10 Questions with ... Chris "Muttley" Stevens
April 12, 2016
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
First job was an AM/FM in Cameron, MO ... KMRN, 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, so 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 I lead 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) You were at KJML (Rock 107.1) for over eight years. What were some of the major highlights for you during your tenure there?
Most of the major highlights were the connections that I made with the listeners; it was truly incredible how the listeners and I became one big happy family. It was as if we all worked at the station, after that it was the people that I worked with; it was very much like family at KJML there and they will all be missed
4) Congrats on your new gig with Townsquare in Midland/Odessa. Give us a list of the stations and formats you'll be working with as OM?
KNFM ( Lonestar 92), which of course is Country; Rhythmic Top 40 KZBT (B93), Hot AC KODM (The New 97.9 Lite FM); KBAT (The Basins Real Rock Station) and KMND ESPN Radio.
5) You'll also be programming and doing afternoons on KBAT. How will you balance your time so both roles are effective?
Balance time? Is there such a thing? I find that if I just put my head down and go forward and hope there isn't a wall in front of me. Honestly, in the new world of radio most of us have been wearing multiple hats for so long that it's the norm.
6) Let's talk about KBAT ... the Basin's Real Rock. What kind of Active Rock station is it? How aggressive is the station with New Rock?
KBAT is a mix of core artists and new artists with it leaning a bit to the core artists that have made the format what it is today. That being said, being on top of new artists is vitally important to keep the format fresh. There are so many great new artists that are coming out of the genre, it takes a minute to get to all of them. That's why it's hard to believe that people say Rock is in a bad place. I don't think it's in a bad place; I just think there aren't enough programmers taking chances of some of the newer artists. I have always taken chances on new artists because without radio, how will anyone know what's out there and how can any band get a break? Wasn't that the whole point of radio to begin with?
7) Speaking of playing new 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. As long as I can introduce new bands to the audience, 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!
8) What's your take on current Active Rock music?
The Active Rock scene is struggling a bit to find its place in the world. I personally think it would be 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, Redlight King and amazing releases from the well-established artists like Fuel, Theory of a Deadman, Judas Priest and Godsmack to name a few. With variety it keeps the scene from sounding stale.
9) How much does KBAT use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the Rock 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
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 am a "sit on the couch and watch TV" guy, after that it's always about the music!