After 50+ years in radio, Baker Bob has a had a great career
Part 4 in the series of highlighting the broadcast members of the Central Montana Radio is Bob McNamee, better known as Baker Bob. Bob and I sat down and had the following conversation:
When did you first get started in broadcasting?
Baker Bob: My first time broadcasting was back in high school. I was a sophomore and it was coming to the end of sophomore year. I had a friend that worked in radio, and I knew he hung around at K-A-N-A in Anaconda. He said, we need another DJ down there. I said okay, so I went and auditioned. Well, darned if the guy didn't hire me on the spot and said, okay, you can come. So Saturdays and Sunday afternoons was my time to play 45 records, old time country. So there I was from two to six on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but during the week, of course, I was frying donuts at the bakery, so I had to split my time.
What took you into sports broadcasting?
Baker Bob: Sport broadcasting came along. Same station back in Anaconda. K-A-N-A. Now this is years later, I had a friend who was working there, and he said, hey, we're going to broadcast a basketball game, why don't you come along? So, the basketball game was in anaconda between the state champion that year, Bozeman High Hawks, came to the Copperheads, and I had no idea what we were doing, what the format was, what to do. He just said talk. So, it was an exciting game. Went to overtime too, as I remember. Now this is way back in the last century, but the bug was there. And then of course, my baking career took me out to Williston, North Dakota, and a friend there ran a radio station. He says, hey, why don't you come to work for us? He said, we need some weekend and part time help. So, I jumped on that. Well, weekend and part time just means you're still helping with the sports broadcast, but you're the guy in the studio doing all the hookups, running all the commercials. So I did that for five more years behind the scenes. It wasn't until seven years ago here at KMON that somebody had the bright idea, let's put Bob out there in the sports booth and go broadcast the game. My first game, I got to broadcast a basketball game at CMR. And the bug gets you when you can be part of the action,
In addition to your announcer duties at CMR and University of Providence you've gotten to broadcast basketball and football. Which one do you prefer?
Baker Bob: Basketball is faster. You've got to be on your toes to do your basketball. Get your cast of characters right. There's so much going on at the time where football, you get to take a breath and actually you analyze just what happened. That's why you have to have a good partner in there. And fortunately for the last seven years, I've had the honor, the fun of having my son with me. So, you get coach Mac, who really is much more sports minded than I am. The kid knows his sports. He knows the background; he knows the kids. And he was a football coach. He coached football at Great Falls High and CMR, sophomore and freshman at each one of those schools during his early years.
What is something that people would find unique about you, something that most people don't know about you?
Baker Bob: Some people don't know that for the last 28 years, I've had a pretty good side hustle. I've always been involved with the state fair since 1989, 1st off as a judge in some contests, and then Mr. Bill Ogg says, hey, you want to come to the fair? I've got a job for you. So, I had a job helping out Bill Ogg for a couple of years. And then he said, I'll tell you what, I think you'd be best backstage catering my acts. I said I agreed with that, and for the last 28 years, minus the COVID year, I've been backstage catering the acts. Now, catering just means I'm the guy who meets the buses when they get there, and I wave at the buses when they leave. I have to feed, entertain, and give all the hospitality to the cast, the crew, the entertainment, the managers, the dressing rooms. It's a pretty extensive list to provide hospitality for the acts, everything from Tim and Faith to David Copperfield to ZZ Top to Leonard Skinner to you name the act that's been at the Civic Center or at the Montana State Fair, we've been front and center with that.
Another one. A lot of people don't know the moniker Baker Bob came along years and years ago when I was working in a store where I was Bob, who was the bakery manager, there was another Bob in the meat department. There were two Bobs up front in the courtesy counter, and the store manager was named Bob. So, I would talk to people on the telephone. They'd say, who should I come see? I said, you come see Bob in the bakery. Okay, Bob in the bakery. I said, Then I just decided, well, it's just Baker Bob. Just leave it at that. And they would remember that. Of course, people always want to know who's cooking their food, who's fixing their food. There's Ronald McDonald doesn't actually cook hamburgers, but he's a good character and a face of the business. And then you've got Colonel Sanders. Does he still cook chicken? No, he doesn't. But he was the face of the business, so Baker Bob got to be the face of a bakery business. So, I used that, and it was easy. Plus, people have (trouble) pronouncing or spelling McNamee, so it's much easier to be Baker Bob, even on the radio during our sports broadcast. Baker Bob works so well, and people do remember that. So, thanks for those folks who do remember.
If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How many of these songs does Baker Bob play during his evening buffet on 560 KMON?