PENSACOLA, Fla. — Bobby Likis, host of the nationally-syndicated, award-winning car-talk radio program “Bobby Likis Car Clinic”, is calling it quits after nearly three decades on the air. Likis is retiring from his radio network and program after 29 years. This was announced in a press release last month.
The grand finale aired on October 10 on affiliates nationwide and online, with some tape delay exceptions.
Likis would host his inaugural broadcast in 1991 at WCOA in his home of Pensacola. Additional stations at the time were WNDB in Daytona, WJNT in Jackson, Miss., and WAPI in Birmingham, Ala.
After a period of time, Likis would launch into self-syndication nationwide as a result, quickly expanding into a national footprint. Moreover, this footprint would stretch from New England to Washington and SoCal to South Beach.
Sabiston: Likis a radio partner for 29 years
“Bobby Likis has been a partner with the WNDB family for 29 years. He has the ability to translate into layman’s terms today’s complex automobiles,” reflects Terry Sabiston.
Sabiston is the director of motorsports at WNDB.
“He [Likis] draws you in and inspires you to learn more about how your car works,” adds Sabiston.
“I enjoy sharing my perspective of racing at Daytona International Speedway on the air with Bobby and experience the passion he exhibits every week,” Sabiston continues. “Bobby Likis will be missed in Daytona Beach and across the nation.”
Likis was “podcasting before podcasting was cool”
An early pioneer in cutting-edge media distribution, Likis was “podcasting before podcasting was cool.” This would be because we would simulcast live videocasts on his website and YouTube channel. This was a project that began in 1996, with distribution to The Auto Channel’s television network.
“Over the years, there have been some great automotive gurus broadcasting radio and TV shows,” states Bob Gordon and Marc Rauch, co-founders of The Auto Channel. “The best, the very best, is Bobby Likis.”
Expanding more on the program, Gordon and Rauch would add, “We will miss the Bobby Likis Car Clinic weekly show terribly. Saturday mornings will never be the same again.”
Likis built his state-of-the-art studio inside his auto shop
Likis would design and build an all-digital, state-of-the-art studio in 1996. Its home: his automotive service and repair shop that he was the owner of.
During his tenure as host, he would answer more than 100,000 car questions, live on air, and without prompts.
Likis would also record a 60-second daily, “Car Clinic Minute”. This daily broadcast would provide a golden nugget of automotive trivia, as well as trends and tips. Its intent was to appeal to car owners, trivia buffs, and all other demographics that loves cars or have dreams to own one.
Likis would coin the phrase “automotive infotainment” to reflect the essence of the show’s programming.
“I love educating folks about how to care for, preserve, and ‘fun-ify’ their second largest investment: their vehicles,” Likis states.
Likis has been an honoree for five consecutive years in his category by Talkers Magazine in the “Talkers 250”. Talkers rank radio personalities regardless of which venue of talk radio they are in. Additionally, Likis has been a regular feature in many auto and broadcast tech publications.
Likis isn’t quite finished, despite this journey ending
While this current chapter in Likis’ life is ending, it doesn’t appear that he’s quite finished when broadcasting is involved.
“What a thrill ride this has been,” states Likis. “I’m looking forward to more here-we-go-again adventures in engaging and interacting with people who love cars, trucks, and automotive technology.”
Although Bobby Likis Car Clinic is ending, Likis’ hiatus in broadcasting may likely be short-lived. After a toe-dip into retirement, Likis is seeking to explore the expansion of his online programming. His programming and podcasts are available on Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, CastBox, Deezer, Podcast Addict, and Podchaser.
I have to admit it was a little odd to find this out after the fact. The episode that aired on the radio network this weekend was in fact the series finale of Bobby Likis Car Clinic from last week.
Confused about the whole situation, I reached out to my contact at the Car Clinic Network, Diane Somer, wondering why we did not receive this notification that the show was ending.
Prior to our major schedule shuffle earlier this year, BLCC was a regular fixture on the schedule Saturdays from 9-11 AM Central. When we added Into Tomorrow to the schedule, it had a brief run on Sundays from 3-5 AM. Our most recent schedule update has the show at 3-5 AM on Saturdays.
With the show suddenly ending, this is already creating a dilemma for programming. Hence my communication.
The return response from Diane: “I sent out notification emails to all affiliates in September, posted it on Facebook and Twitter, on the Car Clinic Network website and Bobby made the announcement four weeks before it was set to end. Disappointed the news didn’t get to you sooner.“
So our tentative plan: hope that there will be some past shows available for rebroadcast. Otherwise, we’ll have to evaluate another schedule change at the end of October.
One thing is for certain, Car Clinic Network has completely shut down, the show is over and the studio has been sold. Any guarantee of past show availability might be impossible, but I won’t count this out until sometime next week.
We wish Bobby the best in his future ventures.
For more radio and Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network news, follow Jake Leonard @JakeLeonardWPMD, and Heartland Newsfeed @HLNF_Bulletin on Twitter.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.