Approval Ratings – Bob Lobel

I figured we’d better get this one out of the way while we still can…

Today’s your chance to weigh in on the career and impact of legendary WBZ sports anchor and director Bob Lobel, who as we’ve recently learned is leaving the station as part of a round of cutbacks at the TV station.

Lobel had been with WBZ since 1979 and has been sports director since 1981. During the mid-1980’s he was courted by the national networks to host College Football Today, a job he turned down. He hosted Sports Final, which had many memorable moments, none more so than the night that Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Ted Williams were in the studio at the same time. In recent years he also hosted Patriots Fifth Quarter following Patriots games.

Recent years held a few personal and health related problems, and he had clearly slowed down a step, but he was still a force in the local sports media. It’s unclear what the future holds for Lobel, but in my opinion it will be a shame if we don’t see or hear from him on a regular basis going forward.

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Bob Lobel Approval Ratings
View Results
  • NASCL

    Sure, the guy has warts to go along with his gin blossoms, but don’t we all?

    I’ve never heard anyone call him a bad guy, almost unheard of for someone in the market 30+ years.

    The last 8 or so years have been rough, but I vote “APPROVE” based on his first two decades in town.

    I hope he surfaces on sports radio.

    • Alan

      Bob Lobel still has plenty to offer the local sports scene. One of the 2 sports radio stations (WEEI & ESPN radio, Boston locally) would be a good semi retired gig, which I’d love to see. Also CSN “Sports Tonight” once in a while would be great also. He brings a “lighter side” of sports to the scene. Maybe even NESN for this baseball season could use a touch of his wit a knowledge!
      Good luck Bob, you deserve it!!

  • JDokes

    He has certainly become an out-of-place relic from a time of 6-8 minute sports slots on the 11:OO local news. But when he and his job were relevant, he did it well.

  • Guntfather of SportsRadio

    Good guy. Likes Chinese food. He’s no Billy Fairweather.

  • mandb97

    I agree with NASCL. I thought Lobel looked sickly on the air. My guess is that he was not feeling his best over the past few years but there is no question he was the local face of Boston sports over the years. He definitely gets my approval.

  • Tony

    I approve.

    My only beef with him during his entire broadcasting career was the incessant use of the “Why can’t we get players like that” mantra……sometimes he’d even say that whenever a player that the Boston team, the Boston fans and the Boston media couldn’t wait to see leave town would do something good for his new team (a classic example would be Carl Everett hitting a homer for the White Sox–Lobel would STILL say his cute little line about a jerk like Jurassic Carl!).

    Other than that one little pet peeve of mine, I think Lobel was good for the Boston sports scene. He genuinely seemed to care about the teams and their fans. One time he actually said, on the air, in a segment about the Bruins on “Sports Final”, that the Bruins’ fans were effectively being “held hostage” by CM Burns up in Buffalo. That was a sentiment that many frustrated hockey fans in the city, like me, were feeling at the time.

    Lobel definitely “got” the Boston sports fan mentality.

    I hope he’s able to find another gig after he leaves Channel 4, even if it’s just a part-time radio job or something.

  • b holmes

    lobel reminds me of cityside in cleveland circle. serviceable in the eighties but has really gone to shit now.

  • Nopointe

    Steve Burton, Red Sox Nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.

    • Ironhead

      Turning their eyes? WOW.

  • The Empty Vest

    I mean, WOW. What more can you say about the guy? WOW. Jack, Lisa…

  • Funkhouser

    He should be approved for kicking Susan Wornick to the curb.

    • Fred West Lynn

      And she looked less leathery then, too.

  • Bob

    approve. guy was legendary, must see TV during the 80’s. got old and lost his fastball right around the time the internet began to replace the nightly sportscast. was friendly the one time I bumped into him.

    he used to come on with Ted Sarandis on WEEI and i thought he was great. although his recent weekend radio efforts with Steve Burton have been brutal…having really lame make believe topics like “would you trade the 2004 world series trophy for the pats to go 19-0 and win another super bowl?”

    i once heard Lobel, during his heyday, turned down the big chair job occupied by Jim Nantz and only regretted it during the Masters? any truth to that??

  • media-tor

    NASCL and Tony have put it best so far. Lobel is a genuine Boston sports fan who wears his heart on his sleeve. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Bob on a few occasions and he’s as good and respectful a guy in person as he comes across on the air. “Sports Spotlight” was must-watch-TV on Thursday nights in the 80’s, as has been “Sports Final” on Sundays, where he’s had an outlet of more than two minutes at 6:00 and 11:00 to let his personality shine.

    Don Gillis was the Boston TV sports icon of the 60’s and 70’s and Lobel assumed that title from him the last three decades, but no one will be taking that baton from Bob. An era in Boston sports media will come to an end when he signs off for the last time at Channel 4. I’ll miss him, especially compared to most of the local sports anchor alternatives.

  • BigAl

    The man should be a legend in these parts.

    For me, SPORTS Final (a must see for any sports fan during the 80’s and 90’s) might have lost a little of its fastball but like Curt Schilling last year he and the show gets it done better than anything else in this market.

    Its not Lobels fault that the broadcast news/sports landscape has change so much (8 to 2 minutes) that it is getting almost to the point that a sports reporter/host isn’t needed. People now have developed other sources for their daily/nightly sports information.

  • Beaker

    This is the ultimate dilemma. Of course fans want Bob to retire, but the dilemma is be careful what you wish for because you might get it. And if Bob retires and WBZ promotes Steve Burton, our lives will be permanently and forever altered. We will never be the same. So remember, while Lobie retiring is the ultimate goal it carries a steep price tag. Life will never be the same.

