Robert Joseph Brolly
Derry, Northern Ireland
|Style||Broadcaster, singer, entertainer|
Robert Joseph Brolly MBE (known professionally as Bob Brolly) is a Northern Ireland-born broadcaster, singer and entertainer, who presents shows for BBC Local Radio in the United Kingdom. A long established personality in the West Midlands region, he has presented programmes on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and BBC WM for several years, where he is probably best known for a weekly Irish music show aired on Sunday afternoons.
Life and career
Born in Derry, Brolly moved with his family to England when he was fifteen, and settled in Coventry. After training as an engineer, he worked in the automotive industry for several years, at Morris Motors, before holding a number of other jobs that included being chief beer taster for Bass Brewery. His radio career has seen him present a long-running afternoon programme on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, which aired for twelve years until 2013, as well as his Irish music show, which was first broadcast in the mid-1990s. In 2015, he also became the host of Brolly and Friends, a chat show airing on Irish TV, a channel aimed at the Irish diaspora.
Brolly first began singing as a boy, as a member of the Waterside Chapel choir in Derry, but did not become a professional musician until much later in life, and when his family entered the pub trade. With his band, Calvary (in which he was both lead singer and drummer), Brolly embarked on tours of Europe, the United States and Australia. He has also enjoyed a successful solo career, appearing at venues including the Wembley Arena in London, and the National Indoor Arena and Symphony Hall in Birmingham. He has released several albums, many featuring covers of popular songs. His 2012 album, Till We Meet Again is a collection of mostly original material.
In 1994, and along with fellow broadcaster Stuart Linnell and the Coventry Telegraph, Brolly founded the Snowball charity to raise funds for good causes. This was followed in 1998 by the first Bob Brolly and Friends annual fundraising campaign. Brolly hosted his first charity fundraising ball in 1999, in aid of the Omagh Victim Support Fund and Leukemia Research, and featuring Irish artists and personalities such as Brendan Shine, Foster and Allen, Barry McGuigan and Majella O'Donnell. Brolly was awarded the MBE in the 2003 New Year Honours for his services to charity and broadcasting. He is also a past winner of the Irish World Radio Presenter of the Year Award, and the Irish Post Media Person of the Year Award.
In November 2005 Brolly was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack. At the time he described the experience as like being "hit in the chest with a baseball bat". He subsequently gave his backing to the Derek Higgs Start a Heart Appeal, an appeal named in honour of former Coventry City F.C. director Derek Higgs (who died from a heart attack in 2008), and which sought to raise funds for fifty defibrillators that would be placed at locations around Coventry. He is also a patron for the Zöe's Place Baby Hospice in Coventry.
- Dreams, Hopes and Promises (2001)
- Precious Years (2002)
- Songs From Me To You (2003)
- The Irish Way (2004)
- Bob Brolly Loves To Sing (2005)
- Brolly (2006)
- Endless Magic (2010)
- Till We Meet Again (2012)
- "Bob Brolly – Award-winning BBC radio personality and entertainer". Bobbrolly.co.uk. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Young, Graham (11 November 2005). "BBC star Brolly on mend in hospital". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Gibbons, Duncan (15 February 2013). "BBC Coventry and Warwickshire DJ Bob Brolly to leave daily show". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "BBC radio favourite launches Birmingham television role". The Irish Post. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Chambers, Pete (9 August 2012). "Backbeat: Bob Brolly's new CD". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "The reason why Bob's got so many friends". Coventry Telegraph. 17 October 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "New Year Honours". The Guardian. 30 December 2002. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Bob Brolly backs campaign to put defibrillators around Coventry". Coventry Telegraph. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2016.