It’s the end of an era for listeners of KDES 98.5 FM in Palm Springs: Long-time personality Bob “The Bopper” O’Brien has abruptly departed from the station.
According to allaccess.com, the KDES program director and morning-show host was let go due to budgetary reasons. The article went on to say Bob is already looking for his next opportunity and can be reached at bobobrien.tv.
The Independent emailed O’Brien, and he declined to comment—other than to send thanks to his fans—due to a “signed agreement.”
One of O’Brien’s favorite expressions is: “This is B.O.B. on the J.O.B.” Now, unfortunately, B.O.B. is out of a J.O.B., at least on KDES.
O’Brien had just come back from vacation and was on the air for one day before being permanently removed. Whatever the budgetary reasons were that led to his dismissal are between him and the owner of the station, RR Broadcasting.
However, removing a talent like him who has been a fixture on KDES for nine years just to save money simply doesn’t make sense. O’Brien started on KDES in 2004, doing the midday show. Listeners looked forward to his noon-time request segment, called “Bob’s Bistro.” He continued doing mid-days until 2012, when he replaced Danny Fox on the morning show.
Interestingly, Danny Fox, another long-time fixture on KDES, also left abruptly without any explanation.
O’Brien’s sense of humor made him a perfect fit for the morning show, and his encyclopedic knowledge of music helped him program the station, which bills itself as “The Greatest Hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.”
As it turns out, O’Brien is also an accomplished author. His book Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979, A Complete Guide was written under his real name, Bob Leszczak.
According to his website, his next book is Who Did It First? 500 Very Famous Songs Originally Recorded by Someone Else.
O’Brien also sang with the Duprees early in his career.
O’Brien’s absence has created a complete reshuffling of the KDES on-air personalities. Legendary DJ Russ O’Hara, has moved from afternoons to mornings. Listeners from L.A. may remember O’Hara, who was on KRLA for many years.
The former evening DJ, Victor Cruz, is now doing the afternoon shift. A syndicated request and dedication program hosted by Art Laboe has been expanded each night.
KDES started broadcasting in 1957 as an AM station at 920 on the dial. KDES-FM went on the air in 1963, and a few decades later began playing oldies, which has since morphed into classic hits
Their original frequency was 104.7. However, in 2010, KDES moved to 98.5, taking over the spot on the dial once occupied by beautiful-music station KWXY, also owned by RR Broadcasting. KWXY now broadcasts on 1340 AM, which is a travesty to the large senior population in the area, as they have to listen to this unique station on the less-sharp AM band.
In this age of media conglomerates, mergers and acquisitions are to be expected. But tinkering with a beloved personality like Bob O’Brien is a shame. He was the heart and soul of the station.
In today’s radio market, it’s unusual to find a DJ that actually knows something about the music they’re playing. Driving around town, it was always reassuring to hear Bob’s voice. His quick wit always brightened up my day.
KDES may still play the greatest hits, but Bob O’Brien—and his listeners—took the biggest hit of all when he was let go from the station.