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After 30 Years, the One and Only Bob Branson Is Retiring

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You know his voice: warm and optimistic. You can hear his smile when he delivers the weather forecast at the top of the hour. Bob Branson has been our beloved afternoon companion on KUT for years, so we’re sad to share that he’s retiring after 30 years behind the mic in multiple capacities.

Bob wants to focus his full attention on his health – he’s undergoing treatment for cancer – and spending quality time with his wife Fran. His short-term prognosis is good and his sense of humor is very much intact.

Longtime listeners may recall that Bob joined KUT in 1986 as a volunteer reader on “SoundSight,” the Sunday morning news-reading program for blind and reading-impaired listeners. He later hosted the weekday evening call-in program “Access,” which aired through the early part of this century. For many years he was the local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Most recently he was the local KUT host weekdays from noon to 4 p.m., during “Here and Now,” “The World” and “BBC News Hour.”

We will miss his sharp wit and word play, including his delivery of “'BBC Newshour’ is coming up after 'The World' ends at 3," with a sly grin you could almost hear.

Bob and Fran – ever-present volunteers at KUT events – plan to spend time traveling in their RV and riding their bikes. In fact, they recently returned from a Labor Day weekend of RV-ing at the Kerrville Music Festival. In addition to seeing Ray Wylie Hubbard, they attended a seminar of local craft brewers.

As Bob explained, “It was harrowing, as I had to consume not only my own beer samples, but also much of Fran's, for whom a tiny taste will do. But no sacrifice too great where my wife...okay, and beer...are concerned!”

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Branson in 2013

Bob earned his bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Kentucky in 1962. After graduating, he worked at six Louisville radio stations ­– covering weekend news at a powerhouse station, serving as news director for a tiny 1000-watt daytimer and taking several stints as a DJ.

He left radio to join the federal government, serving as a public information officer at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Station in Louisville, followed by everyone’s dream job – doing public relations for the IRS. After experiencing all the fun that job allowed, Bob retired and returned to his first love, live radio with KUT.

We’re working on plans to fill Bob’s weekday afternoon duties. He leaves some big shoes to fill.

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