Charlotte Radio Legend Robert D. Raiford Stepping Down From WRFX's 'John Boy & Billy' After Stroke
June 9, 2016 at 3:47 PM (PT)
After suffering a debilitating stroke in AUGUST, 88-year-old CHARLOTTE radio legend and noted curmudgeon ROBERT D. RAIFORD is retiring from the syndicated "John Boy & Billy" radio show, which is based at iHEARTMEDIA Classic Rock WRFX (99.7 THE FOX) according to the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER.
The stroke has robbed RAIFORD of his mobility, sensation on his right side and, more importantly, his voice.
Some of the hobbies he's had to also curtail include riding a HARLEY, piloting planes and parachuting. RAIFORD officially retired in MAY, but this morning his co-hosts JOHN ISLEY and BILLY JAMES told the news to listeners he's done. For now.news to listeners that Raiford was done. For now, at least.
“We’ve made it clear to him that there will always be a place for him on our show,” ISLEY said in a statement. “We look forward to announcing his ‘un-retirement’ soon.”
RAIFORD began his broadcast career as a baseball announcer for local games on WEGO-AM (980) in 1945 in his native CONCORD, NC, as a 15-year-old. He worked at WTOP in WASHINGTON, D.C., where one of his colleagues was WALTER CRONKITE.
For the funeral of JOHN F. KENNEDY in 1963, the CBS radio network used him as one of the reporters narrating along the route.
“The coffin approaches, drawn by those seven white horses. People raise their cameras to take pictures; others stand on tiptoe to try to get a better view … A child of 6 said, ‘He was nice. We went to church and prayed for him when we heard he’d been shot.’ Another man said, ‘He’s just a good Joe.’”
RAIFORD was fired from his night show on CHARLOTTE's WBT-AM for decrying the attack on singer NAT KING COLE in BIRMINGHAM, AL, when talk of racial strife was strictly forbidden on the airwaves. When he was fired on-air, RAIFORD played COLE’s song “For All We Know, We May Never Meet Again” that includes the lyrics, “We come and go, like the ripples on a stream.” Then he signed off.
He was featured on the "John Boy And Billy Show" for the past three decades. In the early days, RAIFORD would report on stories from the wilder supermarket tabloids about Bat Boy and Lobster Man in his faux-serious voice. Later, he began writing commentaries just speaking his mind railing against what he thought were the outrages of the day and constantly savaged his eternal enemy: political correctness.