Photo: Bob Bailey (left) with Kelly McCoy at a radio reunion in the spring of 2019.
Photo: Bob Bailey (left) with Kelly McCoy at a radio reunion in the spring of 2019.

Bob Bailey, former 96rock and Z93 jock, has died of cancer

Originally posted Sunday, November 17, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Bob Bailey, a former 96rock and Z93 rock jock from the 1980s and 1990s, died of lung cancer this week. 

He was 66. 

His family posted a social media note announcing his passing. A memorial is planned in December with details to come.

Bailey was well liked and well respected by many of his radio peers at both rock stations, neither of which exist anymore.

Mara Davis, former Z93/Dave FM host who now works at Adult Swim, Atlanta Eats and WABE-FM, said she arrived in Atlanta in 1994 unsure how the existing staff at Z93 would treat a young female rock jock.

Bailey, she said, embraced her and they became fast friends, often hanging out at Highland Tap in Virginia Highland. 

She loved his on-air delivery and how he told stories with “personality, humor and vigor,”

“He had an impact on my gut, on my style,” Davis said. “He told me not to fret about mistakes, just keep rolling, keeping being yourself. That always stuck with me.”

Craig Ashwood, a former mid-day host at 94Q in the 1980s, said he became drinking buddies with Bailey. “He was a great normal guy,” Ashwood said. “No ego, no bull****, none of that radio crap. He showed up and did his job.”

Miriam Longino, who penned a regular radio column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before I arrived in 2001 (and recommended me for her gig after she stepped down), wrote a nice piece on Bailey’s departure in April, 1998 that included some background on the Sandy Springs native.

She noted that Bailey spent his entire radio career in Atlanta, starting at Georgia State University’s WRAS-FM. He spent nine years (1977-1986) spinning Van Halen and Aerosmith on 96rock.

Steve Mitchell, a DJ at 96rock in the 1980s, said Bailey became music director for a time and “was the best guy for the job. He loved music. He made sure we were playing the right stuff.” The quirkiest thing he did, Mitchell said, was to “send us Christmas CDs he burned himself of odd Christmas songs by weird artists.”

After two years at 94Q (now Star 94.1) as Gary McKee’s morning producer, he joined Z93 when it changed to classic rock in 1989. 

As afternoon jock on Z93, he created a signature daily feature called “Traffic Jam and Jokes.”

He used his own database of 15,000 comedy bits by the likes of Jeff Foxworthy, Elayne Boosler and Monty Python for the signature segment. 

After he lost his Z93 gig in 1998, Bailey was unable to find another regular radio job. For many years, Bailey hosted trivia nights around town.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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