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After 36 years, Bob Melrose signs off

After more than three decades of live radio news and his signature squeaky tennis shoes, old-school KCBS reporter Bob Melrose has retired his Sony tape recorder.

Melrose, who has been a KCBS 740 fixture for 36 years, announced Thursday he was retiring.

The news radio vet — who former Oakland Raiders head coach John Madden compared to “a lineman on the gridiron” — has covered anything and everything in his career.

Melrose built his reputation on being the first reporter on the scene, with truth to the rumor that he slept with a police scanner to make sure he never missed anything.

Dedication? You bet.

“He truly personifies the old-time newsman,” KTVU reporter Rita Williams told CBS San Francisco.

Williams would know. She shared an office with him for 20 years at the Hall of Justice press room. “They used to call us the Odd Couple,” Williams recounts. The two even covered the last gas chamber execution at San Quentin together.

The San Jose State University grad worked for a handful of small radio stations before landing at KCBS in the mid-1970s. Mel — as his close colleagues call him — became well-revered for being the first reporter on the scene, shocking “frantic editors who didn’t realize they already had a reporter on scene.”

When asked what his first plans for retirement were, Melrose said that he planned to do some traveling.

And probably without the scanner or tape recorder.

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