which through his show Christmas gifts were adopted by listeners for kids in need. He loved doing this because he felt strongly that every child should have Christmas.
Over the years Bob supported numerous holiday toy drives, not just with his voice and show, but with his wallet as well. He was the first to donate.
Just a couple of weeks ago when he was here to do an interview we talked about one of his favorite Topic A accomplishments. Years ago a Toms River High School South student called on a Sunday morning looking for support to raise the money needed to establish a monument for those South students that had died in the Viet Nam war. Bob was so impressed he invited the young lady to come on his show the following week and vowed to solicit the money needed.
He did and they went over the goal by so much that they were able to do more than originally planned. I remember going with Bob when they unveiled the memorial which stands outside the high school today. A tribute to Bob and a teenager.
You likely know that Bob died on what was the 50th anniversary of WOBM-FM and that in itself is either a strange coincidence or a message of some kind. I chose the latter for the simple reason that my friend had a rather weird infatuation with death and believed that when he passed away he would be forgotten very quickly because that’s simply the way it his.
Well, Bob, you are wrong because on every March 1st when somebody mentions the anniversary of 92.7 WOBM it will likely be followed with…”and that’s the day Bob Levy died.”
Radio and Ocean County has lost a giant. I lost a mentor and friend who impacted my life greatly. I will miss him dearly but he left me with enough stories to last another lifetime and I will tell them forever. Unfortunately, quite a few can’t be shared but be assured they are funny.