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Bob Arthur; Half of ‘Ken and Bob’ Radio Duo

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bob Arthur, half of the popular “Ken and Bob Company” morning drive-time radio show for 17 years, has died. He was 75.

Arthur died March 25 at his home in Albuquerque, his wife, Lynn, said Friday.

The radio veteran and his partner, Ken Minyard, made their catch phrase “EGBOK” a household word. The acronym stood for the reassuring “Everything’s gonna be OK.”

The amusing duo earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a niche in the hearts of Southern California commuters who tuned in to KABC-AM (790).

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After Arthur’s retirement in 1990, Minyard paired with Roger Barkley, who had been a co-host of the similar “Lohman and Barkley” show on KFI-AM (640) for 25 years.

At the time, Arthur seemed happy about his retirement, announcing that he planned to help set up care homes for Alzheimer’s patients in Long Beach. But a year later, as “Ken and Barkley Company” thrived, Arthur wrote The Times a stinging letter claiming that he had not retired at all but had been fired because of his age. The radio station and Minyard denied his statement.

In its halcyon days, “Ken and Bob Company” featured an irreverent mix of news and entertainment, weather and traffic reports. Critics generally agreed that the show clicked because of the spontaneous chemistry between the co-hosts. The more talkative Minyard would comment about news events or quirky happenings, and the more authoritative Arthur would add wry one-liners and snappy observations.

Pioneering in ensemble broadcasting when it premiered in 1973, the show was consistently rated among the three most popular morning radio shows in the Los Angeles area.

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Arthur always remained proud of his strong news background. His wife said that he considered his two interviews with John F. Kennedy the highlights of his career. He had also interviewed such internationally known figures as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Born Joseph Arthur Prince in Kansas, Arthur studied journalism in college and began his career on television in Wichita, Kan. When he moved to Los Angeles, he worked for KTLA-TV and then switched to radio, first on KNX-AM. He was hired by KABC as a newsman in 1969.

In addition to his wife of six years, Arthur is survived by three sons and a half brother.

A memorial service is being planned for Friday in Manhattan Beach.

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