The MAB has learned that longtime Michigan broadcast owner Robert (Bob) G. Liggett, Jr. passed away Friday morning, July 12, from complications with pancreatic cancer. He was 76. Bob leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Victoria, and four daughters, Maureen Fettes, Emily Philpot, Marjorie and Roberta Liggett.
Bob founded Liggett Broadcast Group in 1970 following his graduation from law school in 1969 from Wayne State University. He practiced law “for about a week” and decided to stay with the radio business he loved since childhood. The business, headquartered in Lansing, became the state’s largest radio broadcast group. The company owned as many as 29 AM/FM stations in Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, New York and California. In 2000, Bob sold the company to Citadel Communications Corporation.
He was honored with the MAB Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and was one of the first MAB Foundation Founders Club member. He was on the original board of the MAB Foundation and remained active past his time on the board, often joining the Foundation conference calls.
With his respect for the history of broadcasting, Bob was instrumental in putting together the MAB Foundation Broadcasting History Exhibit by loaning his studio equipment which traveled to museums in seven market areas around the state. Bob was one of the first Founder’s Club members in support of the MAB Foundation and our mission. He was on the original board of the MAB Foundation and remained active even as a retired foundation board member.
Starting at age 14, Bob worked his way through high school and college with jobs for Detroit broadcasters such as Capital Cities Communications (WJR), ABC Companies (WXYZ-AM/FM) and Storer Broadcasting Company (WJBK-AM/FM/TV). Additionally, Bob was the public address announcer for the Detroit Red Wings from 1963 to 1971 at Olympia Stadium.
At the time of his death, Bob still owned five radio stations in Port Huron area (WHLS-AM/WHLX-AM/WPHM-AM/WBTI-FM/WSAQ-FM). He was the owner and Chairman of Big Boy Restaurants International, LLC from 2000 to 2018. Bob was the owner and publisher of The Grosse Pointe News from 2007 to 2017.
In 2001, Bob founded Speed Net, LLC, a provider of wireless high-speed modem service. From its headquarters in Frankenmuth, Michigan the company served thousands of households in rural areas of Michigan and was sold in 2009 to Sprint.
In 2010 Bob founded Speed Connect, LLC also providing wireless high- speed modem services to several states including Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and South Dakota. He sold the company to Sprint in 2018.
Bob was involved in many philanthropic endeavors. The Liggett Breast Center at the Van Elslander Cancer Center, Beyond Basics a literacy reading program based in several Detroit elementary schools, The Holly Ear Institute, The Children’s Center of Detroit, and many other programs and causes.
Bob was a member of The Old Club (past commodore), the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, The Country Club of Detroit, The Detroit Athletic Club and The Hundred Club of Detroit.
Bob served on the Foundation Board of The Detroit Historical Society, The Wayne State University Foundation, The Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, Focus Hope and St. John Hospital Foundation. Bob also has been a member of the Michigan State Bar Association since 1969.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 25 from 3-8 p.m. at A. H. Peters Funeral Home at 20707 Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe Woods. The funeral service will be on Friday, July 26, at 11 a.m. at the Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church at 211 Moross Road in Grosse Pointe Farms.