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Jazz Host Extraordinaire Bob Perkins is Retiring from Weeknights on WRTI

Bob Perkins
Gary Horn
Bob Perkins, "BP with the GM"

We have bittersweet news to share: our beloved “BP with the GM”—Bob Perkins with the Good Music—is turning off his mic on weeknights as of June 30th after a long and storied career, including more than two decades devoted to his loyal following of jazz listeners on WRTI.

But fear not, you can still lend BP your finely tuned ears every Sunday from 9 AM to 1 PM for Sunday Jazz Brunch.

“After 57 years in media, 25 of those years spent at WRTI, I am now into my 88th year, so this is a good time to retire from full-time hosting at the station, and reflect on where I've been, with whom I've talked, and what I have learned over the decades as a news man, editorial writer. and jazz music host, and see where that leads me," says BP.

"I look forward to the opportunity to continue picking up the mic at WRTI on Sundays from 9 AM to 1 PM to continue to serve all the listeners with finely tuned ears who have said that I've helped keep jazz music alive in Philadelphia, and beyond.”

A mainstay of the jazz and radio community, Bob has been on the air at WRTI since 1997, helping to establish the station as one of the country’s leading jazz broadcasters.

The South Philadelphia native has been one of the greatest voices of the city’s airwaves since 1969, when he joined R&B station WDAS in an influential news and editorial position after working in Detroit radio for five years. Perkins then moved to public radio station WHYY to host a weekend jazz show before joining WRTI.

For the last 25 years, BP has become known for his warm, personable on-air style, extensive knowledge of jazz, and thoughtful, wide-ranging music mix. In addition to his job as WRTI jazz host, Bob has written numerous columns and commentaries on jazz, and has hosted a multitude of concerts at jazz clubs and festivals.

“Bob's contributions to jazz are innumerable,” says WRTI General Manager Bill Johnson. “He's introduced thousands, if not millions, of listeners to this music over the course of his career, delighted young and old with his signature sound, and been a tireless advocate for jazz appreciation and education. He is a gentleman, a kind soul, and every bit as nice in person as you hear on-air. I'm thrilled he'll continue to host Sunday Jazz Brunch after he retires because we all need some GM (good music) with our toast and jam!"

Bob has received dozens of awards and honors recognizing his outstanding career and contributions to Philadelphia jazz, including being honored with a bronze plaque on the Philadelphia Walk of Fameon the city’s Avenue of the Arts in 2016.

In 2007, he was recognized with a proclamation by Philadelphia Mayor John Street, Philadelphia City Council and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 2003.

BP's last weeknight shift on WRTI 90.1 is Thursday, June 30th, 6 to 9 PM, but you can still hear him on Sundays as of July 3rd.

Please join us in thanking BP for his dedicated service to jazz listeners in our region during suppertime for so many years! You can share your thoughts and well-wishes in the comments below.