WXXI radio host, Bob Smith, dies at 63
Rochester, N.Y. - His was a voice easily recognizable. Longtime WXXI radio talk show host Bob Smith passed away Friday at the age of 63.
For 25 years, Smith hosted the two-hour 1370 Connection show, a talk show where he enjoyed discussing politics, the economy and business.
Smith had a stroke in 2013, which caused him to later retire from WXXI.
Current host Evan Dawson paid tribute to his predecessor during the first hour of his show. Smith set the bar high for talk show host, Dawson said.
“He was so smart,” Dawson said. “He was so prepared, and that taught me that, when I came here, there's no faking it."
WXXI played clips of what Smith did best: Interview and respond to guests. One guest called in sharing his thoughts.
"Bob, had the rare ability to listen to everybody's question, to analyze it and respect the person and meld it into the conversation," that guest said.
Dawson said Smith is the standard.
"I think that Bob Smith proved that people still have an appetite for long form conversation, depth of discussion, interviews with substance, and we're going to try and honor that," Dawson said.
The Vice President of Radio at WXXI, Jeanne Fisher, shared about Smith being on the debate team at Aquinas, his interest in interest in political science, his first full-time radio job at Buffalo station, WBEN - even covering some Buffalo Bills games. She also recalled his favorite message to listeners, which was “follow the money.”
"It's a real loss for the community, because it was a voice that really needed to continue, that needed to prompt other voices to speak - and I hope that we can do him justice by keeping that conversation going here at WXXI," said Fisher.
Smith received a full ride to Cornell University, where he earned his doctorate degree.
He also taught undergraduate courses in American Political and Diplomatic History.