Bob Butler

bobbutler kcbs 0001r2 Bob ButlerBob grew up as a Navy brat, living in Cambridge, Long Beach, Pittsburgh, Groton, San Diego, and Alameda where he started his freshman year at St. Joseph’s High School. His dad retired from the Navy in 1968 and his family moved to Hayward. He spent the next three years commuting to St. Joe’s (this was before BART) and graduated in 1971. Bob joined the Navy and served at Guantanamo Bay and Newport and was then discharged in Philadelphia in 1974. He moved to Washington, D.C. and then Pittsburgh where he worked for Ma Bell as a directory assistance operator and moonlighted as a disco deejay.

One day a customer told Bob: “Operator you have a nice voice, you should be on the radio,” and his fate was sealed. He moved back to Hayward in 1977 and enrolled into the Chabot College Mass Communications program. He started bugging the instructor for a deejay shift on the campus radio station. After all, “my name was Bob, playing music was my job. I was better known as the Gentle Gemini because I was guaranteed to satisfy.” But, his teacher didn’t buy it.

Bob filled in by doing hourly newscasts at the campus station. He graduated with honors from Chabot in 1979, worked for Soulbeat Television on Oakland cable, and then worked as an outreach coordinator for the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services program at Chabot.

Bob got his first reporting job at KDIA in Oakland in 1980. He returned to Chabot, and started interning at KCBS a year later. After the news director hired him as a desk assistant he was promoted to editor in 1982 and worked exclusively on the desk for 17 years until becoming a fill-in reporter during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. He became the Saturday morning reporter in September 1999.

“I’ve been part of coverage that won numerous national awards, including the earthquake and the 1991 East Bay Hills fire. I’ve covered storms, floods, crime, politics and I love to find a curious or humorous angle whenever possible. A lot of times the news is bad, so you’ve got to make the listeners smile when you can.”

“One of my missions is to get more young people, especially those of color, interested in careers in radio news.” Bob became a mentor for the National Association of Black Journalists radio projects in 2000.

Bob is married with a 24-year old son and lives in the East Bay.

 

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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