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Bobby Bones
Bobby Bones - iHeartRadio Theater.jpg
Bobby Bones at the iHeartRadio Theater in NYC, for Brad Paisley's album release party.
Bobby Estell

April 2, 1980 (1980-04-02) (age 41)
Alma mater Henderson State University
Occupation Radio personality, television personality, author, comedian, musician
Height 6 ft (183 cm)
Political party Independent

Bobby Bones (born Bobby Estell) is an American radio and television personality, best known for hosting the nationally syndicated The Bobby Bones Show, originating at KISS-FM in Austin, TX, and for his role as a full-time mentor on American Idol on ABC. He was the winner of season 27 of Dancing with the Stars with partner Sharna Burgess. He has also written two New York Times best sellers. On July 17, 2021 Bobby married his love, Caitlin Parker, at their home in TN.

Early life

Bones was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 2, 1980 and raised in the small community of Mountain Pine, Arkansas. He has said his mother became pregnant with him at age 15, when his father was 17. He was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother. His biological father was with him until the age of five, but then left the family. Bones began dreaming of a radio career around the age of 5. His mother died at age 49 after battling addiction problems in 2014. He grew up poor, and often viewed radio as a way of escaping poverty. Bones began his radio career at age 17 at the campus station of Henderson State University, KSWH-FM "The Pulse." He graduated with a B.A. in Radio/Television from Henderson in 2002.


Early professional career

While still in college, Bones went to work as a station hand at KLAZ in Hot Springs, Arkansas, but was put on the air within a few days of being hired. A manager there gave him the choice of going on the air as Bobby Z or Bobby Bones of which he chose the latter. Bones' first full-time radio contract paid him $17,000. In 2002, Bones was hired by Q100/KQAR in Little Rock, Arkansas. He then worked for radio station (KLAL), which led to his hosting The Bobby Bones Show on KHFI-FM in Austin, Texas.


Bones was originally hired for the evening shift on KHFI-FM and was soon moved to mornings. While in Austin, he met two of his future co-hosts, Lunchbox (in a bar) and Amy (in a Culver's). Bones believed in Amy and put her on the air immediately. His executive producer at the time, Alayna Messer, was previously an intern on the show.

Over ten years, the show built its audience into the top-rated morning show in Austin and was syndicated in a few regional markets. At the height of his popularity, Bones was offered a job outside of radio but ultimately chose to remain with Clear Channel (now iHeart Media).


In the fall of 2012, Clear Channel moved Bones and his show from Austin with its Top 40 format to Nashville and a country music format while taking The Bobby Bones Show nationwide. Bones took over the slot hosted by longtime DJ Gerry House, who retired in 2010. Bones now broadcasts from the WSIX-FM studios in Nashville on weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. (CT). His co-hosts are Lunchbox and Amy, and features Producer Eddie, Raymundo, Morgan2, Mike D., Hillary and Scuba Steve.

The Bobby Bones Show has become a regular interview stop for top country music stars and even artists/celebrities outside the genre of country. Luke Bryan, John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Ed Sheeran, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and more have been featured in interviews on the morning show.

On air, Bones and his co-hosts break the typical country radio mold with a mix of pop-culture news and a look inside the lives of the cast.


In February 2013, The Bobby Bones Show was nationally syndicated through iHeart Media-owned Premiere Networks and was made available via and the iHeartRadio mobile app. The show is currently heard on more than 150 radio stations in the U.S., Canada, and UK.

The Bobby Bones Show is the most-listened-to country format morning show in the country, with an estimated audience of nearly 9.2 million listeners a week. The show's largest market is Chicago (WCHI-FM).

Bones also hosts the weekly “Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones,” carried on over 100 radio stations nationwide.

As part of the iHeart Media family, Bones has been tapped to host, present, and even perform at the annual iHeartRadio Country Festival held in Austin, Texas, iHeartRadio Music Festival held in Las Vegas, Nevada and the annual iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles, California.

Other media

Bones appeared in the 2009 feature film, Bandslam, with Vanessa Hudgens. He has also appeared on the ABC drama Nashville and has been a guest host with Kelly Ripa on Live! with Regis and Kelly.

In 2012 Bones was part of the Fox Sports Radio lineup, hosting the weekend sports talk program Roddick and Bones with tennis star Andy Roddick, airing Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on nearly 300 radio stations.

