Al Hobbs, known to all of Indianapolis as the Bishop and known that way as well to the World of Gospel Music in America and worldwide, has been called home by the God we all Serve.
Our beloved brother passed Thursday, July 31st at the age of 71. To say that Al “The Bishop” Hobbs was one of the individuals instrumental in building WTLC Radio is an understatement. Al was a force of nature and a part of WTLC from nearly the very beginning.
A Kentucky native, Al Hobbs left a career in the grocery business in the with the 7 to 11 grocery chain in Indianapolis had been in the grocery business when he was lured to join WTLC in its early days by then General Manager Tom Mathis. Al quickly rose though the ranks becoming Sales Manager in 1974 and then General Manager in 1979. Hobbs’ Sunday Afternoons “The Love Train” gospel music program garnered huge ratings and exposed generations to quality, Black gospel music. For a quarter century, 25 years, Hobbs helped grow WTLC in the major force in Indianapolis and Indiana broadcasting and as one of the country’s pioneering Black Radio Stations.
While being a broadcaster, Al Hobbs was developing as a force in gospel music. As a singer, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur. Hobbs has been a longtime member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), the 30,000 member organization founded by the gospel giant Rev. James Cleveland.
As a radio announcer, Hobbs was one of the founders of the Gospel Announcers Guild, within the GMWA. After the passing of Rev. Cleveland, Al Hobbs assumed the Chairman’s position at GMWA leading it to new heights. After leaving WTLC in 1973, Al Hobbs continued as a gospel music artist, writer, producer and entrepreneur. All the while, Hobbs was lending his entrepreneurial expertise and skill in event planning and creativity to Indiana Black Expo.
A longtime board member and Expo Vice-President, Hobbs worked closely with Black Expo President Rev. Charles Williams to help build Indiana Black Expo into the nation’s most unique and premiere Black event. Al Hobbs created the StarQuest talent competition which became a regular staple at Black Expo; showcasing great Indiana talent and bringing rising stars to the IBE; stars who eventually became R&B and Gospel superstars.
Two weeks ago, Indiana Black Expo honored Hobbs with their Founders Award at Expo’s Corporate Luncheon. Unfortunately, Al was too ill to accept the well deserved honor in person. Al Hobbs’ annual Christmas Season event We Can Feed the Hungry, helped thousands of needy Indianapolis area families every Christmas. Al Hobbs has received numerous honors from being named a Sagamore of the Wabash – Indiana’s highest honor, to a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association and being named to the Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2007, celebrating his then Fifty Years in Gospel Music, Al Hobbs was honored by the Stellar Awards.