JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Bob Rall, known to thousands of viewers and listeners as traffic reporter "Chopper Bob," died in his sleep early Tuesday morning.
Bob was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Jackson in 1954 when he was twelve years old. He attended Power, Bailey, Central and Murrah schools in Jackson. He also attended the University of Southern Mississippi (then called Mississippi Southern College) and the University of Tennessee. Bob was a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard for eight years.
Bob had two sons, Mike and Rob, and one grandson, Blake. He was a communicant of St. Philip's Episcopal Church for some thirty years and served on the church Vestry. He and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at the Reservoir.
Bob got his first job in radio in 1958 at WJXN in Jackson. He and Bert Case were both disc-jockeys at WJXN for awhile. Bob moved on to radio stations in Memphis, Knoxville, Mobile, New Orleans and Dallas from 1961 to 1971.
When he came home to Jackson, Bob and Al Simmons invented Jackson's first radio "talk" show on WSLI Radio. Unlike today's talk radio, the show was a mixture of famous and not-so-famous guests across the USA, an occasional song, and daily foolishness. Bob and Al talked to Roy Rogers, Charles Schultz, Queen Elizabeth's personal secretary (hoping to sing "Happy Birthday to the Queen), a woman who lived in a tree in Miami, Bob Hope, and more than 2,000 other guests during the nine years the show was on the air in the afternoon.
Bob managed radio stations in the Virginia Shenandoah Valley, Biloxi, and here in Jackson from 1980 to 2002.
In 1997, he began reporting traffic from the original "Skycopter" for WLBT and local radio stations. The first Skycopter was not equipped with cameras, but within a few months, the present aircraft arrived and WLBT's "Chopper Bob" and Skycopter became Mississippi's only traffic reports from a helicopter.
Bob will be laid to rest on Friday. Visitation is at 9:30 a.m. at St. Philip's Episcopal Church on Old Canton Road in Jackson. The funeral will follow at 11:00 a.m..
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