Bob Lonsberry is an American radio talk show host, columnist, author and conservative political commentator. A newsman for 25 years, Lonsberry claims to have won in excess of 80 journalism and broadcasting awards, including top Associated Press commentary awards in newspaper, radio and television—the only person ever to do so.
He has been a newspaper reporter, columnist, photojournalist and editor, as well as a magazine writer and commentator on radio and television and a television reporter and manager. He is the author of "The Early Years," a collection of newspaper columns, as well as a collection of essays, and four short novels.
Lonsberry is a native of Canisteo, New York.
Once using the promotional tagline "The most fired man in Rochester media," Lonsberry hosts two radio talk shows featuring a mix of news, political commentary, callers, and day-to-day anecdotes. One show airs on WHAM (AM) in Rochester, New York from 9 AM to 12 PM ET. The other airs on WSYR (AM) in Syracuse, New York from 3 PM to 6 PM. The program is also available using the "I 'Heart' Radio" mobile phone app and at the "I 'Heart' Radio" website.
Lonsberry almost always expresses a conservative opinion about the issues he discusses on his talk shows. Typically, Lonsberry spends most of his shows discussing local and state issues—less frequently discussing national issues. Lonsberry also discusses life and family issues. Lonsberry is currently married to his third wife. He and his first wife divorced and his second marriage was annulled.
When Lonsberry is absent, progressive talk radio host George Kilpatrick has occasionally filled in for him, a situation that brought Kilpatrick a certain degree of hate mail.
In February 2009, Lonsberry coined the term FUBO and began selling T-shirts and other merchandise with the term at fubowear.com. This term, an acronym for the phrase "F-ck U Barack Obama", is often used on his radio show to express disgust with the actions and policies of the US President. He also promotes NOBO (NO Barack Obama) apparel and accessories.
While working as a talk show host for WHAM-Rochester in late 2003, an orangutan had temporarily escaped its cage in Rochester's Seneca Park Zoo. Lonsberry made the comment while monkey sounds played, "a monkey's loose up at the zoo againand he's running for county executive." He was insinuating that Mayor Johnson was unfit for the position. The two candidates were Maggie A. Brooks, a white woman who was then county clerk, and William A. Johnson, Jr., a black man who was then mayor. Lonsberry never mentioned the three-term mayor by name. WHAM radio said in a statement that "although Mr. Lonsberry expressed a willingness to change, it became obvious to us that he is not embracing diversity."
Lonsberry was later fired from WHAM-AM for the remarks (but not from KNRS, both Clear Channel radio stations). When WHAM ratings in his time slot plunged, he was rehired following completion of sensitivity training. During his absence, many fans of his Rochester show boycotted the station and its sponsors until he was returned to the airwaves.
On June 16, 2010, Lonsberry was fired from KNRS in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he'd hosted show weekdays between 5 AM to 9 AM MT for a decade. In Lonsberry's daily web column, he indicated that the station attributed his firing to his lower listener ratings following the introduction of the Portable People Meter. Lonsberry also suggests that his opposition to Republican primary candidate for US Senate, Mike Lee, a Utah-based attorney whose employer, a law firm whose clients includes one of KNRS's advertisers, may have been a factor in his firing. Lonsberry writes:
Of course, being suspicious is my stock-in-trade, and the timing of my termination and the stand I’ve been taking on the looming senatorial primary and the fact I’ve been opposing a candidate who made $600,000 from one of our largest advertisers last year, does make me wonder. Strings get pulled in the real world, and politics is hardball, and our program’s effort helped tip the nominating convention, so it’s not impossible that I lost my job in Salt Lake so that somebody else could get a job in Washington.
Lonsberry vocally supported Mike Lee's primary-election opponent, Tim Bridgewater, a businessman and former Chairman of the Utah County Republican Party. The Bridgewater Campaign subsequently pulled all its ads from radio station KNRS.
Interest in Lonsberry's firing from KNRS was high with over a thousand reader comments—several times the normal response—to Lonsberry's weekday blog. Lonsberry fans also started a grassroots listener campaign with the objective of restoring Lonsberry to his position (www.bringbobbacktoutah.com). Lonsberry returned to the Utah airwaves in February 2011 on radio station KLO 1430AM.
On December 20, 2011, Lonsberry announced that he was doing his last morning broadcast on KLO due to an upcoming schedule change at WHAM. Lonsberry no longer broadcasts in the Utah radio market.
While the content of Lonsberry's Rochester and Salt Lake City shows were politically and socially conservative, his approach in two broadcast markets differed due to local content and interests. The former Salt Lake City show was more genteel and included frequent religious references whereas the Rochester show is more raucous and occasionally risque. (On the WHAM show, Lonsberry frequently mentions his affinity for women's breasts.) Lonsberry broadcasts his Rochester show from the WHAM studio, although he occasionally originates the program from his home.
Lonsberry is a former columnist for the Rochester Times-Union. Lonsberry currently writes a weekday column published on his own website. Lonsberry has also been published in The Washington Times and on the National Rifle Association's website, nra.com.
Lonsberry has authored five books:A Various Language (ISBN 1-59955-007-5)
Baghdad Christmas (ISBN 1-55517-971-1)
Hopiland Christmas (ISBN 1-59955-069-5)
Santa Monica Christmas (ISBN 1613647700).
A Joseph Avenue Christmas (ISBN 1934537446)
Lonsberry was an LDS (Mormon) missionary on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in the American Southwest. Lonsberry claimed to attend the LDS church and discussed topics related to the church during his Salt Lake City radio show. Although less frequently than on KNRS, he continues to discuss religious topics on his WHAM show. He has written in defense of the veracity of the Book of Mormon. Lonsberry avoids publicly discussing his membership status in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) but has often discussed topics related to the church during his radio shows. These religious discussions were frequent on the former Salt Lake City show but are discussed much less often with the Rochester and Syracuse area audiences.