For over fifty years, Bobby Aro entertained residents of Northern Minnesota with his radio shows, his band, "the Ranch-Aros", and his recordings. His records were not only popular in Northern Minnesota, but in the 1960s and 1970s, he had a large Finnish-American fan base from Ashtabula, Ohio, throughout Michigan and Wisconsin and reaching west to Astoria, Oregon. Bobby Aro used a strong "Finn-glish" accent on his recordings, and on one record he sang, "I'm not Finnish, but my English teacher was." His most popular song was probably "Highway #7." The contemporary Finnish-American-Reggae band, Conga Se Menne, even pays tribute to Bobby Aro by mentioning Highway #7 in one of their songs.
Aro, born and raised in Zim, MN, went to school at the Radio Institute of Chicago and became a radio station music director and announcer in Borger, Texas for a year before going back to Chicago to be on radio, TV, and in clubs there.
After a number of years Aro returned to northern Minnesota and became associated with the Arrowhead Network Stations. He stayed with them for nine years, becoming program director for the combined operations of WHLB, Virginia, and WMFG, Hibbing. He also established a recording company, Aro Records, and with his band, the Ranch-Aros, produced several hit songs including "Highway #7." and "I'm not Finnish, but my English teacher was." Aro wrote and recorded "Highway #7." in 1957, and it became a million seller. His recordings and albums sold well in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In 1959, Bobby joined WEVE in Eveleth and starred in the Bobby Aro Show on Saturdays. Aro's show went from 30 minutes to five hours, and he continued with his show and performances around the region for decades. He died on Jan. 19, 1996.
On August 16, 2008, the St. Louis County Board designated County State Aid Highway No. 7 from State Trunk Highway No. 53 in Twig, MN to State Trunk Highway No. 169 in Mt. Iron, MN as the "Bobby Aro Memorial Highway."