When Bob Rosenthal started college, he knew he wanted to work in radio or television broadcasting. Rosenthal landed his first job in the industry soon after graduation, as the sports director for the NBC television affiliate in Missoula, Montana. He was only 21 at the time.
“It’s been 45 years,” Rosenthal says with a chuckle. “That’s a long time.”
Today, Rosenthal is the vice president and general manager of Lotus Media Corp, the company behind radio stations such as KRVB, KJOT, KQXR and KTHI. However, fans of Boise State football may know him better as the game day voice at Albertsons Stadium. Rosenthal was also the radio color commentator for Boise State football in the 1970s and ’80s.
Rosenthal says he’s had a rewarding career, but it’s one that may not have come to fruition if not for some sage advice he received at his first job interview in 1974.
He’d just graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and he landed an interview with Chicago’s NBC television affiliate, WMAQ. A 21-year-old Rosenthal arrived to meet with then-news director Ed Planer, eager to begin a career in broadcasting and willing to do whatever it took. Planer, it seems, wasn’t prepared to hire someone straight out of college for his station, situated in one of the top markets in the country.
“He said to me, ‘You know, you really shouldn’t be here,’” Rosenthal recalls.
It was blunt, perhaps, but Planer went on to advise Rosenthal to apply to stations in smaller markets. While some applicants might have been hurt or angered by Planer’s words, Rosenthal decided to take his advice, and it landed him the job in Missoula. The job placed Rosenthal on the path to a long career in broadcasting.
In 1978, Rosenthal’s career lead him to KBOI radio in Boise.
“I decided to get into sales. That led me into sales management, and general management, and I’ve been doing that for the last, well, almost 40 years,” he says with surprise.
Rosenthal was later recruited by Journal Broadcast Group to lead its Boise radio stations, and now at Lotus, he’s stayed on the management side of the business.
Rosenthal enjoys being a leader.
“I like setting a good example,” he says. “I like collaborative work. I really enjoy decision making, and empowering others to make decisions. I’m really into the team aspect.”
This approach to leading a team is something Rosenthal’s colleagues say they admire. Steve Wexler has known Rosenthal for over 20 years.
“He takes the time to coach, mentor, encourage and support his team,” Wexler says. “He’s the kind of leader all of us would work for in a heartbeat.”
Dan McColly is the operations manager for Lotus. He says Rosenthal’s leadership has been the foundation of Lotus’ sustained success, and says one of the best things about Rosenthal is his connection to the Boise community.
“In short, he’s the kind of person any community would be lucky to call a citizen,” McColly says.
Community is something Rosenthal says he thinks a lot about.
“What’s on my mind is that we’ve got to provide affordable housing to people, we need to continue our commitment to education in the community … (so) when young people get an education, they want to stay here,” Rosenthal says. “I’m very appreciative of all that I’ve seen and all I’ve been able to benefit from. I want to see it be sustained.”
Bob Rosenthal has worked in broadcasting since he was 21, when he became the sports director for a TV station in Missoula, Montana. Today he’s the vice president and general manager of Lotus Media Corp, a company behind several Boise radio stations. He’s also been the stadium announcer for Boise State football for the past 34 seasons.
34 years as Boise State’s game announcer at Albertsons Stadium (Bronco Stadium)
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of that cross between having a fun time and doing some work that you have to focus on.”
17 awards in five years
For excellence in athletic publications from the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Honored on the field for 25 years of service to BSU
At the October 18, 2002, Boise State-Fresno State football game.
Becoming general manager of KBOI (Pacific Northwest Broadcasting)
He was hired as an account manager at 27 and named general manager at 44.
Being hired by Journal Broadcast Group in late 1999, and turning the business around in 2000
“I think that made me the happiest. Seeing how happy the employees were that we were not only starting to win, but winning a lot.”