graduated from Cape Central High School in 1950, worked on the Mississippi river, and a year later joined the Navy serving on several submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific. I remember my years in the Navy as, My first experience working with men who were resourceful, self-confident, and unflappable under pressure.
I returned to Cape and earned a BS and MA degree at SEMO and knocked around as a teacher, football coach, and construction supervisor. I got my feet wet booking local music acts in what would become my lifelong avocation; public relations.
In 1970 I left Cape Girardeau to promote nationally known country and popular music celebrities in Nashville, Tennessee. I had moderate success working with Fred Burch, Buzz Cason, Lee Stoller, Shelby Singleton, David Allen Coe and others. I left the music industry in 1976 and formed the literary agency of Bob Robison & Associates.
Here’s how it happened:
I had made a lot of contacts of all kinds in Nashville in my first few years. It was great fun working side-by-side with fun-loving, creative, talented entertainers, publishers, and producers; all characters in their own right. As I was talking to Sgt. Barry (Green Beret) Sadler right before I left for a three week tour of Europe with Carl Mann, I told Sadler, If you haven’t sold your book by the time I get back, I’ll start a Literary Agency and sell your book. He didn’t and I did! We did 30 books together.
Since that fateful day, I have built one of the most successful/commercial agencies outside of New York and Los Angeles. I maintain a select list of producing writers who have among their credits Emmys, Sylvanias, Peabody’s, Spurs, Paperback Originals, Military Writers, and Pulitzer nominations. Works of the writers have appeared on the New York Times best seller list, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, USA Today and others.
I’m very proud of my association with Captain William R. Anderson who took the crew and USS Nautilus under the North Pole in 1958. That feat is still considered one of the top three maritime adventures undertaken by mankind. I worked with him on his bio The Ice Diaries.
Chet Hagan was another of my favorites. Hagan was a veteran writer and producer in Nashville for over 500 shows including NBC, Roy Acuff, and others. I called on him to pitch an idea for a TV show and came away as his Literary Agent. We were together for 20 years until his death.
One of the shows for NBC at the Ryman Theater gave me a very special treat. I got to have breakfast with Roy Rogers. I idolized him as a kid, having watched all of his movies over the years. He was one of the most polite stars I ever met. He kept asking me about my life and what I did. I thought later, he still doesn’t know he’s Roy Rogers.
The people in Cape were and are still very dear to me. Their influence, to a great degree, was the primary driving force in my adult life.