10 Questions with ... Bob Edwards & Johnny Dare
June 4, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Bob's checkered past:
- KLUV, Haynesville LA. '79-81
- KSPI, Stillwater OK. '82-86
- KATT, Oklahoma City, OK. '87-89
- WRXR, August, GA. '89-91 - (hey, I'm a PD now!)
- WQBK, Albany NY. '91 - (11 months and out - long story)
- KKLZ, Las Vegas NV. '92-94
- WZZU, Raleigh, NC. '94-95
- WRDU, Raleigh, NC. '96-2003
- KQRC, Kansas City, KS. 2003-present
Longest term/shortest resume in radio -- 20 years at the same station. Not really sure how we got here, one day I'm a paramedic knee deep in guts and junkies off 18th and Quindaro the next I'm interviewing Ozzy..
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Bob: First job in radio was KLUV Haynesville, LA. Moved there at the age of 15 when my father got into the oil business. I went to the local AM radio station and asked for a job. Was hired on the spot for the minimum wage of $3.35 an hour and was told, "when you want a raise, call your goddamn congressman." I was off and running in radio....
Early influence was Wolfman Jack. Listened to him on Armed Forces Radio every day in grade school when my father was stationed in Germany. Wolfman gave me the fascination for radio.
Johnny: The Rock is truly my first full-time job in radio, I interned at Z-rock KCMO with Gregg, my producer now (we worked at record stores and skateboard shops together previously) He got a job as a board op and since I was working 24 hours on then 48 hours off, I had time to hang. Early influences include Randy Miller, Roger Carson and most importantly, the late Doug Sorenson.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
Bob: Since listening to Wolfman Jack as a kid, I always wanted to get into radio and never entertained other ideas. I'm not sure if choosing a career in second grade is something I would recommend to others.
Johnny: I actually realized my defining moment while telling a story from high school: A few weeks before the end of my senior year I decided I would ride a moped through the lunch room during lunch, then a friend dared me to do it naked. Let's just say I wasn't as fast as I thought. When the vice-principal choke slammed me off the scooter, pulled the ski mask off my face and a HUGE roar of approval came from the lunch room my fate was sealed. Whaaaa? Ridiculous acts of stupidity = love and attention?! I now realize I was doomed at that moment.
3) Johnny, how long have you been at KQRC and what makes this station so unique?
Twenty years in August, It's an easy formula that is incredibly hard to adhere to; do the right thing for the listeners, remember you are only there for them. If everyone in programming and sales play by the same rules you WILL have ratings. Today's stock-driven companies are really struggling to remember the golden rule. It's about honesty with yourself and your listeners.
4) Bob, how long have you been at KQRC and what makes this station so unique?
I've been at KQRC for 10 years. What makes the station unique is our relationship with the listeners. KQRC's founding PD, the late Doug Sorenson, started the station with a commitment to serve the listener, being connected at eye level, and never bullshitting them. The station has always had the philosophy of treating the listener as an equal, serving the community, and making sure they know that we are truly one of them.
5) Johnny, you have long been considered the host of KQRC's Rockfest. This year marked the 21st annual event....how did your role in this massive festival come about?
I'm sure I somehow wedged myself into the role due to a massive complex formed from inattentive parents and lackluster childhood. (never had a birthday party)
6) Bob, give us your take on Rockfest from a Programmer's perspective. What do you do to enhance your station programming before, during and after the event?
Rockfest has become such a huge event in the city and region; it has a way of taking over the station. No other promotions really cut through when the Rockfest promotion is on. We make an effort to make sure the audience is familiar with all bands playing the show, which goes beyond airplay, and includes on-air artist interviews and extensive digital artist profiles. We also make an effort to let our listeners evangelize the show with testimonial promos, phoners, and soliciting feedback on all aspects of Rockfest.
7) Can you both give us some of your most memorable moments from the last 21 Rockfests?
Johnny: There are two, first being "MUDFEST 2010" It rained for two weeks straight into the event. We were all so depressed and bummed because the show was sold out and built out in the middle of Liberty Memorial Park, so there wasn't anything we could do to make it suck less. About 55,000 kids just rolled with it, muddy half-naked people sliding face first down two-story hills that previously were a couple acres of grass. Nothing but muddy, smiling listeners and the worst press we ever received. The second was watching Shinedown go from opening the second stage to headlining and shooting the video for Unity in 2012.
Bob: The first time I looked off the main stage and saw 55,000 screaming fans was a moment I'll never forget. We've been fortunate to see that view over many years and it's still just as breathtaking. I've taken great pleasure in watching artists develop over the years. Shinedown played the second stage as a baby band in 2003. In 2012, they headlined the entire event. I was so proud of their accomplishment. Halestorm played the show years before their debut release and were so young they referred to me as "Mr. Edwards" when they played the show. That was seven years ago. In 2013 they killed it on the main stage and joked about their Grammy! I love watching artists grow.
8) You had another impressive Rock lineup for this year's event. What were some of the most memorable moments for you from Rockfest 2013?
Johnny: Bands like Heavens Basement are always great to see early in their career, but Sevendust, Halestorm and the mighty Volbeat were fucking amazing.
Bob: First off, we had the perfect day -- sunny, 68 degrees, without a cloud in the sky. Memorable moments include watching the audience be completely captivated by Volbeat; seeing Sevendust at their best yet; Lizzy Hale's duet with David Draiman of Device on Close My Eyes Forever was huge; and Papa Roach and Killswitch Engage split our most-energetic performance award. Just a fantastic day all the way around. Keep an eye on Heaven's Basement, our second stage opener has real potential!
9) Johnny ... how did this year's event stack up against previous ones? Can you give us some final attendance figures?
We did great this year, scared because it kept snowing in the Midwest up until seven days before we opened the gates ... last number I heard was right at 55,000 through the doors.
10) Bob...if a Rock station today wants to put on their own festival, what is the best advice you can give them?
Find an expert to partner with! It's so easy to lose an incredible amount of money with a large festival if you don't know what you're doing. Our excellent partner is Joe Litvag of AEG Live. The expertise AEG. brings to the table is invaluable. Secondly, have realistic goals. Growing a festival is just that ... growing a festival. Your big success takes years to build. Have a five-year plan to start with and make sure all efforts are pointed toward that five-year goal. If you try to knock it out of the park year one, you're likely to be disappointed. Finally, remember it's a listener appreciation show. Price accordingly to get credit with your audience and put yourself in a position for long-term success.
Bob...You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
- Rush - Moving Pictures
- Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness
- Metallica - Master of Puppets
- Stone Sour - Come Whatever May
- AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Johnny....what do you like to do to relax when you're not playing morning radio guy?
I just bought a flame thrower from www.flamethrowerplans.com so that's been pretty entertaining for my neighbors. (You think I'm kidding; I assure you I'm not.)