Former WTVO-17 Sportscaster Bob Louis has died at the age of 86 after a lengthy illness according to members of his family. A service for friends and family will be held in the Rockford area at a date and time to be determined.
Louis began his journalism career while serving in the military during the Korean war working stateside for the Armed Services Radio Network. It would be the start of a 34 year career in journalism which would include several years as the main evening Sports Anchor at WTVO.
Louis’s career spanned a time of revolutionary growth and change in local television news and sports coverage. He went from covering sports in black and white using a film camera to the era of videotape in color. When he began at WTVO, anchors stood behind podiums instead of sitting at desks, and often appeared as pitchmen in commercials for local companies.
Through it all, Louis had a reputation for making the difficult look easy. His family notes in his obituary that his nickname was ‘One Take Bob’ for his ability to need only one take for whatever the task, whether it be doing a commercial or voicing a sports story.
An article in the ‘Rockford Morning Star’ in 1971 tells of his ability to change clothes minutes before a newscast and deliver the sports flawlessly dressed in tennis shoes unseen by viewers that he did not have time to change before the program.
The brief article also talks about how Louis used method acting techniques to create a special atmosphere for his sportscasts, a type of approach which was often necessary for some television anchors at the time because it was in the era before TelePrompTers.
Bob Louis is survived by three sons and a step-daughter, seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren according to his family members.