    • Will

      Agreed. And Steve Burton is the most classless sports-guy around. Miss Sara Underwood and Scott Wahle, too. BZ is shooting itself in the foot. Hmmm…maybe both feet.

  • Chris

    Awful, awful, awful. He must be getting sympathy votes from people at WBZ with nothing better to do than stuff the ballot box. Lobel gets trashed in my book for overstaying his welcome by decades, never mind years. Never at a loss for a sarcastic bit of wry humor (‘Why don’t we get players like that?’), Lobel was a hanger-on of the worst sort…collecting probably Boston’s biggest sports media paycheck while actually driving viewers away. On the plus side, his forte was always Radio. He and Upton Bell teamed up for a good show on WBZ decades ago (yes, decades) and he shined there. But as a sports anchor, and especially during Patriots post-game shows, Lobel was sadly miscast.

  • Beaker

    Stooooorrrryyline flogger par excellence.

  • Boda

    Approve. The last few years have been rough. But whatever personal failings may have led to his decline, his continued presence on air was more the fault of his employer. I still want to know how he knew which camera to look at on the Fifth Quarter with his eyes closed the whole time. It was uncanny, really.

  • rick

    Lobel on radio would be painful to listen to. I heard him on Felger’s show the day he was let go and his delivery is the opposite of what you want on radio. He tended to ramble while speaking slowly without enunciating. He doesn’t have to be Ordwayesque and spout off without having a clue about what he is saying, but he should have a point and be able to make it concisely. Plus, I don’t think he keeps up on sports beyond Boston, and even his knowledge of Boston sports is limited.

  • Rob Bucky Satchel

    Lobel? Who knows. He’s like some TV outreach program or something.

  • http://fangsbites.blogspot.com/ Ken Fang

    His overall body of work outweighs his most recent efforts. Yes, he had been mailing it in the past five years, but in the 1980’s, there was no anchor better than Bob. In the mid-1990’s, he started to slip.

    He’ll be missed.

  • Barba

    Lobel got old quick. He lost the edge. Towards the end of his run he was too unscripted and undisciplined. His sportscasts became too loose and he was ad libbing way too much. He lost the drive to put in the time and effort to stay sharp and do great sportscasts. IMO he was a great sportscaster for a long time in Boston, but he lost it towards the end and WBZ made the right decisiont to let him go. They need some new blood in there …someone hungry to bring back the WBZ sportscast.

  • 02062

    He was big in the 80’s but so were parachute pants, stone washed jeans and cocaine.

    Seems like a nice guy (i wouldn’t want my sister marrying him based on his track record).

    In recent years came off to me as smarmy (i.e. why can’t we get players like this.).

    Ripped Pitino and Calipari when they were both long gone – but cashed the checks when given the opportunity to work with both of them on shows.

    I believe Channel 4 & 5 were always 1 & 2 in the ratings back in the days of the 3 channel universe – now as he departs Channel 4’s a distant 3rd.

    As most members of the Boston Media was willing to hump, pimp or promote anything that got him a freebie – from tee times to free lunches to fitness equipment for the home.

    Took every opportunity to rip Dan Duquette whenever possible – yet would show up every friday to collect a check with the likes of Mike Barnicle and Will McDonough.

    But all in all – I say approve. The job’s changed since Bob first came on the Dumont network back in ’56.

    However, he did force the like of Steve Burton, Steve DeOssie and Scott Zolak on us.

    Also, thought it would be a neat idea to show a Larry Johnson cartoon on the air every sunday night on sports final.

    His piece with Mike Milbury f-bombing a referee in front of a priest after a B’s playoff loss in 91 or 92 was priceless.

    Adios, breezy one.

  • Sluggo

    Totally split on this one. Did not vote either approve or disapprove.

    But based on his body of work, especially 1980-1990, I would have voted APPROVE without hesitation. Lobel came down from Manchester in 1976 as a host of WBZ 1030’s old “Calling All Sports” talk show, and when he was paired with Upton Bell in the late 1970s it was a fantastic sports talk show. Great guests, smart callers, and great chemistry between Lobie and Uppie. This was before the Breezy One became a TV star.

  • MarkB

    The guy spent years barely able to get a coherent sentence out. He must have pictures of someone in management, because he’s been a disgrace since the last century. He did perfectly good work – a generation ago – but his “well… uhhh… yeah…” act has spent down his good will for me. He does get points for dumping that hag Wornick though.

  • John

    He is probably a real nice guy, and he may have been THE sports personality in his day. But showing my age here, I remember when Willie Mays used to be a great, great, ball player. I also saw him play for the NY Mets.

    If the rating is for the last 5 years, I find it hard to approve (although like many of our local TV personalities, he’s better in a less pressured-to-perform medium like radio). If we’re voting on hall of fame then let’s hope that the recent performance doesn’t cloud the perspective of the voters.

    If we are voting relative to Steve Burton, how can you not like Lobel.

  • Fred West Lynn

    Wow. It’s hard to believe that I lived through an era where Dick “The Salamander” Stockton was a breath of fresh air as a PBP guy and Lobie incarnated a new insouciance in sports broadcasting. But things change. I voted Approve as a salute to what once was, with full recognition that those days ain’t comin’ back … for any of us.

  • hank durod

    Sports Final ruled in the 80’s, but this is 2008.
    He has been unwatchable for almost 20 years.
    Disapproved.

  • Dick Essam

    Have not been able to watch him the last year and for the last 10 years could only get Sports Final ( Best Patriots show ever). You people who criticize Lobel should be forced to watch Providence’s sports shows.