10 Questions with ... Leonard Barokas
January 23, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
As of now, I've been really lucky that I've been able to stay in Seattle for my entire radio career.
I started in 1988 working for KUBE 93 doing Promotions/weekend board-op/remote engineer and street guy. I was hired part-time and it eventually turned into a full time gig.
I left the KUBE in 1991 and started working at KPLZ doing Promotions/Production and Engineering. I also worked for our sister station KVI producing talk shows. Then, in 1994 I started producing for Kent & Alan. Last year marked my 20th year with the station.
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I have always loved radio, especially music radio. As a kid I would listen to all the Top 40 jocks on KJR-A and I wished I could be involved somehow. I kind of was... I was a bit of a prize pig and would win quite often. I knew radio was something I wanted to do when I grew up.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Of course Kent Phillips & Alan Budwill have both taught me so much. Casey Keating- Our former PD and "best voice-talent" bar none. Darryl "Truck" Rogers who got me into this crazy business.
3) What's it like working with Kent & Alan after all these years?
It's great! We really have a great time working together. I always say they are like my second family. We start the show laughing and end it ......laughing. Best job ever!
4) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
This was the 15th year I participated in an event our station does called "Bras Across Lake Washington." We collect bras from our listeners and I parasail (wrapped in the bras) between two floating bridges here in Seattle. We do this in October for breast cancer awareness month with hopes it will remind women to get their mammograms.
5) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
In my opinion, the most pressing issue facing radio today is the trend of non-broadcasters getting into broadcasting and running radio stations. As it's been said, "Radio used to be show business... now its just business."
6) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
Since I don't have any assistants, I start my day at 2 AM. I'm in the station by 3 AM. I have 2 1/2 hours to pour through show prep, websites and various newspapers. Many times I am on the phone with other producers on the East coast as well. It sounds like a long time but those 2 1/2 hours can be very intense... and the show hasn't even started!
7) Please tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
Believe it or not, I don't use an MP3 player! I'm old skool - I listen to CDs or the radio. I'm a HUGE Bon Jovi fan and have all their CD's. I'm also a diehard Top 40 listener. Right now, I love the new Pitt Bull & Chris Brown song "International Love" because it has a MONSTER hook. I also like Flo Rida's "Good Feeling".
8) Who is your best friend in the business?
9) What are your thoughts on the new season of American Idol?
I've been a big fan of the show for many years, but I thought the show "jumped the shark" a few years ago when they hired Ellen DeGeneres as a judge. I plan to give it another chance this year.
10) What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you? The worst?
I once had someone tell me early in my career that there was no room for me in this business. Fortunately, I didn't listen. The best?... Follow your dreams and you will succeed.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like spending time with my wife and my two kids.
What is your favorite TV show?
I try to keep up with all the shows that our listeners love. Shows like "American Idol," and "Dancing With The Stars." I also love "The Deadliest Catch," "Pawn Stars," and "Auction Hunters."
What is your favorite TV commercial?
The Capital-One commercial with the baby throwing cheerios at Jimmy Fallon. Would you like 50% more cash?
What's the closest you ever came to getting arrested for an on-air stunt? Or did you actually get arrested?
About five years ago during my annual "Bras Across Lake Washington" flight, the guy who was running the speed boat turned sharply and swung me directly over the SR520 floating bridge during rush hour. As you can imagine, it causing a HUGE back-up. The folks from the D.O.T called the station and threatened to have me arrested. Thankfully I smoothed things over with the Seattle Police and they let me go.