If you aren’t familiar with Bobby Bones (born Bobby Estell in Hot Springs, Arkansas), the 36-year-old is the host of iHeart’s marquee morning program, The Bobby Bones Show. The program is syndicated on nearly 100 stations coast to coast to more than 3 million listeners each weekday morning. He also hosts the weekly countdown show Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones.
When Bones was tapped by iHeartMedia executives to move to Nashville to host a syndicated morning show in 2013, he admittedly wasn’t much of a country-music guy. His radio background—which he detailed in his 2016 No. 1 New York Times Best Selling, rags-to-riches memoir—had always been in other formats. The Bobby Bones Show began as a Top 40 format show broadcast out of Austin.
Philanthropy is an important part of Bones’ life because he grew up with almost nothing. Most of his childhood was spent in a rural Arkansas trailer park with an alcoholic mother and elderly grandmother. Bones’ father left when he was five. Bones was bullied as a kid, self-conscious about growing up poor, and ashamed that his mother sometimes stole to keep food on the table. He admits his charitable efforts now are driven not only by a desire to give back, but also by a deep-rooted fear of being poor again one day.
He’s the frontman of the comedy band The Raging Idiots. Bones’ band of misfits has raised millions for various charities, including more than $2.2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (Bones’ radio show raised another $1.3 million in a single day last year as part of the St. Jude Radiothon efforts.)
On Monday, Bones will host his second-annual Million Dollar Show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium to raise even more for St. Jude. He’ll be joined by friends Rascal Flatts, Sam Hunt, The Band Perry, Caitlyn Smith and more.
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