40 Under 40 Class of 2008

Rob Anthony

Age 29: Program Manager, WMAS

Rob Anthony says they’re the best three days of the year.

He was referring to the Children’s Miracle Network radiothon that he and others at WMAS radio — which he now serves as program manager, ‘afternoon host,’ and operations manager — have been part of for the past seven years. This is an intense, emotional, rewarding three days that raise money for Baystate Children’s Hospital (more than $200,000 during the 2008 edition) and each year creates memories that last a lifetime.

Like 11-year-old Devon Roy’s speech on Rosa Parks. It was perhaps the most unforgettable moment of this year’s radiothon, staged just a few weeks ago. Roy was supposed to deliver that address at her Greenfield school’s history fair, but she had to be in the children’s hospital instead because of her respiratory illness. So Anthony got the idea to have her read the speech over the air, with the entire school listening in the auditorium.

“There wasn’t a dry eye on the play deck,” said Anthony, referring to the area that serves as a broadcast studio for the radiothon, and including himself in that company. That’s one of the occupational hazards of the radiothon, he said, adding that he and others from the station often get emotional as they’re broadcasting, and have no regrets about doing so. “It just shows you’re human.”

Anthony says the radiothon is just one reason why he says of his job, “calling it work is a bit of a stretch.” In short, he loves music, and thoroughly enjoys being on the air. In fact, he left another station in the area for his first job at WMAS, at a considerable reduction in salary, because it afforded him the chance to get behind the microphone.

He’s still there, working the 3 to 7 p.m. shift, while also helping to set a strategic plan for the station, and charting an aggressive philanthropic course that includes work to assist groups ranging from the children’s hospital to the Children’s Study Home.

An avid sports fan and NASCAR follower (he’s a Dale Earnhardt Jr. devotee), Anthony must balance these interests and his work in radio with family, and especially his 8-month-old daughter, Kaitlynn.

The ’08 radiothon was the first since her birth, he noted, and this juxtaposition made those three days even more poignant — and special. George O’Brien