The Two Bobs Return

For 24 years, Bob Thomann (HB9GX) and Bob Zanotti (HB9ASQ) shared a microphone and became an international broadcasting icon, winning awards for their popularity and the consistently large audience share of their show, The Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round.

“The Two Bobs”, as they came to be known, were both radio hams, so they had firsthand knowledge and experience of the technical problems inherent in shortwave – also called High Frequency  or “HF” – transmission. It’s logical, then, that their mainstay was providing off-the-cuff answers to listeners’ technical questions about radio and how to improve reception.

But The Two Bobs were also philosophers, and had strong personal feelings about the major political and policy issues that faced HF broadcasting, and what they believed was the shortsightedness of curtailing shortwave services in the post Cold War era. The Two Bobs were sometimes even controversial, especially when it came to their outspokenness in getting shortwave listeners to pay more attention to “program content” – the term they coined to discourage the perception of HF broadcasting as merely a technical hobby. The Two Bobs left their mark on international broadcasting and became a household word among millions of shortwave listeners around the world.

The Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round ended in June 1994, despite heavy listener protest. Over the years, Bob Thomann and Bob Zanotti remained good friends.

In 2004, after a 10-year absence from SRI, they got back together on SIS to reminisce. As it turned out, one thing led to another, and a new series of Two Bobs programs emerged, a few of them featuring old broadcasting colleagues and friends. Also included here are the last known surviving recordings of the original Two Bobs programs.

Unfortunately, due to poor health, Bob Thomann was no longer able to participate in further recordings. He died in August 2019, so The Two Bobs era came to its end. We hope you will enjoy what remains.