Bob Perkins

Jazz Host

Also known as "BP with the GM," (translation: "Bob Perkins with the Good Music"), Mr. Perkins has been in the broadcasting industry for more than four decades as an on-air host, and is now commonly referred to as a Philadelphia jazz radio legend.

BP broke into the radio business in 1964 when he landed an on-air job in Detroit. In 1969, his hometown of Philadelphia beckoned him back with a gig at rhythm-and-blues station WDAS, where he worked for the next 19 years. He joined WRTI in 1997.

In addition to his job as jazz host, BP writes numerous columns and commentaries on jazz for local publications in Philadelphia. He also hosts concerts at jazz clubs and at regional festivals.

BP was awarded the 2002 Mellon Jazz Community Award. And in 2007, he was honored with a proclamation for his outstanding contributions to Philadelphia's jazz community by Mayor John Street, Philadelphia City Council, and the House of Representatives in Harrisburg. Wait two seconds and you'll hear about yet another award bestowed on "Ol' BP," as he calls himself.

Hear Bob on Monday through Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 PM, and on Sundays from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Ways to Connect

Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

One November night in the year 1934, a 17-year-old girl was about to take the stage at the Apollo theater’s Amateur Night program and planned to do a dance routine—but changed her mind and decided to sing a song instead. Probably the best decision Ella Jane Fitzgerald ever made, because she won the contest, and shortly thereafter, was introduced to bandleader Chick Webb, who hired her to sing in his band.

Paul Hoeffler/Getty Images

Many years ago, a group of teenage musicians decided to form a small jazz band in South Philly—they went on to become high-profile players in the jazz world. The band included Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums, Bobby Timmons on piano, Henry Grimes on bass fiddle, Ted Curson on trumpet, Richard “Buzzy” Wilson on alto sax, and Sam Reed on tenor sax.

WRTI's own jazz legend Bob Perkins sat down with Kile Smith in December, 2012 for a wide-ranging interview about Dave Brubeck —the man, his music, and his legacy. This interview took place just after Brubeck's death at age 91.

BP's Brush With Brubeck

Nov 29, 2020
Courtesy of Bob Perkins

I believe the year was 1983 when I was asked if I’d like to emcee a concert at the Academy of Music, headlined by Dave Brubeck and his sons and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Without hesitation, the answer was an emphatic yes!

Wikpedia/U.S. Library of Congress Music Division/ Wiliam R. Gottlieb

Some folks—even jazz fans—wouldn’t know that 'Robert Chudnick' was the real name of the musician whose handle was Red Rodney.  The once well-known jazz trumpeter from Philadelphia was born back on September 27th, 1927.

Have you ever discovered that a famous person once lived very close to you?  And all the while, you weren't aware of it—until that person moved away, and the world let you know about the celebrity who had been in your midst. WRTI's Bob Perkins remembers when jazz great Charlie Parker lived in Philadelphia for a time. 

During a recent interview, saxophone great Larry Mckenna was right on target when he shared that often in other cities, when people found out he was from Philadelphia, they’d ask him if he knew fellow Philadelphia  saxophone great Bootsie Barnes. 

When a dynamic figure in any walk of life departs, writers and just plain folks, usually try to recall certain events about the departed in which they may have been involved, or heard about.

John Lamparski/Getty Images

When I was a kid growing up in South Philly, there was an older fellow down the block who was trying to play an alto saxophone. He wasn't doing well at it.

Courtesy of Bob Perkins

Bob Perkins remembered the iconic jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, when he died on December 5, 2012 at age 91—one day shy of his 92nd birthday.

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