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Local Officials Pay Tribute to Radio Talk-Show Host

Bob Adams of KVTA is stepping down after 36 years as a broadcaster in Ventura County.

December 14, 2005|Catherine Saillant | Times Staff Writer

For 36 years, radio journalist Bob Adams was Ventura County's "voice of calm."

During floods, fires and earthquakes, his reports for KVTA-AM (1520) gave listeners with no other source of live news the critical information they needed.

Now the radio man is retiring and moving away from the county he has covered for nearly four decades.

On Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors gave Adams a send-off.

They presented him with a resolution in recognition of his contributions. Ventura County Undersheriff Craig Husband declared Adams an honorary deputy sheriff. Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper offered thanks for years of good work, along with a plaque and a CD recording of Adams' hours of live reports during the area's recent wildfires.

For the gray-haired man in a sports cap, it all seemed a bit much.

"I'm just a radio guy," he said, as the tributes flowed. "All of this honor is just unbelievable."

Adams, 68, began his Ventura County career in 1969 at a Ventura country radio station. In 1973, he moved to KVEN-AM (1450), where he became operations manager and started the county's first news-talk format.

Most listeners, however, know him as co-host of the "Dave and Bob" morning drive-time show, which he has done for 21 years with partner Dave Ciniero.

In 1992, the team launched a children's fund that has so far raised $376,000 to provide dental care, vacation camp and computers for foster children.

Six years ago, rival station KVTA lured Adams and Ciniero, along with three veteran news reporters.

On Jan. 3, another local radio broadcaster, Tom Spence, will replace Adams, who has already sold his Ventura house and is splitting his time between his native Fresno and a second home in Idaho's Teton Valley.

For many years, Adams said, his home life was punctuated by the squawk of police scanners alerting him to every fire, car crash and robbery across the county.

The disaster that stands out the most, he said, was the day in March 1995 when the earth began to move above the beach community of La Conchita.

Adams happened to be close by, so he raced to a road on a ridgeline above and described the scene as 600,000 tons of mud buried the town and crushed nine homes.

"I gave a live play-by-play as it was going down the hill," he said. "No other media was there."

Ten years later, when a second landslide killed 10 La Conchita residents, KVTA reporters, guided by Adams, were again on the scene with some of the first dispatches of the unfolding disaster.

Adams said he and his wife, Lupe, plan to make frequent visits to Ventura County, which he calls "heaven."

As for his long news career, he said he has enjoyed every minute of it.

"My work is my hobby," he said. "Where else do you get to laugh for four hours every morning, and then go chase police cars and fire engines? It's the little boy in me, and I still love it."

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