Detroit Broadcasting Icon, Michigan Hunger-Working Poor Advocate, Life-Long Outdoorsman-Navy Veteran Bob Bauer Dies At Age 63
Detroit & Howell, MI – Bob Bauer was a unique soul. Like many whose core was built in the Motor City, Bob Bauer was specific to Detroit. The 63-year old broadcast icon traveled well, serving with global distinction at Sea with the United States Navy over a four-year stint coinciding with the end of the Vietnam War. Mr. Bauer also did on-air broadcasting stints in Celina and Toledo, OH, Tampa, FL as he took his passion formed on Armed Forces Radio and built his career and renown for nearly 40-years. As Bob would often say, “a life like mine could only happen from and in Detroit.”
Born in Detroit, MI on September 2, 1953, Bauer grew up working class scuffling, hustling and coming of age with in a house filled with the Opera music of his loving parents, Robert and Mara Bauer. A classic “East-Sider” living on Mack and Charlevoix, Bauer took the cue of his generation riding the British Invasion and Motown through his formative years. Forming solid rock bands in Junior High and at Mount Clemens High School (1972 Graduate), Bob played shows at Church Halls, VFW parties and outdoor house parties, jamming covers by Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seger and later embracing Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and early Metal.
Understanding what he did not want to do (factory work, manufacturing rut, full-time college) and being of Draft Age, Bauer joined the Navy after high school, serving with distinction on the USS Colorado. Bob’s tour of duty began in August 1974 and concluded in July 1978, after tours in Guam, the Caribbean and being based at Navy installations throughout North America.
Having seen the world and posting and broadcasting frequently about serving his country throughout his media career, Bauer was deeply affected by the men and women he served with in the U.S. Military. Throughout his broadcast career, Bauer was an advocate for Veterans’ rights, missing POWs and the effect it had on their families from the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Bauer worked to publicize and ensure solid medical coverage and constant improvement via the VA Hospitals on behalf of the veterans served. As he would often do, Bauer put his heart and career on his sleeve in 1985, working closely with Rock Station WLLZ and Nationally Renowned Detroit Area Musicians on the Guitar Army effort in 1985.
“Bob always had a heart of gold,” said Doug Podell, a renowned rock broadcaster, longtime friend and colleague of Mr. Bauer who worked with Bob then at WLLZ. “His passion for family, friends and his community meant everything to him. We were lucky enough to grow up in the business that we both loved. We shared many great memories together. I will miss him.”
Nationally renowned Detroit drummer Brian Pastoria met Bob Bauer in 1985 as they collaborated with a Who’s Who of legendary rockers to help Vietnam Veterans via WLLZ’s Guitar Army effort. Pastoria would join his bandmate and brother Mark – a Grammy Award winning producer (Aretha Franklin, Eminem to name a few) building an Internet-driven U Detroit Television and Radio Broadcast from Detroit with Bauer over a three-year run in 2011-14.
“Bob was a legend in Detroit radio and he had the heart of a giant, giving to so many over the years,” Brian Pastoria said. “I really got to know Bob in ’85 when we did Guitar Army in support of the Vietnam Veterans. Bob was a Veteran himself and he never forgot his fellow service members. His passion was undeniable and contagious.
“We spent three years together at U Detroit doing our online Web TV-Radio Station,” Pastoria added. “It was an experience of a lifetime. I will forever hold Bob’s spirit close to my heart and feel the love he shared with so many over the years.”
Upon leaving the Navy, Bob assessed his options and decided broadcasting and Rock and Roll Music was the career for him. Meeting Dick Kernan and the Broadcast-Media Education team at Specs Howard “changed my life,” Bauer said. An avid Facebook-Social Media artist-writer, Bauer recently reconnected with Kernan, thanking him for all he and Specs Howard meant for his career, one that lead him through Rock Radio (WABX, WKKI Celina, OH, WXEZ-Toledo, Stints in Florida, WLLZ, Talk Radio with the New Medium at WXYT-AM) and a variety of formats in a 33-Year Career Run.
Throughout Mr. Bauer’s career, Bob always had a penchant to stand up for what he called “regular, working people.” A self-proclaimed Libertarian, Bauer surprised many by holding his own as a mid-morning Talk Show Host and News Reader on WXYT-1270 sandwiched between idealists like Right-Wing Mark Scott in Afternoon Drive Time and ex-Tiger-pitching-and-controversy-great Denny McLain in the mornings in the mid-to-late ‘90s.
Throughout his career, Bauer was a tireless Food Advocate for the Working Poor, focusing his effort to help children and the single parents who needed help to make ends meet. Raising millions in combined Awareness, Food, Dollars and connection, Bauer recently recalled finding his life’s work almost by accident in a June interview on Detroit Music Station at the Penobscot Building in Detroit. His distinctive efforts began at the Northwood Shopping Center, Woodward and 13 Mile, Royal Oak, MI – with the Wheels for Meals Program. For longtime Detroiters of a certain age, seeing Bob’s truck being set up around Thanksgiving signified the holidays.
“We were working together at WLLZ with Doug Podell and our Promotions staff and were kicking around an idea where one of us would live in a trailer by a truck collecting food and donations between Thanksgiving and the Holiday season,” Bauer said. “Somehow, by luck of the draw, I think I was volunteered. Anyway, from that moment on, I got focused. I studied food and hunger issues, challenges faced by the working poor and always centered our efforts on the children.
