"The Gray Ghost," Box Knox was a mainstay at WIBG for decades. He did many things at the station, disc jockey work and news among other things. For awhile, Bob was the morning newsman working with Bill Wright, Sr.
In November of 2013, we heard from Bob Knox's son, Robert. He wrote:
My Dad was Bob Knox who was a DJ at WIBG during the 50's and early 60's. My daughters never had the chance to hear him on the air, and how smooth his delivery was. He passed away in 1988.
I remember Hy Lit and his signature.....Hyskiorooneymicvoudyozoot. No idea if the spelling is right.
We used to call that "voice" Dad used his "Radio Voice." He did not sound like that at home. Same voice, but he did not talk that way. Some of the DJs of that time had the same "on air" voice and inflections as they did "off air." It was also very strange to see him that young in the picture and when he had hair. That picture was taken before he and my Mom were married and before any of us were born. I have 2 sisters, Marilyn and Susan. I remember my father taking us to the studio at various times, when it was in Lafayette Hills. I also remember that WIBG had a softball team that included staff and DJs.
My Dad was too old to play but he was there coaching and he would bring me along. I remember that Hy Lit used to talk through the entire game to the crowd, the opposing players, to anyone within ear shot. He was a nice guy, just loved the attention. I also remember that my Dad was the DJ of a dance that was held each week at the Highland Park Elementary school. It was for teenagers and the music was rock and roll and r&b. It was what the kids wanted to hear. At that time, these kinds of dances were big.
We lived near 69th Street in Upper Darby and there was a dance that was held at a roller skating rink on the second floor above the farmer's market. It was called Chez Vous or something like that. Jerry Blavat was the DJ there. We grew up in Upper Darby. My mother's name was Margaret, and she passed away in 1999.
As far as a bio, I know my Dad started with broadcasting sporting events. He was born in 1914 and had 2 brothers, John and Bill. My Dad was the youngest. He was with WIBG from as far back as I can remember. I remember Bill Wright, Tom Donahue, and Joe Niagara as being there when I started to understand what he did. He was a disc jockey when Rock and Roll started and he played it on his show. He was older than the other DJs at the time and his hair was gray so that is why he became known as the Gray Ghost. Early in his career he was known as Bobcat Bob Knox. This would have been in the 40's when big band music was the music of the day.
It is difficult to explain to my kids what the radio meant to the young generation of the late 50's and early 60's. WIBG was number one for quite awhile, and the DJs were all personalities on the air. Much different than today.
We heard from Robert, Bob Knox's son again in 2017. He said:
I talked to both my sisters and their recollections are pretty much mine. We know that he was with WIBG from when we were born, which was 1946, 48, and 49, and that he was a disc jockey first, and then went to news in the late 50's and early 60's.
He became the Director of Broadcast Standards until Storer sold the station. Then he stayed on for a few years basically dealing with the pre-recorded programming. He left in the late 60's, and went to work as the Executive Secretary for the Chestnut Street Businessmen's Association.
He was active in the Boy Scouts when I was young and all the normal school things when we were kids, home and school assoc., etc.. I do know that during his time at WIBG in the 60's on several occasions he was sent, by Storer, to other stations they owned to provide interim broadcasting work.
It seems none of us really know about the time from when he graduated from High School until he started at WIBG. I do know that it was in broadcasting. He talked of broadcasting football games for local colleges. No specifics. He did dances during the 50's. In the 40's he was known as Bobcat Bob Knox, and then in the 50's, as his hair turned gray, the Gray Ghost.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Top Photo originally donated by Bob Knox, Jr.
Bottom Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Allen Stone
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