Bob Salmon, 81

 

Robert Michael Salmon, age 81, died peacefully on May 14, 2023, at his home in Modesto, California, with his beloved partner of 30+ years, Sadhna Perez, and his younger sister, Ann Nichols, at his side. A local Kalamazoo radio legend known as Bob King, he was a longtime on-air personality and half of the duo behind the Doc Holiday and Bob King Show. Bob was born and raised in Edina, Minnesota, and spent twenty years in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before he moved to Modesto in 1985.

 

After getting his start in radio at KDWB in the Twin Cities area, Bob relocated to Kalamazoo in 1964 and became the on-air talent, sales manager, and ultimately general manager of WKMI radio. While there he was co-creator and one half of the the Doc Holiday and Bob King Show, a long-running morning drive-time program best known for its amusing antics and practical pranks. In 1985 Bob began his tenure as a station owner and operator with the purchase of KMIX Radio in Turlock, California. His group acquired, turned around, and sold several stations in both California and Michigan, including KEWB in Redding, California and WJFM in Grand Rapids, which Bob reformatted from classic rock to country. WBCT (B93), the resulting station, has been a top market performer ever since.

 

During his long career, he was the mischievous spirit behind and leader of the team who brought the Do-Dah Parade to Kalamazoo, as well as the WKMI Underdogs Basketball Charity Team and the B93 Birthday Bash, an event that still takes place annually. Bob retired in 2006 and, never one to sit still, began a new career as the publisher of Broker Agent Magazine.

 

Bob was an all-around sports enthusiast and participant. When he wasn’t out on the field or court himself, he was organizing family football or softball games, taking too many of his young children to area golf courses (and letting them loose on the carts), or coaching his sons in the Oakwood Little League while in Michigan and then Riverbank Little League and Modesto Teen Baseball in California. While this started as a way for him to spend time and share his love of baseball with his sons and stepsons, it continued well past when they had moved on from the program. Bob mentored and coached hundreds of Kalamazoo and Modesto-area youth and he regarded it as one of the highlights of his life.

 

An avid storyteller, the reason Circus Peanuts candy is still made, and continuously disappointed Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan, Bob was most proud of his family.

He is survived by his loving partner Sadhna Perez; his children, Deborah (Dan) Borre, Kathleen (Larry) Lowis, Michael (Laurie), and Casey (Zanna); his stepchildren Todd Schuster, Shawn Werner, Francisco (Malisa) and Richard (Lizett) Perez; his grandchildren, Jonathon (Allyson) Lowis, Jordan (Eric) Beery and Bailey (Macon) Boes, Ethan and Claire Borre, Ava Salmon, Taylor, Tristan, Teagan, Tahlia, and Tarynn Salmon, Marcus, Jessica, and Mikayla Perez, and Rachel and Julien Perez; four treasured great grandsons, Judah, Asher, and Silas Beery, and Shiloh Boes; his sister Ann Nichols; as well as nieces, nephews, and many other loving family members and friends.

 

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and LaVerne Salmon, and his brother and sister-in-law Stephen and Kay Salmon.

 

3 thoughts on “Bob Salmon, 81”

  1. Bob was a tremendous announcer! How many Station Owners could sit at the controls and excel on-the-air? He might have been his own best DJ. Bob was a tremendous broadcaster! He understood the business of radio, and what made for radio greatness. Bob was a tremendous Minnesota Twins fan! He coached (and was the commissioner) of Modesto Teen Baseball. His team was the Twins. The players wore Twins Tee-Shirts, not Bob; he wore a complete Twins Uniform, all the way down to metal cleats! If an Old-Timers Game ever broke out, he was ready.

  2. Growing up in Kalamazoo, I remember Bob from “KMI” (WKMI). Years later, as a broadcast consultant, driving through farm fields in the middle of nowhere near Modesto to pitch our services to GM’s at area radio stations, I had no idea I was meeting with the same Bob Salmon. Interestingly, his station in Modesto was “KMI (X)”. Ha.

    He was about to buy a 200,000-watt FM in Grand Rapids, MI from John Fetzer, and my timing couldn’t have been better. We got the job converting WJFM from a sleepy A/C to Country. We hemmed and hawed about changing or keeping the WJFM call letters. I convinced Bob to change them. I said, “I’ll pick the first two letters, you pick the last two”. WCUZ was the market-leading Country station at the time. Arbitron listed radio station ratings in alphabetical order in their printed books (years before software and online). I said, “you want to be right on top of WCUZ in the Arbitron book. The first two call letters should be “WB”. He chose “CT”, to reflect the Country format, and WBCT was born.

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