A longtime sports anchor for WLTX-19 is receiving hospice care after an 18-month long battle with cancer.
Bob Shields, 58, who was the station’s sports director for 30 years, had been receiving chemotherapy and radiation since a diagnosis of a cancerous tumor behind his eye, but doctors recently took him off treatment and returned him to his home, according to a longtime friend of Shields.
“Physically he’s not, obviously, doing fantastic. Basically, the doctors have told him that there’s nothing else they can do,” said Benji Norton, a longtime friend of Shields’ who hosted a radio show with him from 2007 to 2016 called Early Game.
Despite Shields’ physical state, his mind is still healthy, Norton said.
“His mind is sharp as a tack. I was really surprised by that,” Norton said. “He was singing songs and all the lyrics were right, we were messing around with that, bringing up sports things — things you would have to think a little bit to remember.”
Shortly after graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1981, he started working at WLTX. Two years later, he was promoted to sports director, said WLTX general manager and president Rich O’Dell.
“Bob is one of the most loved people who have worked here at WLTX. Not just here, but in the community,” O’Dell said.
Shields is a decorated reporter, who won the South Carolina Broadcasting Association’s award for Sportscaster of the Year three years in a row, 1995-1997, according to a 2010 news release from WLTX.
“He would do shows. He would bring in marching bands and players. It really was the thing to watch,” O’Dell said.
But perhaps Shields’ most enduring contribution to the Midlands was his founding of the Player of the Week series, which is still running.
A 2009 article from The State referred to him as a “local sports history guru.” He left WLTX in May 2010 citing personal and professional reasons.
Shields didn’t just talk about sports. He was pretty dangerous on the golf course. In 1993, a columnist for The State was golfing with him and said Shields hit a 301-yard drive straight down the middle of the fairway.
After his broadcast career, he worked in a career management firm, Life Careers, and later as the director of Caughman-Harman Funeral Home, according to a 2014 article from Free Times.
“I’m never home for family dinners,” Shields told The State in 2010. when his children were 10 and 13. “We know what teenagers are capable of. We went through it, and dad needs to be in the house.”