Celebrating Bob Perkins: 50 Years in Broadcasting and 80th Birthday

Sunday, January 26, 2014

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By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
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The Somers Point Jazz Society hosted an afternoon of jazz and tributes honoring longtime friend and supporter Bob Perkins of WRTI, as he celebrates his 80th birthday and 50 years in broadcasting. This free event was held at Clancy's By The Bay in Somers Point, New Jersey and included a complimentary buffet and birthday cake.

Musical entertainment featured the Tom Angello Jazz quartet, with Tom Angello on drums, Jason Klinke on guitar, Chris Simonini, piano and Tim Lekan, bass. The quartet performed several jazz standards. Special guests included vocalist Gina Roche and Trumpeter/singer Eddie Morgan, who described Bob as his “mentor”, and then sang a tune he composed entitled “BP with the GM" inspired by Bob's trademark line.

Bob Perkins is known throughout the tri-state region as the jazz voice of WRTI in Philadelphia. He is also the recipient of the Somers Point Jazz Society 2012 Jazz Master Award. His radio career began in 1964 in Detroit, and prior to joining WRTI in 1997, Perkins had longtime careers as a jazz-radio host at Philly radio institutions WDAS and WHYY. Known for his laid-back style, one of his well-known sayings is "This is BP with the GM" (meaning Bob Perkins with the Good Music).

Nick Regine, President of the Somers Point Jazz Society, presented Bob with a beautiful crystal microphone award. Bob then shared a few stories about his career in broadcasting. “My dad influenced me with radio. He knew how to repair them - take them apart and put them back together”. “My brother introduced me to many of the jazz legends and my sister introduced me to movies with great jazz music”.” “I went to Detroit and got a job immediately with an insurance company. There was a radio station, WGPR-FM, upstairs," that offered me a job, too:” “How fortuitous” Perkins said. He ditched the insurance job for the radio job that paid only “$1.25 an hour”. Perkins said “it was like grand conspiracy – everything I learned from my dad, brother and sister”. “I’m here today doing something that I really love - blabbing on-the-air."

Perkins had warm appreciation for everyone attending this tribute to his career and birthday. "The name may be Bob Perkins, but I am a composite of a whole lot of folks”, Perkins said.

For more information on the Somers Point Jazz Society visit online at www.spjazz.org

More photos from the performance are in Ben Johnson's photo gallery
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Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.