Highly-awarded Conservative Talk Radio Host Jim Bohannon Dies At 78
Jim Bohannon, the talk radio host who took over the evening program time slot previously occupied by Larry King after King moved to CNN, has died at age 78.
He reportedly suffered from esophageal cancer.
Bohannan, whose love of radio started when he was young, was born January 7, 1944 in Corvallis, OR, where his father was stationed in the United States Army during World War II, according to his obituary posted online. After the war, his family moved back to their hometown, Lebanon, MO, where Bohannon got his first radio job while still in Lebanon High School, from which he graduated in 1962.
Bohannon went on to attend Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, during which he secured his second and third radio jobs before joining the military. His service in the U.S. Army Security Agency with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade included a 1967-68 tour of duty in Vietnam.
After Bohannon returned stateside, he was stationed at Vint Hill Farms Station, VA, and worked at radio stations WGAY, WTOP, and WRC in the Washington, DC market. In 1983, he joined the Mutual Network, which would later become Westwood One Radio.
Bohannon, a conservative, began anchoring the America in the Morning news magazine, hosting the Saturday night Jim Bohannon Show and filling in on the Larry King Show.
King’s departure to CNN in 1993 paved the way for the nightly Jim Bohannon Show, which Bohannon hosted up to about a month before his death. The program was heard on an estimated 500 radio stations across the nation.
“It’s been a great 40 years with Westwood One, with the last 30 as host of the ‘Jim Bohannon Show.’ I’ve enjoyed every minute of our daily nighttime town hall with my guests, callers, and all of America,” said Bohannon when he announced he was stepping away from the microphone due to health reasons.
Bohannon’s numerous industry accolades included induction into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame by the National Association of Broadcasters, which he noted in a tweet back then: “A number of folks have tweeted about this, so I’ll confirm: Next April I’m being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. After the Missouri Broadcasters did that in 2020, I can say that the years 2020-2022 haven’t been all bad for me.”
Bohannon was also included in the the National Radio Hall of Fame of the Museum of Broadcast Communication and the Society of Professional Journalists, DC Chapter Hall of Fame.
He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Talkers Magazine and the First Amendment Award from the Radio and Television Digital News Foundation.
Bohannon was particularly proud of the Gold Award from the International Radio Festival of New York for his documentary, “Pain and Pride- Remembering Vietnam,” as well as his inclusion in 2003 on the Wall of Honor in his hometown of Lebanon, MO. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Vietnam Veterans of America. Jim is survived by his wife, Annabelle Bohannon, of Westminster, SC, and daughter, Elizabeth Smith of Janesville, WI.
After her husband’s death, Annabelle Bohannon reportedly told friends, “I have no doubt he is looking for a microphone and headset to begin broadcasting – he will just be working for a different network.”