A lying, cheating, deceptive, narcissistic, self-centered buffoon. That is about the only conclusion one can come to when reading the news that pop country über DJ Bobby Bones spent $13,000 of his own money on a smear campaign against himself when he first showed up to Nashville to helm iHeartMedia’s flagship country music morning show.
The four “Go Away Bobby Bones” billboards that popped up in Nashville in February of 2014, paid for by an anonymous source simply called “Anti Bobby Bones” at $2,150 a pop, were actually the work of Bobby Bones himself. And get this, they were sprung for not as just a publicity stunt, but so that he could gain sympathy from the public and hopefully get into the good graces of the Nashville and the nationally-syndicated population.
This revelation comes in a new memoir the DJ has written, and was first revealed by Emily Yahr of The Washington Post.
“Everyone who considered himself a real defender of country music hated me,” Bones says about when he first started in country. “My attitude was, ‘This is how it’s going to work. I’m playing whatever I want to play. I’m doing the bits I want to do. I don’t wear cowboy boots or hats or belt buckles. I am not you; I am me … My attitude wasn’t winning me any friends — or listeners. I needed to get people to like me, or at least feel sorry for me … I launched a massive negative PR campaign against myself to garner sympathy.”
When the billboards were first revealed, many conspiracy theorists thought they might be the work of Bobby Bones himself, but even Bones seemed to not be one to stoop that low. Wacky morning radio show DJ’s pull publicity stunts for ratings all the time. Bobby Bones isn’t the first, and he certainly won’t be the last. But it is the self-centeredness and incessant need for attention by Bones that makes the revelation so revealing.
Though some are trying to couch the news as a good thing that Bones is finally coming clean, it continues to call into question Bobby’s credibility. From his feuds with Kacey Musgraves and Chris Young, from accusing Aaron Watson of being disrespectful towards women, to all kinds of other buffoonery and the way he throws grenades at people and then hides behind Cancer charity like he’s bulletproof and beyond reproach, it’s all just beyond the pale. Were the FCC emergency signals that caused widespread panic after they were broadcast on his show part of a publicity stunt as well?
Bobby Bones had been mostly keeping his nose clean recently. Since iHeartMedia is saddled with so much debt, and Bones’ show—though still quite powerful due to it’s massively syndicated audience—is still getting beat out occasionally by the NASH Icon affiliate in Nashville, it’s questionable just what kind of threat he really is anymore. Radio is on the wane, and Bobby Bones is with it.
But many had come to respect or at least tolerate Bones, not from the quality of his show, but for sticking to being himself and finding success. But how do you know what is real anymore? From Bobby Bones’ publicity stunts, to Kane Brown’s sales numbers, to the Auto-tune and electronic drums of today’s mainstream country music, it all just seems like a facade for a genre that is supposed to be sewed from authenticity.
If it was Bobby Bones who was behind the anti Bobby Bones movement, how can we be sure who exactly is for him?