Bob Kingsley

Bob Kingsley, a staple of country radio for more than 45 years, has been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The host of “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40” broke the news in a heartfelt letter posted on his website Wednesday, explaining that he is stepping away from his syndicated weekend countdown show to receive treatment.

“I have always prided myself in delivering the truth to you—my friends in the Country music industry, my fellow radio broadcasters, and all of the loyal listeners around the world—and today, well, today the truth does not come in the form of a story behind the song, or anything else, but in the reality of what is going on with yours truly,” Kingsley wrote. “While there is no doubt that the immediate road ahead will push me and challenge my resolve, I want you to know I am blessed to be working with the very best in the medical profession, and they have a plan to deal with this awful disease.”

Insisting he has “no intention of stopping anytime soon,” Kingsley said he and partners KCCS Productions and Westwood One have been working on a concept tied to this year’s CMA Awards, one he hoped to have been part of over the next several weeks. “That, however, is not going to be possible, but I am looking forward to hearing it from the other side of the speakers,” he said.

In a separate announcement Wednesday, the Kingsley show said it will spotlight female voices in the format, with a hit-making female artist taking a turn behind Kingsley’s mic each week, beginning the weekend of Oct. 12-13 and running through Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Artists confirmed to guest host during this period include Trisha Yearwood, Kimberly Schlapman & Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, and Martina McBride. In a partnership with the Country Music Association, each guest artist will play their big hits, songs from their new albums, their favorite songs either performed or written by females, and each week’s Milestone segment will spotlight CMA Female Vocalist nominees and winners through the years.

“You know friends, I’ve made a career out of #1s, and right now my #1 goal is getting back on the air to create more memories we’ll all be able to share, surrounded by the music we all love,” Kingsley added. “I thank you in advance for the prayers and well wishes…they mean more to me than you could ever know.”