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March 2015
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WFMT Remembers Bob Parlocha (1938-2015)

Bob Parlocha photo

We wish to share with you the very sad news that Bob Parlocha, host of the WFMT Radio Network’s Jazz Network since its inception in 1995, passed away unexpectedly yesterday afternoon. Bob died of a heart attack and had been rehabilitating from an illness over the past year.

Bob, who was based in the Bay Area and was a full-time employee of WWCI, was the first and only host of the Jazz Network. He was with us for 20 years. Bob will be missed by all of us at WFMT and, of course, by his many, many fans who listened to his daily program on stations throughout the United States.

In addition to hosting the Jazz Network, which was broadcast on scores of stations throughout the United States,  Bob was a tenor and soprano saxophone player, host of the Dinner Jazz Show on KJAZ and later the station’s music director. Bob was also a passionate gourmet cook.

We will miss Bob’s presence immensely. Our condolences go to his wife, Pam, and their children.

Sincerely,

Don Mueller

WFMT Director of Operations

  • bill dedman

    What a sad day for Jazz. We lost a lot when we lost Mr. Parlocha. His program will be sorely missed by thousands of jazz fans, everywhere. R.I.P., Bob; you were the best!

  • I listen to Bob Parlocha 7 days a week through syndication via radio station KKJZ in Long Beach, California during the late night and early morning hours.

    Even though his archived programming will continue on many stations through out the U.S., Canada and around the world, it won’t be the same. Rest in Peace.

  • George

    Ditto the previous comments plus I would like to commend WFMT for posting this notice about Bob Parlocha. I doubt that there are very many of his listeners who were aware of the arrangement Bob had with the Chicago classical station to source his program.

  • Scott

    I’m so sorry to hear about Bob. I’ve listened for the last 20 years, and loved his taste in jazz. Sometimes I wonder what keeps jazz going, and I believe he did a great job in that regard. You could tell he was passionate about the music. As he often said “mainstream jazz is what we do here.” Rest easy, Bob. You will be missed by many.

  • Simon Sezz

    Bob Parlocha’s show was a viable part of the American jazz scene. Because he was a musician himself, his programming was very insightful. I believe that he & Chuck Niles (also a musician as well as jazz host) set the standard for jazz programming. Now they’re both gone, and their loss is irreplaceable.

  • Terry Coen

    It was always a great experience to work with Bob over the many years I’ve known him. His passing is a great loss to the Jazz world, and his legacy will live on as a major player in the Jazz scene. RIP Bob.

  • Nan & Mont, Lincoln NE

    We have been fans — listening to Bob’s show on KIOS Omaha NE as well as NET Radio — for years and will miss him (and his jazz insights) immensely.

  • Orlando Cruz

    Fuiste único, aprendí mucho, buen viaje hermano!

  • Arturo Gomez

    Am streaming here in CLE, Ohio.

    So very sorry to hear of Bob Parlocha’s passing. I listened
    to him ‘way back when he was on KJAZ in San Francisco … and I was there, too.

    A cohort of his on KJAZ was a cat by the name of Bud Spangler. Bud
    and I became friends several years ago and we used to talk about many things
    from “the old days” in SF, including Bob.

    Bud used to chide BP about the fact that this “studio”
    was, in fact, just a space in his garage. I don’t know how true
    that was, but the camaraderie amongst those former KJAZers was wonderful.

    Tom Anderson
    … a supporter of KUVO and a sometime resident of Evergreen. CO

  • Steve

    I’ve been listening to him for years on WMUK in Kalamazoo. I will miss him greatly. I greatly increased the size of my jazz CD collection by listening to him and writing down info on songs he played that I liked. Thank you, Bob, for everything. May you rest in peace.

  • danielduane

    I knew that it was getting late on WRCJ when suddenly I would hear Bob Parlocha announce the tunes and dispense wisdom. Jazz @ night has been the grace that would make a bad day seem better! May his family and all his listeners be blessed with the memories of the good this giant of the music has given to all of us!

  • Gerry* & Dawn

    We listened to Bob for many years on WMUK in Kalamazoo, MI. He influenced our knowledge and appreciation of artists, styles, and the subtleties of jazz as a musical form. No one will ever have the insight and anecdotes he was able to share with his listeners. Bob will be greatly missed!

