ROGERS, ROBERT BARTON (‘BOB’) (1926– )
Robert Barton (‘Bob’) Rogers is the longestserving broadcaster currently on Australian radio, with a career spanning the time when the stylus was changed after each record to the contemporary era of digital radio.
Beginning as a panel operator at 3XY Melbourne in 1942, his first on-air shift was at 3MA Mildura in 1944. He moved to 7HO Hobart in 1949 and to 4BH Brisbane in 1950. Rogers obtained copies of the latest hit records from the United States before they were released in Australia, and with the advent of the American concepts of the disc jockey and Top 40 charts, his reputation attracted the attention of 2UE Sydney, which recruited him in 1958 to present music programs aimed at a younger generation. In 1964 he joined 2SM Sydney, becoming one of the ‘Good Guys’. The station sent him to England to provide interviews and voice reports for the Beatles’ tour to Australia.
Rogers initially ignored talkback radio, introduced to Australia in 1967, before recognising that he was losing audiences. He began to include some selective talkback; however, his ad-lib style sometimes prompted litigation, so his editorial comments began to be scripted, pioneering a practice for radio announcers that continues to this day.
Rogers’ success brought him to the attention of television, and he hosted tonight shows on TCN9 and ATN7 in the 1960s and 1970s. His most interesting radio and television programs comprised music, showbiz interviews and gossip, based on his comfortable relationship with the stars.
Rogers left full-time radio in the 1980s to run a chain of clothing shops, but continued to work on air as a locum. In 1999 he returned full-time with 2CH Sydney.
Rogers was appointed OAM in 2010 ‘for service to the media as a radio broadcaster’.
REF: R.B. Rogers and D. O’Brien, Rock’n’roll Australia (1975).