Co-founder and President of WCLV, Robert Conrad is the dean of orchestra commentators, having been the host for the broadcasts of The Cleveland Orchestra since 1965. Research indicates that Conrad has been the commentator for an orchestra broadcast series longer than anyone else in the history of American radio.
Conrad entered the broadcasting business at the age of 14 over WKAN in his home town of Kankakee, Illinois, when he was chosen to write and announce a weekly high school program. Eventually, he became a full time announcer and the host of a weekly live country and western broadcast called "Hayloft Jamboree," where he was called “Sagebrush Bob.” He attended Speech School at Northwestern University, while working at WEAW AM/FM in Evanston, and WFMT, Chicago. After graduation from NU, Uncle Sam provided him with an all-expense paid vacation in Hawaii with the 14th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion. During off hours, Conrad graced the Hawaiian airwaves from KAIM AM/FM and KULA. He returned to WFMT for several years, moving to Detroit in 1960, to become the program director of a new station, WDTM. Then in 1962, it was on to Cleveland and WCLV.
Activities outside WCLV include appearing as narrator with area ensembles including The Cleveland Orchestra and the Blossom Festival Band. He has also performed the non-dancing role of "The Speaker for the Jury" in Morton Gould's "Fall River Legend" with The Cleveland Ballet, and he and his wife Jean starred in the Beck Center production of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" In the Spring of 1998, Conrad gave the commencement speech at the CIM graduation ceremonies and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree. In 1982, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Baldwin-Wallace College. His third honorary degree (Doctor of Humanities) was given him by Oberlin College in the Spring of 2002. He was given the Distinguished Service Award by The Cleveland Orchestra and the Big Idea Award from Cleveland's public broadcaster, ideastream.
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