Robert M. “Bob” Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. “Gospel Memories,” a radio program of classic gospel, spiritual, and jubilee music, airs on Chicago’s WLUW-FM and throughout the week on Internet, low-power FM, and terrestrial radio stations. The radio program received a commendation from the African American Museum of Philadelphia and earned Bob a Gospel Image Award in 2017. It was named Best Gospel Radio Show of the Year by the Rhythm of Gospel Awards in 2018. He was inducted into the Gospel Industry Network Hall of Fame in 2021 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prayze Factor Gospel Awards in September 2023.
Bob writes about classic and contemporary gospel music as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gospel Music (www.journalofgospelmusic.com). The website, formerly known as The Black Gospel Blog, received a Rhythm of Gospel Award in 2021.
In 2016, Bob became host of Conversations with the Gospel Legends, a 30-minute video series featuring discussions with prominent Chicago gospel legends, for the PCC Broadcast Network. He appears in the award-winning documentary How We Got Over (One State Films) and has been interviewed for several other radio and film documentaries, including for the BBC and for WXPN’s Peabody Award-nominated Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul, which aired on more than 200 public radio stations in February 2019. Bob was interviewed and an advisor for the Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. documentary on gospel music, which will air in February 2024.
Bob’s work has been published in the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music (Routledge 2005), Encyclopedia of African American Music (Greenwood Publishing 2010), and in the ARSC Journal of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. He routinely contributes book reviews to the ARSC Journal and music reviews to Living Blues and Blues & Rhythm: The Gospel Truth magazines. His articles on Chicago choirmaster Professor J. Wesley Jones, country radio star Shelby Jean Davis, and polka king Li’l Wally Jagiello were published in Chicago History. Bob has also had articles published in the Chicago Reader, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal.
He authored the album notes for Sallie and Cora Martin: Just a Little Talk with Jesus (Gospel Friend 2014), The One-Derful! Collection: Halo Records (Secret Stash 2016), Moving Up: The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio (Gospel Friend 2017), and various artists projects, Jesus Rocked the Jukebox (Concord Music Group 2017), Cadillac Baby’s Bea and Baby Records (Earwig Music, 2019), A Stranger I May Be: Savoy Gospel 1954-1986 (Honest Jon’s, 2020), and There Will Be Joy (Gospel Friend, 2021). He was nominated for Grammy Awards in the Best Album Notes category for his work on The Gospel According to Malaco (Malaco 2019) and The King of Gospel Music: The Life and Music of Reverend James Cleveland (Malaco 2021).
Marovich’s collection of gospel sound recordings is cited as one of the nation’s most comprehensive. It includes more than 7,000 records (LPs, 45s and 78s) and thousands of CDs and cassettes representing tens of thousands of individual selections.
His first book, A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music, was published in March 2015 by the University of Illinois Press as part of its Music in American Life Series. It received a 2016 Certificate of Merit in Historical Sound Recorded Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC). It was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2015 by the Chicago Book Review. His book about the best-selling gospel album, Peace Be Still, by James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir, was published by the University of Illinois Press in November 2021. It also received a Certificate of Merit from ARSC.
Bob graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1985 and earned an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in 2002. He is a member of the board of directors of the Institute for the Preservation of African American Music and Arts in Milwaukee. He lives in Chicago with his wife, author and educator Laurel Delaney.