10 Questions with ... Chris "Muttley" Stevens
July 8, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Radio Career - KMRN/1995, KAAN/1996, KWTO/1996, KKJO/1997, KXDG/1999, KCFX 2001, WZNX/2002, KJML/2004, KCFX/2009, WRXW/2010, KJML 2012
1. What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
First job was KMRN, an AM/FM in Cameron, oh so long ago! I don't know if there were any influences per se; my love has always been music and all there is that goes along with that, so the logical step was to head to radio where I could essentially be around music 24 hours a day. That being said, my influences were more from the stations I grew up around in Kansas City -- KYYS (KY-102) when it was an AOR format, KCFX and of course, KQRC.
2. What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I caught the radio bug when a very good friend of mine -- Wes Jeffries, formerly middays at KQRC -- would invite me into the inner sanctum of the industry and from my brush with that, it led into an almost obsession with becoming a part of the madness. There was no defining moment that made me say, Hey, this is it, it sort of just came to me, almost gradually, like a rash!
3. How long have you been at KJML (Rock 107.1) and what makes this station so unique?
Total time at KJML has been a little over eight years; what makes the station unique is its ability to be on the cutting edge of music and breaking new artists something that many larger-market Rock stations across the country are not able to do in the current environment.
4. You have the dual role as PD and afternoon-drive host ... how do you balance your time so both roles are effective?
I have time to balance? Ask my wife she will let you know how this works!
5. Rock 107.1 plays a healthy amount of current rock. Approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
Honestly in my world, it is 100% gut! As a listener first, if I don't feel it, it doesn't happen, this is especially true with the up-and-coming artists. What's the worst thing that would happen if a song doesn't react? You pull it, but the ability to add new music is what this industry was based on and as long as I can introduce new bands to the audience, then I will ... cliché, I know, but isn't that how the industry used to be? If you don't know the format you're on or if you have to spend weeks researching and analyzing all the variables, maybe you need to reevaluate what you're doing, Rock music is emotional and if it feels good from the inside of your soul, then BOOM ... that's it!
6. What's your take on current Active Rock music? Is it as good as six months or a year ago, better, or about the same?
The Active Rock scene is struggling a bit to find its place in the world. I personally think it would be a much stronger format if more chances were being taken on up-and-coming bands and not simply relying on the hitmakers in the genre to turn things around. Is the genre better than six months ago? I say YES, there is certainly a more diverse group of artists that are making their way to radio. The variety of sound is better, everything from Avenged Sevenfold, All That Remains, The Pretty Reckless and Redlight King to amazing releases from the well-established artists such as Fuel, Theory of a Deadman, Judas Priest and Godsmack to name a few. Variety keeps the scene from sounding stale.
7. KJML has a reputation as a "tastemaker" station ... especially when it comes to playing new Rock music. How do you balance the new current rock and library music that so it doesn't adversely affect the station's cume and TSL?
I try to ease the new music into the library but my philosophy has always been simple -- if I believe the song is strong enough, new or old, it will at minimum get its shot and will never get buried in an overnight clock. I don't concentrate so much on the cume or TSL; I figure that if I am doing my job presenting good music, it will always fall into place ... so far so good!
8. How much does KJML use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the Rock 107.1 experience with its listeners?
Like every station everywhere, Facebook and Twitter are critical to communicating to the listeners. The one thing we do is spend time conversing with people on our Facebook page. For us it's more than just an outlet to promote what the station has going on, it's a way for my staff to communicate with the audience on a level that puts us all on the same page. Then we become a part of their lives and we all become a sort of dysfunctional family
9. What are your three favorite artists or songs of this past year and why?
- Heaven's Basement, "Fire, Fire" ... the groove is really amazing any song that will immediately make you want to buy an album is a keeper.
- Pearl Jam, "Lightning Bolt" ... Hey, it's Pearl Jam, a great stripped-down vintage Pearl Jam tune.
- Redlight King, "Times Are Hard" ... One of those lyric songs that make you think and reflect on past and future and true standout.
10. Finally, where did the nickname "Muttley" come from and what does it all mean?
My nickname, ha! I was named by listeners -- after the sidekick on the Dick Dastardly cartoon ... you know, Muttley, ... maybe it was due to a snickering laugh I have?
What do you like to do for fun when you're not in your "radio" mode?
When not in radio mode, first off it's family time, then it's Top Gear UK, Finding Bigfoot and The Walking Dead. I'm a "sit on the couch and watch TV" guy ... after that it's always about the music!
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
- Ozzy - "Live and Loud"
- Journey - "Escape"
- Metallica - "Master of Puppets"
- Judas Priest - "Screaming For Vengeance"
- Steel Panther - "All You Can Eat"