Bobby C ends 40-year radio career, with plans to transition to TV

By JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer

Published: 08-08-2023 3:35 PM

After four decades in radio, Franklin County DJ and sports broadcaster Robert “Bobby C” Campbell is hanging up his headphones.

The Turners Falls resident said his broadcast of the “monumental” rivalry softball game between Greenfield and Turners Falls high schools on June 16 marked his final time on air with Bear Country 95.3. He credited this decision to a new opportunity for him to be a high school sports play-by-play announcer on local television stations.

“As the old saying goes, when one door closes, another door opens,” Campbell wrote in an email. He added that working with Greenfield Community Television (GCTV), Montague Community Television (MCTV) and Frontier Community Access Television (FCAT) to cover sports will be “a slam dunk” for him. His first community television broadcast is expected to be Sept. 5, a field hockey game between Greenfield High School and Frontier Regional School.

Campbell recalled beginning his radio career as a high schooler in 1983 as part of a weekly sports show called “The Sports Forum,” which was broadcast from Deerfield Academy and hosted by Mark Durant on WGAJ 91.7 FM. He then took an internship, which later became a full-time position, at local radio station WHAI 98.3 FM, for which he broadcast professional sports, played music and delivered news. Starting in 1986, he did shorter stints and held part-time jobs with other stations before returning to WHAI in 1997 and staying until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. Most recently, Campbell worked as a color commentator for Bear Country 95.3 youth sports.

While his decision to shift from radio to TV was spurred by feeling like it would be more fun to do the play-by-play and not just the color for sports broadcasts, he also acknowledged that radio has changed drastically since he started broadcasting 40 years ago.

“As a matter of fact, it’s night and day,” Campbell wrote. “I loved old radio, working live every day and truly being a DJ with my own show, where nowadays, the DJ literally voice-tracks their show and everything is pre-recorded except morning drive.”

He added that radio’s transformation “took away a lot of the interaction with the listener.”

“It was like a Cumberland Farms — the door was never locked,” Campbell said of a radio host’s studio from times past, noting that listeners could also call and make song requests. “Now you call that number and it just rings forever.”

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Still, even as he leaves the profession, Campbell maintains hope for the future of radio. The “mom-and-pop” dynamic is still very much in demand, he said.

“My goal is, if we could bring back old-time radio, I think it could make a big-time comeback again,” Campbell projected. “If you ask any of the listeners out there, they’ll say the same thing I’m saying: it just lost its personal touch.”

Campbell thanked Jeff Tirrell, Chris Collins, Shawn Hubert, Kevin Bazan, Mike Dion, Jay Fidanza and the Haigis family for helping his career feel fulfilling. He said he believes his next chapter as a TV broadcaster will continue his momentum as he strives to “make high school sports more visible.”

“My 40-year radio career is over,” he wrote, “but you haven’t heard the last of Bobby C.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or jmendoza@recorder.com.

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