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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

Retired DJ 'Bubba Bo' Boulanger in hospice

Bubba Bo photo from WSCH-FM 3.11.21 crop.jpg
Courtesy WSCH-FM
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Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger retired last year after 40 years on WSCH-FM, WLW-AM, WUBE-FM and WCKY-AM.

Long-time country music radio and WLW's weekend truckers' show host had retired last year.

Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger, a 40-year Greater Cincinnati radio veteran, planned to winter in Florida after retiring from WLW-AM's American Truckers' Network show a year ago.

He never made it. After experiencing confusion last summer, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a very aggressive brain cancer. He had brain surgery for the tumor, chemotherapy and radiation last fall, and entered hospice shortly before Christmas.

"He was healthy as an ox," said longtime friend Mary Kuzan-McConnell about Bubba Bo's health when he retired a year ago.

"It was all very sudden. It was really a shock. It's so sad," says Kuzan-McConnell, who did traffic reports years ago for Bubba Bo's morning show on WSCH-FM, "Eagle Country 93.3," in Lawrenceburg. Boulanger retired from WSCH-FM in March 2021, after 16 years, on his 65th birthday.

"As soon as he was diagnosed, he was told that his chances of living for more than a year were slim to none," she said. He cannot walk and barely talks now, she said.

Boulanger explained his retirement from WSCH-FM in a 2021 interview on the station's website:

"I've been running for 40 years-plus in this business and I've gotten to do a lot of cool things and meet a lot of cool people and I've made pretty good money as money goes in this business anymore, but it's time to ease up some and enjoy life," he said. "I started working in radio at 21, and from there it's been the radio life, no doubt about it, but I don't regret it a damn bit. I had a lot of fun."

The Massachusetts native came from Indianapolis to Cincinnati's old news-talk WCKY-AM in 1982 as sports reporter Eric Boulanger.

In 1986, he joined country music station WUBE-FM, and worked mornings as "Bubba Bo" with former Q102 DJ Jim Fox. He was part of B105's four nominations for the County Music Association's large market "Personality of the Year" radio team.

Next he was on country WYGY-FM for two years (2001-03). While at WYGY-FM, he explained his radio success to me this way: "I'm not an air personality or a DJ. I'm just a regular guy like the people who listen to the radio."

"When we went to Kroger, often people would come up to him and say, 'Aren't you Bubba Bo?' And he'd stop and talk to them for as long as they liked. He was very good to his listeners," Kuzan-McConnell said.

Boulanger had been on and off WLW-AM's ATN over the years. He hosted weekends until a 2007 budget cut; he later returned to do weekends until 2014, when he quit because he was working seven days a week on WSCH-FM and WLW-AM.

In January 2021, he returned to WLW-AM's late night lineup to host a one-hour America's Truckin' Network recorded show airing midnight to 1 a.m., before the national Red Eye Radio show starts at 1 a.m. Boulanger did the one-hour ATN with Ed "Mr. Motorkote" Gibbs of MotorKote engine lubricants, a longtime ATN sponsor.

Boulanger did the WLW-AM show from a home studio for a year.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.