  • CWR0747

    Very sorry to hear this, I enjoyed Bob’s show on WRCJ in Detroit. I posted on a local site that a few years ago I heard Bob talking about his mentor, the late Bud Spangler, whom I knew during his days in Detroit at WDET and in Contemporary Jazz Quintet. I emailed Bob, inquiring as to Bud’s whereabouts. Bob sent me a very nice reply and was kind enough to forward my message to Bud. RIP, both.

  • TXBassMan

    I’ve been listening to Bob every morning in Texas before I head out to work. Sharing something as intimate as music creates a sense of friendship with people, like me, on the other side of the mic. Bob will be missed!

  • JazzGurl

    I am heartbroken. Bob Parlocha was absolutely the best jazz companion. I don’t know how I will get through the coming days, weeks, months, years without Bob’s company and commentary as the music played and “we” listened. WRCJ in Detroit, my station, has lost a brilliant star. I do recall Bob’s wistful comments, quite recently as a matter of fact, about missing his mentor and lamenting the passing of so many others. I like to think that there is jamming going on somewhere, with Bob and the others playing on and on and on. Bob will be in the pocket and swinging as always.

  • Bruce Rutter

    I’ve been listening to Bob most nights on WRCJ when I’ve been home for years now and in the car on the way home from rehearsals and gigs. My father (who passed away in Toronto, ON in June of ’13 at the age of 88) was a huge jazz fan and I turned him onto Bob’s show. He used to listen online in the evening and I would do him the occasional air check from the local broadcast here for him to listen to in the car. Bob will be missed by many, many jazz fans world-wide.

  • Patrick Kevin Riley

    Would catch Bob’s radio show if I managed to get on the road to work early enough in the morning. Usually a set of tunes, commentary, and then he’d sign off. Impressed with the full spectrum of knowledge re: musicians, sidemen, eras, recording dates. Felt as if I was being given a valuable history lesson, in the context of a casual chat… Started my day with encouragement. Passing of an icon, much like Leigh Kahmann’s passing here in the Twin Cities. Will be missed.

  • Leo M whitebird

    Bob has been my late night friend for years on KBEM Jazz 88.5 in Mpls- I am nocturnal by nature and awake late at night most of the time, and I sleep with the radio on if not….His anecdotes and historical notes were always fruitful and informative and entertaining. My alarm clock for years was not a bell or buzzer, but KBEM starting the program loop again; as a musician, my unconscious said”didn’t we already play that?” and I would drift into waking life on a groove-Thanks Bob-I feel like I knew you, and you made my life better…

    • Elizabeth Bader

      Hey Leo, so good to see that I know a fellow Bob Parlocha fan. Such sad news. From Beth (Jordan’s wife).

  • Jim Brown

    I grew up in West Virginia, and AM radio was my lifeline. It was late night radio that hooked me on jazz nearly 60 years — guys like Dick Martin at WWL, Sid McCoy at WCFL, Bill Ardis at WHAM, Daddyo Daylie at WMAQ, and because I had a shortwave radio, Willis Conover at the Voice of America. Late night jazz radio has been the lifeline for millions like me over the years, and it was a red letter day for me when I first heard Bob Parlocha on WFMT’s Satellite Network. I was living in Chicago then, and he was only on one night a week. I’ve been a regular listener ever since. Fast forward a few years and jazz stations had begun streaming on the internet. I found Bob on stations in Tennessee, Colorado, and California.Fast forward a few years and jazz stations had begun streaming on the internet. I found Bob on stations in Tennessee, Colorado, and California.

    Late night jazz requires special talent, sensitivity, love of the music, and a broad knowledge of it. An important function of jazz radio is exposing listeners to the best, and telling them about the music in a way that makes them fans of the music. Bob was as good as anyone I’ve ever heard, in the tradition of the greatest of those who have helped us through the nights. He respected his listeners, never talked down to us, gave us his very best all the time.

    I’ve lived in the Bay Area since 2006, and Bob and I had a mutual friend in saxophonist Geoff Roach. Through Geoff, I learned of Bob’s ongoing health problems that really made his life tough for the last few years. But you would never have a clue by listening on the air. When his health permitted, Bob played tenor in a big band led by Bob Enos.