Bones is also the host of the podcast “The Bobbycast” where he interviews singers/songwriters of all genres which The Washington Post dubbed as a "treasure trove of unusually candid anecdotes." He has also launched his own podcast network, the Nashville Podcast Network.

On May 17, 2016, he released his first book entitled Bare Bones, I'm Not Lonely If You're Reading This Book. The book became a #1 New York Times Best Seller.

On June 19, 2018, he released his second New York Times Best Seller entitled Fail Until You Don’t: Fight. Grind. Repeat. which also became a New York Times #1 Best Seller.

In 2018, Bones was a guest mentor for season sixteen of American Idol (the first to air on ABC) during the top 24 round. On November 6, 2018, it was announced Bones would become a full-time mentor for the series beginning in season seventeen. During an episode which aired April 8, 2019, Bones served as guest host, as host Ryan Seacrest was sick and missed the taping.

In June 2019, Bones filmed an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls in Norway. The episode aired on January 14, 2020. He was a judge of Topgolf's original series Who Will Rock You.

He signed an overall deal with BBC Studios.

On May 31, 2021, S1E1 of his new National Geographic channel show, Breaking Bobby Bones, aired. In each episode, Bobby meets a real person doing a "real" job or sport, works with them to learn how to do it, finds out just how hard Americans work and play, and is ultimately critiqued on his performance. He is not always successful, but always earnestly tries to contribute as needed. At the end of each episode, the show, via Bobby, does something special for their guest host/mentor that will improve their life, or help them with their career or other goals. It is touching, heartbreaking at times, and ultimately always uplifting.

Dancing with the Stars

In September 2018, Bones was announced as one of the celebrities to compete on the 27th season of Dancing with the Stars, being paired with the professional dancer Sharna Burgess. Despite the second lowest scores for a couple in the final 4, the couple made it to the finals, and ended up winning the competition.

Public profile

According to The Washington Post, Bones is different from typical radio DJs, as he doesn't have the "classic, booming radio DJ voice".

On September 28, 2013, Bones and his crew were part of a team that set the Guinness World Record "Most hunger relief meals packaged in one hour (team)".

In October 2020, Bobby became engaged to his girlfriend Caitlin Parker. Their wedding is planned for summer 2021.

Accidental trigger of Emergency Alert System

In October 2014, Bones accidentally triggered the Emergency Alert System by playing EAS tones during an on-air rant about an erroneous EAS test interrupting coverage locally of the 2014 World Series on Fox affiliate WZTV. The EAS tones would have only triggered the EAS issuance in Nashville, but since the show was in syndication, the signal cascaded through the show's nationwide affiliates, which caused AT&T U-verse boxes nationwide to lock up with the erroneous test. In May 2015, Bones's employer iHeartMedia paid a $1 million FCC fine due to the incident and removed all EAS sound effects from their nationwide sound library to prevent a recurrence.


On January 3, 2017, Bones announced he was considering a run for governor of Arkansas in the 2018 election. On March 14, 2017, Bones announced he was not running. He frequently speaks about an aspiration to run for political office in the future on his show, further fueling such speculation.

Awards and honors

For four years running, from 2004 to 2008, Bones was named Best Radio Personality by the Austin Music Awards, presented by The Austin Chronicle and SXSW. The Bobby Bones Show also won Best Radio Program 2007–2008. On April 6, 2014, Bones, Amy and Lunchbox won their first Academy of Country Music Award for National On-Air Personality of the Year, just nine months into Bones's first year in country music. Bones became the youngest ever inductee into the National Radio Hall of Fame during a ceremony on November 2, 2017, at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots discography

Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
US Country
US Comedy
The Critics Give It 5 Stars
  • Release date: March 18, 2016
  • Label: Black River Entertainment
4 41 1 3
  • US: 12,700

Extended plays

Title Album details Peak chart positions

The Raging Kidiots: Kiddy Up
  • Release date: November 2, 2015
  • Label: Black River Entertainment
64 3 2
The Next Episode Release Date: August 18, 2017

Other charted songs

Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country Airplay
US Comedy Digital
2016 "We Can't Stand Each Other"
(with Carrie Underwood)
8 The Critics Give It 5 Stars
"Every Day Is a Good Day" 10
"Starbucks!" 14
"Fishin' with My Dad" 60 20
2017 Namaste 1 The Next Episode EP
2017 Chick-Fil-a (... But It's Sunday) 3 The Next Episode EP
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

Year Video Director
2016 "If I Was Your Boyfriend" Robert Chavers
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