At the age of 16, Bob dropped out of high school, forged his paperwork, and joined the Marine Corps and later, the Air Force. It was there in 1958 that he began his broadcast career while serving on the Island of Guam.
In 1964, the Moline, IL native moved his family to St. Petersburg and became WPIN’s morning deejay. His popularity there led him to WLCY in 1965 as the host of the nighttime talk show ‘Open Mike’. Unlike today’s talk shows, he didn’t give his audience any idea of his political, religious, or world views. Instead, he just played devil’s advocate. In 1968, he and WLCY deejay Herb Hunt (Johnny Rebel on the air) formed a news and talk network called Florida Broadcasting Corporation.
In September 1968, Bob returned to the air with on WDAE with ‘The Bob Ruark Show’. However, despite its success, his contract with the station ended in December 1969 and he moved on to WILZ, but that stop only lasted two months in 1970. That’s when he took the position of Operations Manager (and his own talk show) at Tampa’s 50,000-watt WINQ.
Due to his popularity in the St. Pete/Tampa area, he received encouragement to run for political office and did, as a Republican for the Florida State Senate, District 19. Due to the FCC’s “Equal Time” rules, he took a hiatus from his radio program but continued to oversee operations of WINQ. After losing in the primary, he returned to the air and brought with him damaging evidence of criminal activity and illegal manipulation of funds by three prominent state Republicans. It became such a huge story that WINQ owner Rex Rand began getting threats to fire Ruark. The threats became a reality on October 1, 1970.
From Tampa, Bob took a job as Program Manager at WLAC in Nashville, converting the station format to all news and talk, a success that lead to his becoming a radio station consultant. In 1979, he formed International Broadcast Consultants (IBC), a family run corporation specializing in the filing of applications with the FCC for new radio and television stations across the United States.
In 1993, he suffered a minor heart attack (he had already had one in 1962 and would have another in 1983 from which he had five by-passes). About this time, he began writing his first book, “Gringo Be Ware”, but it was never published. A second book, “Revolution: America’s Second War for Independence”, was roughly typed on his computer and unedited, but he had 10,000 copies printed through a vanity press and distributed them to libraries.
As Bob’s heath declined, the books occupied his time until he passed away February 14, 2000 at 68.
1964 - 1970 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)
1970 - 1970 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)