Born Robert Glodowski in Camden, NJ, Bob Lassiter was a liberal and sometimes controversial talk show host nicknamed “Mad Dog” and is best known for his long stint in Tampa Bay radio in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He landed his first radio gig in 1970 while on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands after a sales rep from a music station heard his voice in a bar and urged him to apply as a deejay. He went on to work at WOWI-FM in Norfolk, VA and even became station manager at WOUR-FM in Utica, NY. He also legally had his last name changed to Lassiter.
By 1981 Bob was working in Miami at WKQS under the name Bobby Clifford as a country music deejay. He moved into talk radio in 1984 at another Miami station, WGBS-AM, when hired to fill a weekend slot. Neil Rogers, a talk show host at competitor WINZ-AM, was so impressed with Lassiter that he urged his bosses to hire him. A deal was struck and Bob took the job but the association only lasted about a year when he uttered profanity on the air.
A year later Lassiter was lured to Tampa Bay talker WPLP. It was his first fulltime position as a talk-show host, and with his deliberately offensive and confrontational style, he took the market by storm as an equal opportunity offender with his on-air bullying. In mid-1987, with the promise of a lot more money, WFLA, the biggest AM in the area, hired Bob away from WPLP to join its other 970 personalities, Lionel, Tedd Webb, Liz Richards, and Dick Norman.
Lassiter’s show climbed high in the ratings and soon, with appearances on national TV, the demand for his talents began to grow in the country’s largest markets. In the end he went with a $1 million contract from Chicago’s ABC affiliate, WLS. It was an uneasy relationship from the start. Management wanted to maintain a non-offensive image and efforts to censor him only made the situation worse. Bob was taken off the air in 1991 after increasingly targeting his superiors with on-air attacks.
In 1993 Tampa came calling a second time, but it was talk radio newcomer WSUN who made him an offer to pull morning drive. Lassiter took the job but in a few months moved to mid-afternoons after realizing the early hours were a bad fit for his style. In spite of the change, Cox Broadcasting, WSUN’s owners, fired him and refused to release him from his non-compete agreement. The issue was settled in early 1996 and Bob returned to WFLA to resume his leadership in the ARB ratings on the night shift.
WFLA, previously owned by Jacor, was bought by Clear Channel in 1999 and began to employ some cost-cutting measures, such as adding syndicated programming, eliminating the need for local on-air personalities. Figuring that his time to go was near, Lassiter began expressing open hostility to Clear Channel’s policies. On December 1, 1999, a month before his contract was to expire, he aired all of his grievances with management on the air. The next day Lassiter was told he would not be allowed back on the air again and that his contract would not be renewed. At that point, he decided to retire from radio.
Shortly thereafter Bob began to experience health problems. Almost a decade earlier he had been diagnosed with diabetes and had ignored the problem until it had advanced to the point to where he was losing his eyesight, had lost nearly half of his foot, and was being treated for bladder cancer and loss of kidney function.
Bob lost his battle and passed away on October 13, 2006 at the age of 61.http://boblassiter.blogspot.com/