Bobby Powell

 

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As a young boy growing up in Albany, Georgia, Bobby found himself at an early age intrigued with what he heard on radio.  From talking over the intros of records he played at home, to forcing himself to remain awake until midnight to find out the number one song on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 program, Bobby knew he wanted to be on the radio having fun like “those guys”.

It wasn’t until he went off to school at Georgia Southern that he landed his first job on the air.  First, it was a weekly show on the campus radio station.  Shortly thereafter, he became affiliated with a small Statesboro AM station that played country music during the day, rock at night.  It didn’t take long for him to know that this radio thing was more than a fad interest.  After debating for about ten minutes on whether to major in Journalism or something he actually loved, Broadcasting, Bobby chose the latter.

Upon graduating with a degree in Communication Arts, Broadcasting, Bobby chose the radio career path as opposed to television where he had performed his required work internship for college.  At Z-102, Savannah, first it was the all-night show.  Less than a year later he was moved to evenings and then middays.  In early 1983, he joined the advertising sales team with the station.  To this day, Bobby credits his on-air experience as a major boost to his success in sales.  “I remember someone once told me that they listened to me every day.  Not bad for a guy who hadn’t been on the air in over a year.  Selling radio ads is easier when you understand both the programming and sales sides.”

After four years in Savannah and newly married, Bobby and his wife, Sabrina moved to Atlanta.  “I had always wanted to work in major market radio, and now I had the opportunity.  WSB-FM pretty much hired me on the spot to work weekend mornings.  After working in auto sales and as a DJ providing the service for weddings and corporate functions for a couple of years, it became obvious that I needed to take another look at career options.

“We moved to middle Tennessee where I took a sales position with Thomas J. Lipton.  I sold enough tea to fill Boston Harbor,” he joked.  A few years later he joined the sales force at Goldline Pharmaceuticals marketing generic drugs to Tennessee independent pharmacists.  When the chance to return home to Albany presented itself in 1998 with a job offer, Bobby, Sabrina and their young son, Andrew returned to Georgia.

“Tennessee is a beautiful state and we made great friends there, but to come home to family and have the chance to again listen to Larry Munson call Georgia football, I was ready to pack my bags.”

And remember the radio bug?  Its fever began to rise and Bobby began a part-time on-air shift at Mix-107 where he developed a show called, “70’s Spotlight Saturday” and shared music and biographical information of a featured artist each weekend.  “When it became obvious that the company that had relocated me back home was planning to merge with another established pharmaceutical company, I reached out to Cumulus and inquired about an advertising sales opportunity.  The rest is history.  For the next ten years, I was fully committed to radio advertising sales.  I wrote hundreds if not thousands of commercials and even committed myself to the production of them.  I created voice characters and made them part of the ad campaign.  I always believed radio to be fun, so why shouldn’t the sales and production side of things be equally satisfying?”

In 2009, Bobby lost his wife of twenty-five years, Sabrina to breast cancer after a nine-year battle.  A couple years later he chose to leave radio for television.  After 4 ½ years spent in television sales and production, Bobby returns to Cumulus ready for new adventures.

“It’s funny how things come full circle.  I never anticipated that I would return to radio, but the opportunity arose to get back on the air and handle production duties for a group of stations that always felt like home.”

Now, newly remarried, Bobby and his wife, Valerie spend their spare time playing the Grandparent role and traveling throughout the country running half marathons.  “I don’t know if it’s the running or the radio that’s made me a little nuts, but life is SWEET even when I’m about to drop at the finish line.”

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