My Story - Who is Rob??
The year was about 1982 when I received a phone call while spending the night at Tony's house. Tracy was on the other end of the line. "Robbie!" she said, "Landon is in the Bayfront Medical Center. He is in a coma." It was New Years Eve and Landon was in a near fatal car accident. Little did I know that through this tragic accident God had a plan.
I was a delinquent teenager. At the age of fifteen I was already an alcoholic. Childhood was not pleasant. My biological father left home when I was six months old never to be seen again. Mom remarried around the age of four. The next few years were filled with physical abuse. After a very grueling divorce mom had the task of rearing two children alone.
The news of Landon's accident struck me hard. We had been best friends since I was six. His mother took care of me before and after school. I would skip school to visit Landon in the hospital. I even spent the night in the waiting room waiting for news of his recovery.
One day while a group of Landon's friends were in the waiting room, a youth pastor approached us. He was asked by Landon's grandparents to come and pray for him at the hospital. He introduced himself and began to show us pictures of his dogs describing them as his family.
Keith Killgore, the youth pastor of 1st Baptist Pinellas Park, Florida invited us to join his youth group on an outing. I accepted. He took us to see the Word of Life collegians and the presentation of the book of Revelation. The drama scared me to death. I did not go forward during the altar call that night. For some reason I thought they would place me in an airport with a shaved head.
The ride home was long. I boasted about the recent Van Halen concert I attended trying to make small talk. The youth group told me about this cool Christian radio station. Keith gave me a cassette tape. It was Petra's "More Power to Ya." I began to listen to the station they told me about. I was hooked. WCIE became a part of my life.
Two weeks later I asked Jesus to come into my heart. The following Sunday I went to the altar of 1st Baptist Church Pinellas Park. I was born again. I joined the church and spent many long hours with the youth group praying for Landon. Five months later Landon was healed.
Even though I had this new found faith I never gave up my old friends. I became a four pack a day smoker, alcoholic, and a drug user. On my birthday my mother kicked me out of the house.
I lived with Landon's parents for a short time, then on the streets. The final years as a teenager are very fuzzy. There wasn't a day that went by without a high. I remember living under bridges, which was only a short time, there was a man's garage, a small trailer, working in construction, and hanging out at a biker bar. God never gave up on me through this time of rebellion.
Every night I would listen to WCIE out of Lakeland, Florida. I had a old walkman at one point that I found in a dumpster and would listen all the time. This Christian station was a source a comfort for me. I never met the announcer's face to face but they were my friends. Jon Hull, Rita Christy, Jim Gates, Bill Scott, and Dave Stewart were always letting me know that God loved me.
One night after last call at the Busch Lounge WCIE was on the radio my radio. I had given up on life. I was nineteen. Jobs had come and gone. Relationships had failed. My lifestyle was ungodly. I began to plan another attempt of suicide. Then Dave Stewart reached out over the radio. It was as if he was speaking to me. "God loves you" he said "He will never leave you nor forsake you." He prayed the sinner's prayer and at that moment I rededicate my life to Christ. Then I prayed another prayer. "God, I want to do what that guy on the radio is doing." I never believed that prayer would be answered. However, it was.
One year later I became a volunteer DJ at WLPJ in North Tampa. God was using me to help others the same way WCIE helped me. Easter Sunday 1988 I began a part time shift at WJIS in Sarasota, Florida. It was here that I learned how to do radio. By January 1989 I became the full time overnight announcer. I was doing the same shift as the DJ at WCIE when God reached out to me and changed my life.
In the years to come I became well versed in radio. The job duties performed were Traffic Manager, Production Director, Program Director, Station Manager and now Operations/Programming Director for His Radio in the Carolina's and Georgia. Plus, I have the opportunity to host the Morning Show - "Morning Friends with Rob & Kristin"
Now before every broadcast I thank God for allowing me the privilege to tell others that God loves them and will never leave nor ever forsake them. I will always be grateful to Christian radio and all who were involved in leading me to Christ. He has truly given me a new life.
Since the day I prayed that prayer with a DJ on WCIE I have been blessed. He has given me a beautiful wife, three wonderful children and today a foster baby.