Bob Coburn, the influential DJ and longtime host of the syndicated radio program "Rockline", passed away earlier today after a battle with stage four lung cancer. He was 68 years old.
KLOS program director Keith Cunningham told All Access: "The outpouring of support has been jaw dropping. The radio and music industries lost a legend today.
"Bob told me about this in late May or early June and had been fighting this like a champion.
"Working with a guy like Bob was a bucket list opportunity. Not a day went by that I didn't learn something about music or an artist that I'd never have known were it not for him. Bob had so much knowledge and humility. He was a true pleasure to work with."
DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell said: "So very sad to hear of the passing of our old friend Bob Coburn earlier today. Bob was the voice of 'Rockline'. He was a true champion of the genre, and an encyclopedic lover of the music. R.I.P. Bob. You will be missed by many."
Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET: "Bob was the best, the real deal!!! I will never forget how he treated me and my brother!! I remember we complimented him on a amazing interview he did with VAN HALEN, and two days later, he had it shipped to us on CD. He was the voice of rock and roll and his interviews are priceless!!! I'll miss you, Bob!! Sincere condolences to Bob's family and friends! Black December rolls on!!!"
Bob survived by his wife Lynette and three children. A private ceremony has been planned, and a public celebration of Bob's life will be held sometime in January.
Coburn's iconic, nationally syndicated rock radio program originated in Los Angeles in 1981 and ran for more than 33 years before shutting down in 2014.
Asked what led him to a career in radio, Bob told All Access in a 2015 interview: "There was no lightning-bolt moment when I realized I wanted to be in radio. After I left Texas Tech University, I knew for sure I didn't want to stay at the insurance company I was working at, so I took a community college course in Radio 101. I met a student there whose dad was a radio engineer and he had the magic elixir, a functional five-watt transmitter. We even took requests from the neighborhood kids so we knew we were on to something. It lasted about three months until the FCC showed up with a cease-and-desist order and left with a homemade transmitter, but I never looked back. I got a map, traced a 100-mile circle around Dallas on it and drove south."
Coburn also spoke about his history with "Rockline", saying: "My good friend and mentor, B. Mitchell Reed, was the original host from May of 1981 when the show first aired, but shortly after he became seriously ill and I took over for him (with his blessing, of course), in October of 1981. He passed away in March of 1982. I learned later I had five shows to make it or break it, and I guess I did pretty well. I remember in that first group were Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart and Neil Young ... trial by fire. The show grew very rapidly and before long we had something like 48 of the top-50 markets, hundreds of affiliates and it was must-listen-radio. The owners at the time, the Global Satellite Network, had an A+ team in place and they actually made it all happen, it didn't just fall out of the sky. Some real pros in disparate fields pulled together to make radio history."
A tribute page for Coburn has been set up at this location.
Legendary 'Rockline' Host Bob Coburn Dies After Battle With Cancer - Blabbermouth.netRIP brother Bob- so very sad? https://t.co/IWIiIiRWxz— Glenn Hughes (@glenn_hughes) December 18, 2016
No!— Steve Lukather (@stevelukather) December 18, 2016
Bob Coburn.. a friend and one of the last great DJ's from the old school.
RIP old friend.
One of the really good guys!
Sad to report the loss of a great friend and Radio Legend. Mr. Bob Coburn passed away today. Millions of listeners will miss you brother. pic.twitter.com/tZa51S7sWF— Don Felder (@donfelder) December 18, 2016
RIP Bob Coburn. Always had @RealBrotherCane on Rockline & inspired our spontaneous performance of "Synchronicity" by The Police, live on air— Damon Johnson (@DamonJOfficial) December 18, 2016
@BLABBERMOUTHNET so sorry to hear this bad news. RIP dear friend ?????— Neal Schon (@NealSchonMusic) December 18, 2016
Such sad news that Bob Coburn has passed away. I knew Bob, LA’s “Godfather of Rock and Roll”, DJ extraordinaire, and...Posted by Joe Satriani on Sunday, December 18, 2016