Radio star Bobby Bones to speak at commencement

At age 17, Bobby Estell began his radio career in 1998 at Henderson State University’s KSWH.

Today, the rising radio star, better known as Bobby Bones, has the biggest country morning show in the United States.

Bones, originally from Hot Springs, will be the speaker at Henderson State’s spring commencement May 13.

“Had I not started at Henderson State, I would have never been able to get into radio as quickly as I did,” Bones said. “It opened doors that otherwise would have been closed.”

When asked what message he will deliver to the 2016 graduating class, Bones said, “You’re going to hear a million ‘no’s,’ but all it takes is one ‘yes.’ So keep fighting for that one, single ‘yes.’”

After earning his degree in radio and television from Henderson in 2002, Bones was hired by Q100/KQAR in Little Rock and The Bobby Bones Night Show was born.

In 2003, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he began hosting The Bobby Bones Show. He was joined on the air by his sidekicks Lunchbox and Amy. They attracted listeners in droves, as well as topped the market’s rankings.

Bones was named Austin Radio Personality of the Year for three consecutive years from 2009-2011. Austin’s Alliance of Women in Media honored the program with their Radio Personality of the Year seven years in a row.

The Bobby Bones Show was nationally syndicated on CHR radio from 2011-2013 when the program transitioned to a country music format.

Today, the program originates from WSIX in Nashville, Tennessee, and can be heard on nearly 100 country radio stations nationwide by millions of listeners.

Bones recently received his second Academy of Country Music award for "National On-Air Personality of the Year."

In addition to his weekday program, Bones added a weekend country countdown show. Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones, a four-hour music program, airs nationwide on about 130 affiliates.

Bones is also half of The Raging Idiots, a comedy band with his radio producer that plays shows across the U.S. and has raised more than $2 million to benefit various charities.

Their new album, The Critics Give it 5 Stars, recently made its debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Comedy chart and landed in the Top 5 on the Country Album chart. 

In his upcoming book, Bare Bones, Bones will take his fans on an authentic, raw, and hilarious tour of his journey to becoming one of the leading country radio personalities.

That journey began at Henderson State.

“I had a great launching pad at HSU which allowed me to get started earlier than most,” he said. “I’ve worked hard and had a lot of people give me great advice and some breaks along with way, but in the end, it’s about how hard you work that makes the real difference.”

Looking into the future, Bones wants to keep the focus on his radio show.

“I’ve recorded and produced two records, written my first book, and I am expanding my TV production company,” he said. “I’m running a clothing line, doing stand up shows, and live music shows all around the country.

“I hope to continue to do all those, but most importantly, I hope to continue the radio show that’s heard in millions of homes and phones across the country.”

To read more about Bones and his radio show, go to bobbybones.com.

Henderson commencement will be held at 9 a.m. May 13 at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium.