You may not recognize the face (although that bald head and beard are pretty distinguishing features), but you’ll certainly recognize the voice. Bob Dumas is the headlining member of G105’s radio show Bob & the Showgram, heard every day for the last 20 years from 6 to 10 a.m.
He’s been through multiple co-hosts, rants, raves and life-altering events, like a brain tumor and the death of his father, all heard over the Triangle airways. Dumas makes no apologies for the person he is, and he won’t tiptoe around any issue. “I’m kinda like a black or white guy. I have no gray, which is good and bad,” said Dumas. “There’s a lot of people that don’t like me, and that’s OK,” he said.
You might not like him, but you can’t help but love him. You prove it to us year after year in our annual Best of Western Wake Maggy Awards (coming again in September, by the way). He credits the show’s frankness for establishing such a loyal following.
“Listeners feel like we’re a big family. We are honest, and we care about our listeners. It’s not just a paycheck. I know that people who listen to the show care about us. I do think it’s very unique.”
One of his most memorable moments on the show happened five years ago, when he returned to work after recovering from a “tennis ball-sized” brain tumor. “I was just so proud that I was able to come back and do something I loved. It’s been my passion since I was a 10-year-old kid, and I thought I was done,” he said.
True to form, Dumas commemorated the five-year anniversary of the tumor this past April on air with calls from his doctors, a poem by one of his daughters and smashing a piñata symbolic of the tumor.
“This sounds like such BS, but it’s the God’s honest truth. The best thing that ever happened to my life was that brain tumor,” said Dumas. “It gave me a better relationship with God, a better understanding about how important my family is to me and a better understanding that this is just a J.O.B. I love it, but it’s just a job.”
He was on the job in 2007 when he first noticed something might be wrong. Dumas experienced speech arrest while on air; the words he was trying to say came out “mush.” Over the next several weeks Triangle listeners experienced a rare radio absence while Bob underwent a whirlwind of doctor appointments, brain MRIs and surgery at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center.
Dumas returned to the Showgram after just three weeks and one “heated discussion” with his wife, Lu. Dumas recounted the experience for listeners during a weeklong return to the show. He considers the ordeal a turning point in his life. “Maybe I was self centered. Maybe I was chasing whatever it is everybody chases, but it became a lot less important,” he said.
It wasn’t long before he added a new passion to his resume in the form of salsa. Dumas experimented with making his own salsa because he couldn’t find a grocery store or a restaurant brand that hit the perfect mix. “I thought, ‘How hard is this really?’ I found out it’s really hard,” he said. The popularity of his salsa — both mild and hot — grew among friends and family, and Bobby J’s Original salsa was born.
He researched bottling companies — his is in Louisburg — barcodes, labeling and he designed the graphics. The first 1,500 bottles of the Mmm Mmm Mild variety sold out in 8 hours at the N.C. State Fair. “It was done. Out. Gone,” he said. “This is actually pretty cool.”
Dumas solicited Lu’s help to grow the salsa business, and she took on the challenge and then some. “She’s already fired me three times,” he said. Bobby J’s Original is available at The Meat House locations and is served at the State Farmer’s Market Restaurant and Salem Street Pub.
Lu, Haley and Katie, Bob’s wife and two daughters, are mentioned often on the show. Bob is open about his family life, the good and the bad, with listeners. Dumas says his girls listen to The Showgram, despite the adult content. “Sometimes mom turns it off, but they listen to it most of the time,” he said. “I really do keep them in mind because I don’t want anybody else’s kids to hear anything that I don’t want my kids to hear. After I know they’re in school, I might say other stuff.”
Dumas’ 20-year career at G105 is unique in the radio world. He has encountered job offers from other markets, but his family has embraced the Triangle and the town of Apex, which they call home. He doesn’t see himself leaving anytime soon. “I would be an idiot to leave here,” he said. “Why would I want to leave and go any place else?”
In case you missed it live, click below to listen to Cary Magazine’s appearance on Bob & the Showgram.
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