Bob Gilbert
A Guy With Something 'Extra'
by Mike Clark

Channel 13 viewers have plenty to thank Bob Gilbert for.

Not only did Bob produce the engaging mini-documentary series Pulse Extra, which paved the way for the ambitious Project 13, he was responsible for bringing the musically talented Ernie Lee to the Suncoast. And that's the just a small part of this TV pioneer's story.

Bob's home office in St. Petersburg Beach yields many mementos of a long and prolific career in live television and film. On one wall are photographs from his travels around the world, while 16mm film reels from past projects are arranged on a vertical rack facing a computer station. Bob sat down on a Saturday afternoon to talk with BIG 13 about his life in television.

A native of Cincinnati, Bob grew up listening to radio programs and
was influenced by the path taken by his musical sibling...


"It was the late 1930's and my older brother had developed into a fine musician," recalls Bob. "I decided to try and get into show business then along came World War 2. I went into the Navy as a photographer and served on the USS Salerno Bay, CVE-110. After the war, I went to photography school at the University of Cincinnati, where I fell in love and married Shirley Anne Benjamin. I became a free-lance photographer for awhile and then we had a baby girl. Because photography was a very low-paying job, I used the G.I. Bill to get back into college and study broadcasting. I then went to work for WLWT (Cincinnati) pushing props in August of 1948."