10 Questions with ... Bobby Bones
March 10, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- At age 17, I started working at 105.9 KLAZ in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
- 2002 - I was hired by Q100/KQAR in Little Rock, Ark., and The Bobby Bones Night Show was born.
- 2003 - I joined 96.7 KISS FM in Austin to launch The Bobby Bones Show. I started out hosting evenings, and later moved to mornings.
- 2011 - Premiere Networks began syndicating The Bobby Bones Show on 20 CHR stations.
- 2012 - I joined FOX Sports Radio to host a weekly national sports talk program with Andy Roddick, which is currently heard on nearly 300 radio stations.
- 2013 - The Bobby Bones Show transitioned to a country format based at WSIX in Nashville, and launched nationwide on 35 country stations on February 25.
1) Congratulations on your new syndicated Country morning show! How are things going so far? How are you adjusting to life in Nashville?
Things are finally moving. It felt almost snail like for a couple of months before we got started. Now it's going 100 mph. Nashville is a lot like Austin, just a little colder, and a little more Country. I'm adjusting fine, though - both are awesome cities.
2) You have made the transition from hosting a well-known Top 40 show, to a brand new Country show. What have been some of the challenges with both changing formats, and catering to a new audience who may have never heard of you?
With my last show, I felt like I was talking to a new audience every day who had never heard of me. We were adding cities at a pretty good pace, so I always felt like I had new listeners to try to win over. It feels the same with my Country show. Every time I'm on the air, someone new is listening.
The changes have been very few. Obviously, the music and the artists are different, but we are the same people. The format is great - everyone is nicer, the artists are more accommodating, and having grown up on Country music, it's kind of cool to be back where I started.
3) You have a team of 6 staffers for "The Bobby Bones Show," including yourself, co-hosts Amy and Lunchbox, Assistant Producer Ray, Executive Producer Alayna and former Television Producer Eddie. Moving everyone from Austin to Nashville must have been a hard decision. Was everybody initially on board with the move and the format change? Do you personally feel any pressure to do well, for their sake?
The decision was actually very easy. We all love Country music and are best friends. We all thought the challenge seemed awesome. There wasn't a single person who was teetering on NOT coming.
That being said, of course I feel pressure, but it's a constant pressure to win - not for anyone specific, but for all of us. I want to be #1 in every demo, every book, and if I'm not, I won't be satisfied. I love competing - it's one of my favorite parts of radio - and seeing who can do the best show. I can't play ball anymore, so I keep my competitive spirit through my morning show.
4) Give us the "behind-the-scenes" scoop on how the new Country version of "The Bobby Bones Show" came about. Who started the initial conversations to change formats and create this new show? Were you (or they) immediately on board with the idea
There have been a lot of people involved in the move of the show. I feel like if I list instrumental people, I'll forget someone and feel like a jerk. Let's just say that some really influential people have stuck their neck out for me, and I am totally grateful. I was immediately on board!
5) Your show skews to a younger demographic than some traditional Country stations. What do you feel is one benefit and one drawback of that?
There isn't anything traditional about our show, other than the fact that we love and play Country music. We are trying something a little different, and we invite all ages to listen.
6) In addition to mornings, you're hosting a top 30 countdown weekend show. On what basis are those top 30 songs chosen? Do your personal tastes have any influence over the countdown each week?
The countdown show is going to be awesome - it will launch in over 100 cities and some of the biggest stars have already offered their services. I just finished recording with Brad Paisley for the first show! It's four hours, but only a top 30 countdown. We could have easily done a top 40, but we wanted to add some personality to the show, do some fun benchmarks and have more fun with the guests. It will be the Top 30 songs of the week, but much, much more. It's almost like we have an extra hour to simply entertain!
7) You grew up in Arkansas and were raised by your grandmother. What kind of music was floating through your house as a child, and how did that environment influence your musical preferences?
My grandmother and mother took turns raising me as a kid. Because of that, my musical influences early on were very different. With my grandmother, it was a lot of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and even country old school guys like Hank Sr., Johnny Horton and Johnny Cash. With my mom, it was The Police, Led Zeppelin, and a lot of The Judds.
8) Quick! Aside from getting the call to move to Nashville, what is ONE day that has happened within your career, that stands out among all the others, and why?
Co-hosting LIVE! with Kelly Ripa. If that didn't happen, about 100 other things wouldn't have happened to me in the last year.
9) How would you respond to any listeners that may be upset because your show has replaced their favorite local morning show? How do you personally feel about replacing those jocks?
Growing up, I hated when my favorite morning show changed. I used to listen to Tommy Smith and Big Dave on Magic 105. I thought they were the coolest guys ever. Then Big Dave was gone. Then Tommy was gone. I was pissed, but eventually I found something else that entertained me and I got over it. I want to be what entertains them now. I understand new shows/voices aren't popular, but I'm going to work as hard as I can to NOT be a new show/voice to them.
I hate that anyone has to lose their job. Regardless of the industry, I don't think you'll find anyone who answers that question any differently. I'm also grateful to be able to give it a run on a lot of different radio stations. I don't program locally, so I let those guys make those decisions, but I'm focused on doing the best job I can. I also love that a lot of the guys who were on in the morning are now on in the afternoon on the same station. It makes the stations even stronger!
Just a couple examples are Catfish in Tampa, and Mason and Remy in St. Louis. Both shows are awesome!
10) What advice, guidance or resources can you recommend to a radio personality who may dream of creating their own syndicated show?
My road to syndication was different than others. Mine started with a Comrex box that cost about $1,500 dollars and a GM in Wichita, KS, who was willing to take a chance on a 25-year-old kid with ratings success in one mid-sized market. It's crazy to think back how lucky I was.
My advice? Not that it's worth anything, is win locally. Beg to be added into a couple smaller places regionally. Win. Win. Win. Know who the decision makers are and be sure to let them know your goals.
1) How did you get the name, "Bobby Bones?"
I think it's a dumb name. It was forced on me at my first radio station and I never shook it. It sounds like a pirate or porn star.
2) If you were not working in radio, what career path would you have taken?
I probably would have been a stand-up comic or a comedy writer for a TV show, maybe an actor.