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Bob Knight, the voice of Mountain Home's KTLO and one of the Twin Lakes Area's staunchest champions, has died. The 76-year-old broadcaster passed away Thursday evening.
Funeral arrangements are pending, the radio station said Friday morning.
Knight was one of the co-owners of Mountain Lakes Broadcasting Corp. and served as the president and general manager of KTLO AM 1240, KTLO FM 97.9, KCCT Classic Hits 101.7 and KBOD 99.7 The Boot.
He was also the long-running host of the KTLO FM morning show, reminding listeners that, "It's time to rise and shine" each weekday shortly after 6 a.m.
Earlier this year, the City of Mountain Home surprised the broadcaster by proclaiming July 15 — his birthday — as Bob Knight Day.
The city’s proclamation reads in part, “We have been waking up to Bob’s voice in the Twin Lakes Area on KTLO for over 40 years. Not only is he that familiar voice on the radio, but he is a pillar in this community that we want to recognize.”
The city’s Bob Knight Day proclamation states, “Bob has been a vital part in this community and has served as a mentor to others about giving back to the Mountain Home area. (He) has kept this community at the center of his life and career and the importance he places on service to the community is second to none.”
Knight served as president of the Mountain Home Education Foundation's Board of Directors for almost 16 years. He was inducted into the MHEF's Hall of Honor in 2009.
"Tonight we lost our friend, our supporter and our fearless leader Mr. Bob Knight," the MHEF wrote on social media Thursday night. "... We can’t imagine not waking up to Bob on the radio ever again. He was such an important part of so many people’s lives. He spoke to us in our homes over cups of coffee. He made the morning commute with us countless times. He told us good news and bad news and memorable news and trivial news. He loved this community and always highlighted it."
Knight previously served as president of the Mountain Home Lions Club, the Baxter County Razorback Club, the Mountain Home Industrial Park Board, and the Mountain Home Planning Commission. He is a past board member of the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce, the Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation and the Arkansas State University-Mountain Home Advisory Board. He also served as a commissioner on the Arkansas Parks Tourism and Travel Commission for 14 years and is a past president of that organization.
"When you think about what Bob Knight has meant to this community, I think the only word to describe it would be, 'Everything.' There's no other way to put it," Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams said Friday morning. "He helped so many people, not only as Bob Knight the individual but also through KTLO."
Over the years, Knight and the staff at KTLO have been responsible for collecting items for the Food Bank of North Central Arkansas, working with the Salvation Army for its Angel Tree program and gathered school supplies and winter coats for area children.
Radiothons spearheaded by Knight have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for local entities like Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, Baxter Regional Medical Center, the Christian Clinic and more. Knight also helped raise $12,000 for the Girls Scouts of America to bring the Vietnam Moving Wall to Mountain Home.
Knight was born at the old Rollins Hospital in Gassville in 1945. He graduated from Mountain Home High School in 1963, and from the Wichita School of Broadcasting in 1965. From 1965-1969, he served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Morocco and aboard the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey.
Knight and his late wife, the former Sue Hightower, became co-owners of KTLO. Under Bob Knight's leadership, the KTLO family of radio stations have broadcast all things local — news, sports, weather and more — for almost 50 years.
Jim Bodehamer, one of Knight's closest friends and a former KTLO colleague, praised that commitment to local events earlier this month during Bodenhamer's induction into the MHEW Hall of Honors.
"Since Bob and his wife, Sue, got the chance to take over KTLO, they have operated it as old-school community radio," Bodenhamer said. "You don't see that too often now."
KTLO and its affiliates have been recognized five times by the National Association of Broadcasters as one of the top Small Market Radio Stations of the Year. Knight was a past president of the Arkansas Broadcasters Association and at the time of his death served as president of that association’s Political Advisory Council. In 1999, he was awarded the Silver Mic Award for leadership in the broadcast industry and had also received the Community Service Award from the Arkansas Broadcasters Association.
Knight is survived by a daughter, Heather Loftis and her husband, Chris, and two grandchildren, Mia and Zane Loftis.
This article originally appeared on Baxter Bulletin: KTLO's Bob Knight passes away