10 Questions with ... Chris Chaos
November 24, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) What was your first job in radio and early influences?
It was the late '70s and the PD, Peter Parker was a super-cool hipster, so was the MD Steve Feldman and Prod Dir. Brian Sullivan and my HS Counselor/Science teacher, Ulysses "ULI" Gallman. I ended up volunteering/working as a non-student on-air with three shows a week at a student-run radio station at WRIU/Kingston-Providence at the age of 15. Apparently, I was the first fired, too.
I shifted to covering AM news in a make-shift chicken coop trailer covering Monday night town hall meetings as a radio station reporter. The owner's son was a Dead Head ... so hanging after hours to spend extra time editing various actualities and typing cart labels was always hysterical. I was the guy who showed up and listened ... and the afternoon DJ called in sick one day and the owner asked me if I wanted to play a few records live and fill in. Duh! That was the beginning! I started with an FM Prov Jazz station FT overnights, then to Northern New England to learn my craft. I cut my teeth at 100kw powerhouse 105/TOS MD, middays, weekends at Hot AC WZPK 1037 weekends and WKCG, Maine's Country giant, nights 7p-12mid.
***Chaos note. Please pass the Grey Goose ... I'm getting thirsty ... and can we dim the lights a tad?
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it?"
I grew up listening to a clock radio, always wanting to be a DJ. At age 10 I was DJ'ing neighborhood summer dances for $20 and continued to different neighborhoods, which turned to weekend gigs. Since I didn't dance, and was shy when it came to girls ... (I was the skinny, glasses type...) I quickly learned girls came to YOU when they wanted to hear a song ... some hung around ... then more and ... well ... that was the beginning!
When I was 8, my parents bought me a little mini-reel to reel and cassette recorder. I wanted to be on the radio so bad I recorded my favorite songs, sold newspapers door to door for extra money to buy the 45s and put together my own weekly top 10 show in my bedroom. I mimicked my favorite DJs, like Howard Hoffman at 92 Pro FM, Howard Stern at WNBC NY, Dave Richards at WRX Prov, Lou Brutus & Rick O'B at WHJY Prov. Transposed the recorded audio to paper and played the same song ... read it ... over and over and over and over ... till I nailed it ... then to the next song ... and so on ... added my personality and ta-da!
My HS Counselor was a DJ ... played all our HS dances and mentored me. Got me to talk to Dr. Paul Yazel, the Professor Of Broadcasting at the University Of Rhode Island to get a jump start to get on the air. He told me I'd need a FCC license to even be considered legal to be on the air After studying, and my Dad driving me to Boston to take a FCC 3rd class radio/telephone Operators Broadcast license (ya had to do it back then, elements 1,2 and 9 ... who else remembers?), I passed and when it was officially stamped, I brought it to the 3,700-watt FM local university radio station, WRIU for RI University.
3) You recently did afternoons for WRCG Classic Rock 105.5 and WKCN 1069 Really Rocks/Columbus, GA, where you won the Columbus Ledger's prestigious Readers Choice poll for best DJ, the first rock DJ to win that award in more than 40 years. Tell us why the readers voted for you...
I asked them too.
4) Congrats on your new position as PD for Rock WGBF (93.5 The Bar) and Classic Hits WYGC (104.9 Wow FM). Tell us a little about each station and how they are doing in the West Palm Beach market?
Thanks! Friday the 13th, The Bar flipped from Mainstream to Active Rock. The station is new with a ton of upside. The Bar promo and on-air teams and sales have partnered and are very well received everywhere! From the banks to beaches, everyone's cars and all the bars.
5) Bubba The Love Sponge does mornings for WGBF. Being an institution in the state of Florida, how has he performed for 93.5 The Bar?
He's so busy kickin' ass, he doesn't slow down to take names -- Bubba gets initials! I love Bubba! He is the real deal, extremely hard working and loyal ... sometimes, too loyal, but I congratulate him on his success in restoring real Talk terrestrial radio. His show is controversial ... so what, so is Facebook. He's an innovator. Highly talented and unique. He's very popular in Florida. Bubba's commitment to fallen police officers' families is sincere, and the Palm Beach County embraces and backs him, his staff and guests.
6) You're also doing a shift on 104.9 Wow FM. I know you love being on the air, but how do you find time to do that and effectively program two radio stations?
Well, I'm also on my former alma-mater, 1069 Rocks in Columbus, GA, or will be tackling all three very soon -- we're aiming for the first week or two in December.
I enjoy staying busy. I own a 15-bed tan salon and help promote roller derby events, concerts and community fundraisers. As Santa Chaos for my 9th year, we will lead Abate District 9 Toys 4 Tots Motorcycle Parade for Valley Rescue Mission who will distribute the toys to kids this Christmas. It's Dec. 8th. We usually draw 800 bikes minimum every year; that's a few truckloads of toys for kids.
I'll stay active in the MC communities in Florida as well.
7) There are different definitions today for the mainstream Rock format, but how would you describe the music and format of 93.5 The Bar?
We play what our listeners want to hear -- cool rock music. Classic and core format artists. New Rock, Alternative, '80s Metal, '90s Grunge and not heavy or too classic for too long ... the '90s and '00s were very good to us!
We are Rock & Roll hybrid of Beach & Bar Rock. Everything from 311, DMB and Marley to Social D, Stabbing Westward, Korn, NIN, Aerosmith and Arctic Monkeys to Zac Brown.
8) How much do you use social media like Facebook and Twitter for both stations to help enhance your marketing footprint in the West Palm Beach market?
Lots And growing! Our sponsors are seeing results. That is all!
9) Is your last name really Chaos? If not, how did that awesome radio name come about ... and do you live up to that description?
Chaos was given to me in Ft. Myers by Hurricane Shane, my PD, and GM Swingin Dick Tyler! LOL. If I recall, and it is a tad blurry, I filled in for Hurricane's afternoons on Rock 106 while he took an over needed vacay, I got wind of the cross-street DJ getting fired for sexual harassment and called him on the air, offering him a few embellished options taken from the daily paper. Swingin, called Hurricane on day two of his vacation. Apparently, the guy's brother was a lawyer ... when I called the fired DJ, the outgoing answering machine voice message was his Mommy's voice ... the lawsuits charged me with airing a public official's voice and/or likeness without prior knowledge or consent. Apparently, she was the Mayor! And so it began ... Hurricane & Swingin' offered me F/T afternoon drive and gave me the name ... Chris CHAOS. The struggle is real. LLOLol.
10) You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
One is a MIX rock CD of all my favorite industrial, alternative, classic and mainstream rock -- Seether, Isolate and Medicate; The Pretty Reckless, Going To Hell; Aerosmith Live Bootleg; Steely Dan Greatest Hits; this new Nothing More CD and Beatles, Revolver.
Oh, and I believe in more breast feeding and less powdered milk ... get that in there somewhere!