    I met Bob once, about three years ago, when he was MC for a tribute concert for Mark Murphy at Yoshi’s in Oakland. He did that from a seat in the front row. After the concert, I approached him. He was warm and friendly, and we chatted briefly. I suspected that he worked from the audience floor because he was using a wheel chair, and it made it easier for him. Or perhaps it was his modesty — he wanted Mark and the singers who were saluting him to get the attention.

    I got the bad news from Geoff in an email. He wrote, “Bob Parlocha passed away Saturday. His heart gave out. Going to miss that voice and the tenor playing, Bill Perkins was his idol. This is hard.”

    It’s damned hard for me too, Geoff, and for thousands of listeners all over the world. I’m going to miss him. A lot.

    Jim Brown

    Santa Cruz, CA

  • Phil von Hake

    Thanks and R.I.P., Bob -> I spent many a night listening to you 🙂
    PvH

  • Dan Reddan

    Bob was my portal into the world of jazz music, as I am sure he was for countless others. I can’t begin to tell you how many musicians came to my attention because of him, and I grieve for the jazz community as a whole because a scholar and advocate like Bob makes life better for every single member of that community. You don’t just replace guys like him, this might leave a hole that can never be filled. Godspeed Brother!

  • out west jazz

    I would always catch Bob in the early morning and found great comfort and peace as the dawn sky opened up. Either end of the day he was a warm and loving voice, with great heart and insights. I will miss him Radio is such a great way to live, especially jazz radio and the community it inspires. Bless Bob Parlocha

  • Black River Jazz

    Sad Sad news! Bob’s pleasing personality goes hand-in-hand with his selection of music. They compliment each other. It will be hard to find that sincere match for a replacement.

  • Dyrk Trout

    I am shedding some tears as I write this. Bob’s voice and great knowledge of jazz and jazz musicians was both entertaining and informative. Late night (as it played on my local NPR station) will never be the same. One of my favorite line of his was when he would announce the musicians on a record and then add “and _________ as the drummer” . Subtle, Bob, subtle.

  • Gail Price

    I feel blessed to have had Bob Parlocha’s voice and music in my ears and in my mind night after night and year after year. I will miss both.

  • Jthep Redell

    I listened on Friday and Saturday nights on Wisconsin Public Radio. There is never enough time allotted to jazz in the North Woods. A perfect voice for a perfect music. But jazz lives on even though it occasionally loses some voices and some unique sounds. Hoping that WPR can continue the jazz.

  • Scott Whitfield

    RIP, Bob. You were a TRUE champion for our music, and a gentleman to boot.

  • Michael Waldoch

    May your transition be peaceful, Bob. You and the music provided much pleasure to a great many of us.

  • Christian Kennerney

    RIP to my favourite Jazz DJ of all time. Your night time jazz sessions on Jazz 91.1 were the best ever. Thank you for introducing me to so many incredible artitsts.

  • barbsteff

    I am sorry to learn of Bob Parlocha’s death. I would enjoy his Friday night program on the car radio while driving home from a meeting. RIP

  • Roy

    Very much enjoyed falling asleep to Bob’s selections and hearing him talk about jazz. Will definitely miss hearing him.

  • Doug Fisher

    Was sad when I heard today. Always one of my favorites and many an overnight was spent listening to Bob. Condolences to his friends, family and those who worked with him.

  • Warren

    I will miss his personal knowledge and his off-the-cuff casual evaluations of each cut as though he were there when it happened. Which, of course, he was, at least some of the time.

  • voodoo

    i’m stunned ……holding back tears……..there is nobody like Bob Parlocha……..I can’t believe has passed…

  • http://www.pbs.org/newshour/ru

    Though I am more of a classical fan than a jazz fan, I like to broaden my horizons, so I generally have had the program on. Bob had a lot to offer, much from his own experience. My condolences to the family and his fans. Janet Wolfe, Marshfield, WI

  • Marv

    This is quite a shock! I know everyone has to go sometime but maybe if I knew he was ailing I’d be in a better frame of mind, this is just so hard right now.

  • Elizabeth Bader

    I have been a fan of Bob Parlocha ever since he was picked up by Wisconsin Public radio a number of years ago after Michael Hanson retired. I immediately became a big fan of Bob’s and looked forward to his show every weekend. He was so human, giving us little glimpses of himself and his past, not to mention sharing his vast knowledge of jazz as well playing great jazz selections. My heart goes out to his family, friends, co-workers and my fellow fans. He will be greatly missed.

