Bo Roberts
Navarro County, Texas


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Bo Roberts is part of the radio team "Bo and Jim" on 92.5 KZPS-FM in the mornings. A Corsicana native, Roberts is a CHS grad, worked at Oil City Iron Works in the summer and started in radio at the city's old KCIR station when it was near the high school. Photo courtesy/92.5 KZPS

 

 

4/8 /2004 BO KNOWS HOME: Dallas DJ with Corsicana ties still plays some tricks on Mom


By DEANNA PAWLOWSKI/Daily Sun Staff

Bo and Jim in the mornings.

Rock fans were blessed with a gift in February when the team of Bo Roberts and Jim White returned to KZPS 92.5 to grace the airwaves of drive-time radio.

Along with Jack "Locker Room" Lindstrom on sports and Rebecca Smith doing traffic, Bo and Jim revived the act that kept Q102 at the top of the ratings for 15 years in the 1980's and 90's.



But did you know that one-half of the duo had their beginnings in the old Navarro Memorial Hospital?

Bo Roberts was born to Sam and Nancy Roberts on October 20, 1953. He grew up on Emhouse Road with his younger brother, John.

"My brother and I tried to make extra money caddying for the golfers at the country club," Roberts said.
Roberts, whose real name is Sam, was called "Sambo" by his dad. To distinguish between the father and son, the nickname "Bo" stuck.

"My parents liked to go out on the weekends, so Friday nights, they would leave us with our grandparents Herman and Bessie Roberts on Third Avenue," Roberts said. "Then on Saturday nights, we would stay with our grandma Llora Mize and her sister, Suzy Huffman, on Fifth Avevue. Mom still lives in the house on Fifth."

Nancy Roberts said her boys called her mother "Oh-Oh."

"Mother and Suzy thought Bo and John could do no wrong," she said. "They weren't too bad -- but they were little boys. Always in a pickle. Bo was always egging John on to do idiotic things."

Roberts went to Fannin Elementary, Collins Junior High, and was a member of the Corsicana High School class of 1972, the second class to graduate from the "new" high school on West Highway 22.

"I played football until my sophomore year, but decided to give that up because it took up about half of my summer," Roberts said. "I was also in FFA."

Bo was successful at doing nothing for the first six months after graduation.

"Dad worked at Oil City Iron Works, and I had to work there summers doing grunt work," he said. "I just kind of dinked around a while, until I went to Elkins Institute of Broadcasting."

Elkins was located at Inwood and Lemmon, and Roberts had an apartment close enough he could walk to work -- as he had no car.

"It was easy, but I learned more from my first year in radio than I did at the Institute," he said. "I worked part-time at the Dallas Morning News in the mailroom. I had to hitch-hike or ride the bus to work."

His first radio gig upon graduation from the Institute was ironically at KCIR in Corsicana. Roberts worked 7 p.m. to midnight at the station which was located near the "new" high school.

"You could do whatever you wanted to do," he said. "I brought in albums from home ... I'd be on the air, and cows would be looking in the window. I would play stuff nobody ever heard of."

His next job was in Brownwood in 1974 at a station that played "old honk" country, like Earnest Tubbs, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. This was followed by jobs at four different stations in Beaumont, one of which was the first all-disco station.

A five-year stint in New Orleans was next on the Bo Roberts agenda.

"A kid in my 20's in the French Quarter -- I had lots of fun," Roberts said. "Worked at a rock station owned by a family of weirdos. They would play Led Zeppelin, then Fats Domino. The owner's brother was the program director, and used the station as his own personal jukebox. He was clueless."

It was during this time that he met Jimmy White. The whole staff of the radio station was fired in one week, and a legendary party was held at Roberts' house in honor of the occasion.

Minneapolis was the next stop, and Roberts found that it really does get to 40 below zero -- which he thought was an exaggeration prior to his arrival in Minnesota. He said the locals always told him to keep half a tank of gas in the car to keep it from freezing (said, of course, with much Yankee accent by Roberts).

Bo and Jim were first teamed at Q102 in Dallas, and the year was 1982. Radio wars between them and the ZOO went hot and heavy for a while, until Q102 "got all weird and went off the air."

"The station got sold, they brought in their own morning people," Roberts said. "Bo and Jim were out, but I had a non-compete clause. I couldn't work in Dallas for a year after that."

Roberts went to work at KZPS and spent three years there, but left because the management was "not exactly honorable." Jim White was hired by a traffic reporting service. Bo then went to work at KDBN 93.3 "The Bone" for the next two years.

"They were also pretty clueless -- like that guy in New Orleans. It was really a shame -- it started out so good," he said.

When Roberts got the chance to return to KZPS and reunite with White, he jumped on it.

"They have good people in there now that believe in us," he said. "It's a cool job -- but the morning show hours suck. I have to get up at 2:30 a.m."

Roberts is married to Deborah, and has three daughters, ages 24, 22 and 4, and one son who is 10 years old. He comes to Corsicana occasionally to visit his mom, who is now working as the librarian at Corsicana High School.

"He is always dogging me on the radio," Nancy Roberts said. "He loves to play tricks on me on the air. He can't use Jim or Locker Room -- I know their voices -- but he will get someone else to call pretending to be someone in authority with the school, claiming I'm going to be fired for not giving library books back to a student."

"Yeah, my mama is still working at the high school," he said.

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Deanna Pawlowski may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]
 


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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox