Hampton Roads has lost a radio legend. Robert Jackson, better known as “Bobby J,” died last week.
A family member said he suffered a massive heart attack on top of complications from COVID-19.
I worked with Bobby J at one time during his six-decade career, and I talked with some other professionals who remember this unforgettable personality.
“Bobby was huge. People loved him. He shot straight from the hip. I mean, what you see is what you get,” said Chester Benton, now the general manager at WBXB-FM, Elizabeth City, where Bobby J could be heard at night.
Chester Benton, the general manager at WBXB-FM, Elizabeth City and Jay Lang, general manager at Hampton University’s WHOV FM, speak with WAVY’s Don Roberts about the Hampton Roads radio legend. Here’s their full conversation.
Benton says Bobby J inspired him to want to become a disc jockey.
“He started his career on WHIH-AM with Jack Holmes, aka ‘Daddy Jack,’ on a teenaged show,” and with another legend from Hampton Roads, Maurice Ward, on radio stations WHIH AM and WRAP AM, where Bobby J worked, off and on for about 20 years.
Jay Lang, general manager at Hampton University’s WHOV FM, hired Bobby J to host a Wednesday night “oldie but goodie” show for several years.
“The question was: ‘why you bringing that old guy back?’ Well, kids used to listen to Bobby J. He was the last living example, to me, of radio the way it was 40-50 years ago. I had students sit in and listen so they could understand what it was like.”
Lang says Bobby J was a great talent. “You had to know him to love him-kinda guy. Kinda like that uncle in your family, when he comes by, you say ‘oh lawd, here he comes!’ That was Bobby J!”
“You loved him, and sometime you hated him, but you had to respect him.”
Bobby J is survived by one son.