  • Carlos Edu Contreras

    I’m 25 and I listened to Bob Parlocha just a few weeks before moving from the mexican border to another city where I couldn’t listen to him anymore but I can say he had an impact on me.
    It was a hard time, years ago, where I should put an entire life just behind the next one. My old house started to empty, no more furniture, and just an air mattress where I slept, while I found myself listening to my cell phone, as a public radio enthusiast.
    Hours before midnight in El Paso, Mr. Parlocha introduced me into Jazz, with the program he hosted on KTEP.
    I became a fan since then, and I understood jazz better thanks to him, so I’m proud to say I’m maybe a part of his legacy: a neophyte in the jazz world.
    ¡Thank, you, Bob! Rest in Peace and condolences to his family and friends.

  • Tom and reggie

    what a great loss to our jazz world..as listeners to KUWR in Laramie Wy, nights were always a lot better listening to Bob and his tremendous choice of music. he will surely be missed greatly.

  • Ava B

    I’ve been listening to Bob’s overnight program on KUVO in Denver for years — he was a true friend to all night owls. It is hard to believe that he is gone, since I continue listening and enjoy his show as always. I’ve noticed shows sometimes being repeated, especially during the past year when he was ill, but I’ve never minded hearing his repeats — each of his shows is a work of art that can be enjoyed again and again, just like a great jazz recording. I hope KUVO will be able to continue airing Bob’s archived shows as much as possible — and I hope his archivists keep all his personal comments intact, as they are a big part of why so many people love his shows. Rest in peace, dear Bob.

  • nick molinary

    I started listening to Bob on my nightly drives home from work, I quickly fell in love with the program and have been a fan ever since. His knowledge of jazz and the wonderful anecdotes he told enriched my life and kept me going. As a student this semester, I turn on the radio as soon as 8 o’clock rolls around and let the music accompany me as I read, write or just do the dishes. I’m saddened that he died so unexpectedly and I wish I could thank him for all the great music he provided. Now that he’s gone I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I miss you Bob and you’ll always be remembered, love to you as well as your family and friends.

  • Mark

    I just learned of Bob’s passing. I am deeply saddened. I’ve been listening to Bob since I lived in the Bay Area in the 1970’s and every morning here on the East Coast via the Internet. As much as I loved the music he played, I anxiously awaited his comments about the music. Especially his riffs to end the hour before he pressed the button. I’m really going to miss that…

    My condolences to his family, friends and fellow fans.

  • Stephanie

    Tuning in “Jazz With Bob Parlocha” late on weekend nights has been such a pleasure, hearing Bob’s voice a comfort. I’m very sad he’s gone. Thanks for sharing your memories and the best jazz with us, Bob.

  • Philip

    Dinner Jazz from KJAZ, Oakland CA. was the best. I vowed I would never leave the Bay Area and KJAZ. Then one day it was a Spanish radio station. Then picked up Bob on a Las Vegas station.

  • Kevin Marvel

    While going through a tough personal time, I relied on Bob’s radio program as a steady anchor. Not only was the music pleasant and meaningful, I learned a lot from his calm, complete discussions of the music, it’s players and the history of Jazz…I will miss him immensely!

    Kevin.

  • Pete Michaud, Salem, Mass.

    Just today, Jan.17, I learned of Bob’s passing. And like all the others, I am stunned.
    I found his show here in Boston a few years ago when my sleeping schedule changed. I had thought that broadcast jazz had disappeared! By his speaking style, I first thought he must be a retired banker/jazz buff !
    He introduced me to alot of great stuff. He was a gentleman, and an education. I will miss him,

  • zvineyard

    I’m at a loss. I loved hearing Bob’s show late at night. I started listening to the show in college, when it was broadcast on KISU over night. I’d be happy to donate my time toward getting an archive of all his shows up online for dedicated fans.

  • Joan Stevenson

    If anyone has a link to any archived broadcasts of Bob’s PLEASE LINK ME!!!

  • snideelf

    Sorry to have only now found out Mr. Parlocha passed away last year. Condolences to his family.
    There should be a link for his archived broadcasts because the tracks he played each night were really that good.
    When I didn’t have anything better to do I would listen late at night after 12am and would write down the names of the tracks that he played that really caught my ear.