A New York Emmy Award winner as host of the magazine talk show, “First City” on WNYC-TV 31, Bobby Jay is that rare bird – a native New Yorker. Born and raised in New York City’s Harlem; home of the world famous Apollo Theatre, Bobby was bitten by the show business bug at the age of eleven. A man of many talents and careers, all related to show business, Bobby grew up surrounded by people like “Baby Washington,” “Ben E. King,” “Freddie Scott,” and all the other musical talents in the area. Their playground was the “Apollo,” “Smalls Paradise,” the “Baby Grand,” and “Minton’s Playhouse.” It was on hearing “Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers,” that Bobby made up his mind about what he really wanted to do with the rest of his life. Bobby began singing with various vocal groups, but it wasn’t until he joined the “Laddins” as the bass singer and met legendary DJ Alan Freed; who along with his partner Jack Hooke, managed the group, did his singing career really begin. While with the Laddins, Bobby worked with some of the great performers of show business like Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, Tallulah Bankhead, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Rudy Valle.
Proving that once you have music in your blood it stays with you for life, on leaving the Laddins for the U.S. Army, and while stationed in Augusta, Georgia, Bobby became an air personality at radio station WTHB-AM. Upon his return to New York, Bobby worked at WNJR-AM in Newark, NJ and WGLI-AM in Babylon, Long Island, NY, and then moved on to WDIA-AM in Memphis, TN. He returned once again to New York and went to work for the biggest R&B station in the country at that time “Super Sixteen,” WWRL-AM. During his fifteen years with ‘RL, Bobby was Program Director, Station Manager and On-Air Personality. One of the biggest of his many achievements while there, was winning Billboard Magazine’s “Major Market Air Personality Of The Year” award. Also while at the “Big ‘RL,” Bobby began his acting career.
Bobby has appeared in several industrial films for AT&T and stage productions, like “ Turkey In The House,” “Konkolene,” “Just Once,” “A Christmas Gift For You” with Sonny Bono, “Great Googley Moo,” and was in the original Off-Broadway production of “Leader of The Pack,” which later had a Broadway run at the Ambassador Theatre. He has made appearances on the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Midday Live,” “On The Town,” “Wonderama,” the “Joe Franklin Show” and “Late Night & the Late Show with David Letterman.” Bobby also hosted a music show on Cable TV in New Jersey called “Heart And Soul.” He lent his talent to Jim Jarmusch, for the Orion Films motion picture, “Mystery Train.” Bobby narrated a documentary in 1991 about the pioneering New York City Disc Jockeys called “Sweet Talking Guys” for Rhino films, and he narrated a film about the New York 1964/1965 World’s Fair entitled “Peace Through Understanding” for BBQ Productions. Bobby has appeared as an actor on the “Guiding Light” on the CBS Television Network. Bobby left WWRL to join WCBS-FM as host of the popular “Hall of Fame” and “Top Twenty Countdown” shows, where his ratings were consistently “Number One.” He also hosted the very successful “Soul of The City” and “Jukebox Saturday Night” programs during his twenty year stint at CBS. Jay was on radio in London on VIP Radio 2006-2007. Bobby was one of the announcers on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s “Soultown 53” channel from 2007 through 2008, and was the voice of the channel voicing all the sweepers, imaging lines and promotions. Bobby filled in on the “Sixties Vibrations” channel on Sirius/XM and made appearances on “Mix 102 WNEW-FM,” in New York City and “B-103 WBZO-FM” in Long Island, New York. 2017 marks Bobby Jay’s 53rd year as a broadcaster.
Bobby has been heard on national commercials as a voice-over announcer and jingle singer, for such products as: “Hi-C,” “Mounds,” “Kit Kat Bars,” “KFC,” “Miller Beer,” “Chevrolet,” “BMW,” “Ford Motors,” “Sunkist Tutti Fruits,” “Quaker Oats” and “Nickelodeon.” He performs as a back-up singer in the studio and on stage for artists like Bette Midler, Aaron Neville, Paul Shaffer, Phoebe Snow, Marvin Sease, Betty Wright, Ben E. King, Patti Austin, Otis Blackwell, Thelma Houston, Martin Briley, Chazz Dixon, Darlene Love, Johnnie Johnson, Jimmy Vivino, Keith Richards and Don Was. He was a teacher and faculty member for 18 years at the New School University For Social Research in New York City, where he taught students four and five part harmony, emceeing shows around the country at venues such as Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall & Madison Square Garden. 2019 finds Bobby behind the microphone hosting “Bobby Jay’s Great Soul Performances” on the Internet on RadioMaxMusic.Com in the USA and Europe. The highlight of everything though, is when you find him on stage behind the mike singing bass with the group that inspired him to get into the business, “Frankie Lymon’s ‘Legendary’ Teenagers.” Being a member of this “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame” group for over seventeen years was only a dream for Bobby years ago. He’s proven that “dreams really do come true,” and as of 2015, Bobby Jay is now the bass singer of another of his favorite groups, the “Heartbeats.”