In the mid-60's, WTVT was a family owned organization that encouraged team spirit with picnics and parties attended by the employees.  Bob recalls a fishing trip with his old pal Ernie Lee and 'The Dean of Florida Sportscasters,' Salty Sol Fleishman.  "While Ernie and I fished, Sol went down below deck and took a nap," chuckles Bob.  "He didn't see a thing we were doing.  On the air, you'd swear he knew everything that was going on!" 

"Another time, I went with Roy Leep and Jack Cosgrove when they got on the "Hurricane Hunter" to fly into a storm.  I had to stay on the ground while Jack went up with Roythere wasn't room for me so I shot the plane as it took off.  I was surprised when Jack told me it wasn't as bad as they thought it was going to be because the plane used the storms natural wind direction and merged into it like you would in a car going onto an interstate."

Turning down an offer to join Channel 13's management team, Bob's WTVT era came to an end in 1966 when he and Jack Cosgrove formed their own company and secured a government contract to produce 5 films for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Eighteen months later, Bob joined Zemp Advertising as Broadcast Director and produced the first color videotaped Publix commercials using WTVT's facilities. 

Bob returned to self employment in the early 70's by producing commercials and a Country and Western show before being hired by Nelson Poyntor, Publisher of the St. Petersburg Times, to produce "Congressional Outlook" for PBS.  After the initial batch of 18 episodes, a total of 26 Congressional Outlooks were screened on PBS.  Bob then produced a documentaries on Poynter and other prominent individuals like David Halberstan.

In 1990, Bob went to work for St. Petersburg Junior College producing orientation films and documentaries on subjects such as gender sensitivity (women in men's jobs). Retired since the mid-1990s, Bob enjoys the sunny, casual life of St. Pete Beach with his wife Shirley.  He sums up a typical Florida day by saying "I walk the beach every morning and write poetry every afternoon."

Bob Gilbert in his home office

Bob has 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren ("That's why they us 'The Greatest Generation'," he laughs) and is proud of the fact that his poetry is read regularly on the radio back in Cincinnati. 

Reflecting back over a prolific career that started during the pioneering days of live television, continued with the dynamic growth of the medium in the 50's and 60's, and a long and successful career in documentaries, Bob is quite pleased with his time spent at Channel 13.  "They were open and creative.  They'd take somebody like Andy Hardy, who was just a kid, and encourage him to become better and better.  They would nurture talent from within.  I thought 'TVT was the most open, creative station I ever worked at in my life."

BIG 13 thanks Bob Gilbert for sharing his story.