Bob Griffin (journalist)
| Robert Madison "Bob" Griffin
(Pioneering Louisiana journalist who covered sports, human interest features, travel reports, and even children's programming)
|Born|| August 8, 1934 |
Lake Village, Chicot County
Reared in Fort Smith, Arkansas
|Died|| February 3, 2020 (aged 85) |
|Spouse|| Robbie Denise Clingan Griffin|
Robert Madison Griffin, known as Bob Griffin (August 8, 1934 – February 3, 2020), was a television and radio journalist with nearly sixty years experience in broadcasting in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Though he was called a journalistic legend in the three-state regional coverage, Griffin shunned the appellation. As a sportscaster who particularly covered the Dallas Cowboys, he sought to keep the names of former athletes in the limelight. Everywhere though he was honored for one accomplishment or another. Former Mayors Keith Hightower of Shreveport and George Elyott Dement, Jr. (1922-2014) of neighboring Bossier City, for instance, named him as the Shreveport-Bossier City "Goodwill Ambassador" because of his newscasts and public relations activities promoting both cities located on opposite sides of the Red River.
Griffin was born in Lake Village in Chicot County in southeastern Arkansas. At the age of four, Griffin was adopted by a loving family, Eugene and Leah Griffin, from an orphanage in Monticello in Drew County, also in southeastern Arkansas, in which also resided his six siblings. Thereafter, he was reared in Fort Smith in eastern Arkansas. He subsequently studied at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and attended graduate school on an acting scholarships at the University of Nebraska in the capital city of Lincoln, Nebraska. He served for a short time in the United States Army and was briefly employed by a film company in St. Louis, Missouri. He then appeared in an off-Broadway theatre show in New York City.
Griffin and his wife, the former Robbie Denise Clingan (born October 28, 1957), have twin daughters born in in January 1980. Katy Christina McCown and her husband, Lucas Patrick "Luke" McCown (born 1981), a football player for six professional teams before his retirement in 2018, reside in Fort Worth, Texas. Kristy Lynn Payne, and husband Keith Douglas Payne (born 1977), reside in Shreveport. The Griffins have ten grandchildren. They are Sunday school directors at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Shreveport, where Mrs. Griffin works on the staff as the director of children's ministries.
In 1961, Griffin joined KSLA-TV, the CBS affiliate established seven years earlier in 1954 as the first television station in Shreveport. Griffin said that he initially expected to stay in Shreveport for one or two years but developed a keen interest in the community and ultimately based his entire career there. At KSLA, he had his own children's series in the 1960s, Bob and His Buddies, and he hosted the short-lived What's News? weekend quiz program for high school students, based on current events with questions taken from KSLA news and sports broadcasts of the preceding week. He was principally the sports editor at KSLA and became personally guided the careers of his favorite athletes, such as Terry Bradshaw. Griffin worked alongside Donald Lynn "Don" Owen, an Oklahoma native who was the station news anchor from 1954 to 1984, Tom Erwin (1924-2020), and Albert Martin "Al" Bolton, Sr., a member of the influential Bolton family in Alexandria, Louisiana, and the chief KSLA meteorologist from 1954 to 1991.
At the height of his career at KSLA, Griffin handled sports twice daily five days a week and the weather five nights a week. He covered the leading high school games on Friday nights and pertinent college and professional teams on weekends.
Griffin continued with KSLA until 2008, when he became the Saturday and Sunday morning First News anchor of rival KTBS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Shreveport, which was established in 1955 as a primary NBC station. He also had extensive broadcast duties, even past the age of eighty, with the radio station KEEL. Griffin presents a weekly feature, "Griffin's Ark-La-Tex: Living the Good Life," which aired on the Monday morning First News on KTBS. Early in his career, Griffin developed an interest in travel. He formerly wrote travel articles for the since defunct Shreveport Journal, an afternoon newspaper once affiliated with KSLA. Griffin over the years has visited most communities in the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas coverage area to produce travelogue feature segments, similar to the long-term work of Bob Phillips on the long-running syndicated series, Texas Country Reporter, now on RFD-TV. He was a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.
