Robert M. Hall
(1909 - 1998)
Robert M. “Bob” Hall was the founder of Hall Communications, owner of radio stations WONN, WPCV, WLKF, and WWRZ in Lakeland. Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, he completed high school and attended evening classes at Northeastern University School of Law. In 1930 he entered Brown University where he graduated four years later. Bob continued his education at the Columbia School of Journalism from which he graduated in 1936. That same year, he married Ruth Pearl Daniels and they had two children, Robert, Jr. and Bonnie.
Bob’s first career was in the newspaper business, beginning as a salesman with United Features Syndicate. In 1944, he left to become President and General Manager of the newly created Post Syndicate which he formed with the New York Post newspaper. Shortly afterwards, the company was renamed the Post-Hall Syndicate. Under Bob’s leadership, the company grew quickly and added popular columnists such as Earl Wilson with his news on Hollywood, Sylvia F. Porter’s column, Money and You, and comic strips like Walt Kelly’s Pogo and Ed Dodd’s Mark Trail. In 1955 he bought out the Post shares and became sole owner, changing the name to the Hall Syndicate, which became the largest privately-owned newspaper syndicate in the country. More columnists came on board, too, like Dr. Norman Vincent Peale with Inspiration and new comic strips Dennis the Menace and Andy Capp.
In 1967 Bob sold his company to Field Enterprises of Chicago. By this time, he had started a second career - in radio broadcasting - with the purchase of his first radio station three years earlier. Hall Communications was now on its way.
Bob moved to Naples, Florida in 1970 and by 1981 the company had acquired WONN and its sister station, WPCV. In 1991 he resigned as President of the company and named his son-in-law, Art Rowbotham, as his successor. When his wife of almost 57 years passed away two years later, Bob relocated to Lakeland. In 1998, he resigned as Chairman of the Board, and Bonnie H. Rowbotham, his daughter, assumed those responsibilities.
Bob Hall died December 21, 1998 with his family at his side. He was a successful businessman, a good friend to all who knew him, and a warm family man.
1997 - 1998 HALL COMMUNICATIONS' Big 4 - Lakeland (Management)