When asked to do a personal interview with my friend Bob Sievers, better known to local radio listeners as Mr. WOWO, I jumped at the chance. Bob is known as everybody’s friend and has been a household name for decades. I was flattered when Bob said he would take off time from his busy schedule to let me have this special interview.
Bob started out by telling me that he had been a freshman at South Side High School in 1932. He had a paper route that started around Bowser & Oliver Streets, went over to McKee Avenue, and then to Rudisill Boulevard.
After delivering his paper route each day, he said he signed on to WOWO for The Fort Wayne Gospel Temple’s “MORNING BIBLE RADIO CLASS”. Back in 1932, The Gospel Temple was located at the corner of Rudisill and Clinton Court. At that time WOWO was broadcasting on 1060AM but later switched to 1190AM in 1954.
After high school, Bob joined the Navy in 1942 and went to radar school at the Great Lakes Naval Station. He became so proficient in radar that he was asked to write the Navy’s first radar book.
Bob remembers being on the island of Guam in August 1945 during WWII, when the planes took off for Japan with atomic bombs. Bob had been in charge of the radar looking for incoming attacks.
When asked about his family life, Bob said he lives with his lovely wife Harriet and their family dog Mae Mee here in the Waynedale area. Bob and Harriet met at the Gospel Temple when she was a singer in the choir. Bob said he had quit his job, joined the Navy, and got married, all in three days. He related a story about the time when Reverend Clifford Hollisfield was baptizing people during a live broadcast at the Temple and he dropped the microphone into the water and fell in trying to retrieve it; I suppose you could say we Baptized everyone that was listening to the broadcast.
When Westinghouse bought WOWO and WGL radio, they hired Bob on full-time. With the exception of the time spent in the Navy, he worked from August or 1936 until he retired August 1986 and then they wanted him to stay on for one more year. Bob did quite a few different things on radio. He had a man-on-the-street spot from 1950 to 1975 called “ONE MOMENT PLEASE”. He interviewed people live and asked them things like where they were from, etc. He had live broadcasts from the Roxy Grill, the Emboyd Theatre. The Golden Men’s Wear, the Grand Leader, Baber’s corner and other places.
Bob, even helped people find their lost pets since Bob was an animal lover himself. One person called in and said they lost their dog Kenny and he needed his medication. A person found Kenny, heard the announcement, and called in. He said he had found the dog roaming around on South Calhoun Street. Another person lost a cat named Ronchester. Someone called in and said they spotted the cat up a neighbor’s tree just off Lower Huntington Road in Waynedale.
Every morning Bob would say he was ‘serving’ breakfast from suggestions that people sent in. One morning he announced that he was serving Nanny Berry pancakes and thought that they sounded great and that he thought he would get some real ones after work. His morning sidekick, Jay Gould, said, “Don’t you know what that stuff is?” Bob said, “I assume that it’s something really good, right?” Jay then told Bob that Nanny Berries are what sheep leave in the pasture or have hanging from their little woolen behinds.
Now Bob spends a lot of time showing travelogues of trips he has been on and working for charitable not-for-profit organizations like the Foster Park Lions Club. He helps sell fresh fruit, coloring books, wreaths, candies, and Christmas trees from right after Thanksgiving, up until Christmas, at Bobick’s on Bluffton Road.
Bob Sievers was radio’s #1 morning broadcaster from the very beginning and up until his retirement. One of Bob’s favorite hobbies is HAM radio and talking to people all over the world every morning. You can still hear Bob on radio doing announcements every once in a while. He hasn’t entirely quit just yet.
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