Griffin hosted a Christian weekly half-hour program, The Bob Griffin Radio Show, broadcast from KEEL and also carried on four stations in East Texas: KGAS (AM) in Carthage, KMHT (AM) in Marshall, KWRD (AM) in Henderson, and KPXI in Overton. The program consists of travel reports, features, area personalities, and uplifting human interest stories, often with Christian testimonies. At 6:50 a.m. CST on most weekdays on KEEL, he aired a minute-long feature, "People to Meet, Places to Go, and Things to See and Do."
Griffin assisted Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator in the promotion of the department's "Safety Town," founded in 2008 and located between Walker Road and Jewella Avenue near the South Park Summer Grove Baptist Church. The organization was established to be concerned with their safety.
Griffin has received many broadcast honors, including most recently:
- 2000, "Sportsman of the Year," Independence Bowl Foundation.
- 2004, "Mr. Shreveport," from the local Optimist Club.
- 2005, Induction into the Centenary College Sports Hall of Fame.
- 2005, "Louisiana Sportscaster of the Year" by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
- 2009, "Distinguished Service Award" from the Louisiana Sportswriters Association at the annual Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet in Natchitoches. Griffin shared the honor with O.K. "Buddy" Davis, late long-time sports editor of The Ruston Daily Leader in Ruston, Louisiana.
- "Griffin’s Game Football, "one of the most coveted prizes for a winning high school football team.
- 2011, Five Living Legends of Shreveport, Danny Fox (1954-2014) of KWKH radio. Danny Fox named Griffin as one of the Top 5 "Living Legends" of Shreveport, along with singers James Burton, Hank Williams, Jr., and Claude King (1923-2013), and KWKH radio pioneer Raymond Franklin "Frank" Page (1925-2013).
Death at 85
Griffin died at the age of eighty-five of complications from an illness. Services will be held on February 7 at Emmanuel Baptist Church at 5850 Buncombe Road in Shreveport, with pastor Chad Hardbarger officiating. Burial will be private. On the last full day of his life, Griffin, a sports enthusiast to the end, and his wife watched the Super Bowl.
Though he shunned the "legend" appellation, Griffin called himself "Lucky Bob Griffin. The Lord has been good to me. The Lord has taken care of me. What more can a person ask than what I have had. It's all to a big thank you above."
A few weeks after his passing, Griffin was honored for his work in broadcasting in a float on the Krewe of Gemini in the Mardi Gras grand parade along the Clyde Fant Parkway in Shreveport. Mayor Adrian Perkins said that he will name a Senior Advisory Council in honor of Griffin, whom Perkins called "a Shreveport icon, and he will be missed."
- Robert Griffin. Mylife.com. Retrieved on February 4, 2020.
- The Legend Bob Griffin: 1934-2020. KTBS-TV (February 3, 2020). Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Who is Bob Griffin?. bobgriffinonline.com. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Bob Griffin. KTBS-TV. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Robert Madison "Bob" Griffin obituary. The Shreveport Times (February 5, 2020). Retrieved on February 6, 2020.
- Bog Griffin on-line. Bob Griffin. Retrieved on February 4, 2020.
- Staff, Emmanuel Baptist Church: Denise Griffin, Minister of Children. Emmanuel Baptist Church of Shreveport. Retrieved on February 4, 2020.
- "Griffin to address group," Minden Press-Herald, October 3, 1977, p. 5.
- Carolyn Roy (June 17, 2012). [http://www.ksla.com/story/18808888/longtime-ksla-anchor-and-psc-commissioner-don-owen-passes-away?clienttype=printable Longtime KSLA anchor and news director Don Owen passes away]. KSLA-TV. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Tom Erwin obituary. The Baton Rouge Advocate (June 8, 2020). Retrieved on June 9, 2020.
- Local broadcaster Al Bolton dies. KTBS-TV (April 2, 2014). Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- "Griffin is parade marshal," Minden Press-Herald, March 15, 1978, p. 1.
- Sheriff's Safety Town - Shreveport. Sheriffssafetytown.org. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Distinguished Service Award. thelswa.com. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Wayne Grimes (Danny Fox) obituary. The Shreveport Times (May 31, 2014). Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Living Legends of Shreveport – Danny Fox’s Top 5. KWKH Radio. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Rick Rowe. Rick Rowe profiles the late Bob Griffin, both Bobs. KTBS-TV. Retrieved on February 5, 2020.
- Deborah Bayliss (February 22, 2020). Krewe of Gemini Grand Parade honors legendary broadcaster Bob Griffin. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on February 23, 2020.