“Working with the Oakland County and Gleaners Food Banks and area Food collection agencies became a life mission, something that ranks among the best things I was able to do in my life,” Bauer said. “And looking back, the connection it made throughout Detroit is something I will never forget. It’s funny looking back due to all the concern we had at the beginning around logistics, liability, potential pitfalls of being out in a parking lot day and night, and yet, we did it anyway. It’s something I will never forget.”
Bauer’s legacy will be carried on by his family and his legions of friends and volunteers, said his daughter, Rachel Bauer.
“My father always talked about giving back to others and volunteering for those who are less fortunate,” Rachel said. “Thanks to him, I continue to volunteer on Food Drives and other community service and charity efforts as part of my daily life. He instilled that in us.”
Throughout his evolving, sometimes turbulent and ever-changing broadcast career, Bauer was served well by his distinctive, husky, “man you’d have a beer with” voice, a regular-working-stiff persona that combined well for his love for gut-level Detroit rock – “a sound you just know when you hear it,” Bauer said in June, 2017. Like many of his colleagues and compatriots – classic rock radio contemporaries like Arthur Penhallow, Doug Podell, Ken Calvert, Greg St. James, Steve Kostan, his former-wife Annie Carlini – Bob represented a Detroit rock-music ethic and Michigan mentality that worked hard, played harder, enjoyed freedom in choice, fun and the outdoors while collectively rocking with knowing grins to the masses.
Throughout his 33 year-run, Bauer also diversified professionally, continuing his passion for hunting, fishing and outdoor life via Bob Bauer’s Outdoor World. This passion and love for all things outdoors carried to traditional radio and television runs and more recently, the Internet - comprised solid content and connection with a dedicated, wide audience who shared Bob’s passion for all things fishing, hunting and being outdoors.
During his last public appearance at Ferndale’s New Way Bar where he was the driving broadcast force with Silicon Valley Cyber Security Firm Pulse Secure, Citizens Bank and Gleaners Food Bank – an effort that raised $20,000 over three shows and 60,000 meals for Kids Missing School Lunch programs – Bauer talked about “getting out on the water with my fishing buddies, chasing walleye on Lake St. Clair and taking some time to get outside” between online rock broadcasts with DetroitMusicStation.com.
“I will always remember and love my Dad very much for teaching me how to set a hook, cast a line, shoot a hunting rifle and to appreciate the great outdoors,” said daughter Rachel Bauer. “I am moved and humbled by all of the kindness expressed on behalf of my Dad and all of the people he touched throughout his life.”
As the word gets out about Bauer’s passing, Bob’s son Justin Bauer navigates the overwhelming positive responses for the thousands of people his father reached, through his broadcasts, volunteer work and no-BS life coaching sessions.
“My family is overwhelmed by all the responses we’re getting to my father’s passing,” Justin Bauer said. “We offer our sincere thanks for the outpouring of love and respect for his legacy, it’s helping us cope and get through our grief more than words can say.”
Late in his career – from 2010 till his death July 21, 2017 – Bauer continued to innovate and change with the times, making a living and adding value via a blend of Web Based broadcasting, social media, online television and live appearances and Food Drive Advocacy. While Bauer’s body gave out, his outlook was young, forward looking and ever-involved in his beloved pursuits of Rock, Doing Good for Others and his Authentic Love of People in General, no matter what.
“I was privileged to serve as Bob’s producer and brother for over 20 years,” said Bauer confidant and uber-producer Ray Templin. “Through all of Bob’s highs and lows, you couldn’t find a truer heart and soul type of guy, someone who was one of us, who at the end of the day, got it and made those around him just a little bit better.
“Bob had a great spirit and sense of humor,” Templin added. “While I am devastated to lose him, the silver lining of his passing was that he went out at the top of his game doing what he loved best. He was broadcasting and interviewing musicians he loved and admired, local Detroit greats through the Pulse-Citizens-Gleaners’ Showcase Series, along with classic artists like Corky Lange. Bob and U Detroit interviewed Rival Sons when they were doing 300 seaters and did an online global live concert. What a thrill to see them open for Black Sabbath, play DTE and to be featured globally in their own right.
“He was working with a cyber-security company, Gleaners and a bunch of rock loving free spirits to raise money and food and awareness for the working poor,” Templin added. “There was nobody better at it when Bob put his mind and focus to that work. He truly was on fire.
“And he was in front of packed houses in Ferndale, meeting new people, old friends and talking about what was most important to him in this life in that distinctive voice of his, laughing, smiling, singing with a band in the middle of a song called ‘Talk Radio’ where a broadcaster in the song raps over a middle-eight. Bob improvised on the spot, sitting in his chair, plugging in statistics about children and the working poor and how Gleaners helps them in time with the music.
“No one knew it at the time, but what a farewell tour Bob had before he left us too soon,” Templin said.
Livingston County Sheriff Department confirmed Bauer’s death on Friday morning, July 21, 2017. No cause of death is known now.
Bauer is preceded in death by his father, Robert A. Bauer, Jr. and his mother, Mara (Gumbrecht). Bob is survived by his daughter Rachel Bauer and son Justin Bauer of Royal Oak, MI, along with his sister, Kathy Buttermore and Brother-In-Law, Hal Buttermore.
The Bob Bauer Memorial Service takes place Saturday, July 29, 2017 – 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. - at Harold W. Vick Funeral Home, 140 S. Main Street, Mount Clemens, MI 48047. Harold W. Vick Funeral Home phone number is (586) 463-0098. www.vickfuneralhome.com is the Web Address for Harold W. Vick Funeral Home.