10 Questions with ... Rob Brothers "Swami Rob"
January 11, 2011
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
My first job in radio is the one I still have today, KZRR/Albuquerque. That's an anomaly in the radio business. I was influenced by guys like Jim Rome, Scott Furrell, JT the Brick and a lot of Sports Talk guys. There were a lot of jocks at the Zoo in Dallas that I enjoyed listening to when I went to college in Denton, but I can't recall any of their names now. TJ Trout, 94 Rock Morning Show host since 1986, was a HUGE influence. I used to listen to his show all the time before I came aboard as an intern in '96. Now, I'm one of his sidekicks. That's pretty cool.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I got my job through an internship program at the University of New Mexico. I'd say the "this is it" moment for me was when I realized I was flying the ship solo. My first air shift wasn't a team effort, and I really got a rush out of having no one to rely on but myself. I was paralyzed with fear, and my first air shift SUCKED. But, it was still a rush ... and I knew I wanted more.
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Yes and no. I wish I'd have had the foresight to know big technological changes were coming when I started in 1996. I would have done a better job of getting familiar with newer technology as it developed instead of always catching up. I might have done a better job of giving myself an "exit strategy" while I was still young enough to have some motivation. I'm not a big fan of always sweating job security, but that comes with the territory in radio. I wouldn't trade the best parts of my job for anything, though, so I guess I'd answer yes to the question ultimately.
4) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Albuquerque likes to rock pretty hard. A lot of the "Big Hair" '80s rock has never gone out of style here. You'll never hear Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, and bands like that in too many other markets. I grew up with that stuff, and I understand it and know it intimately. This market still gets a charge out of hearing a lot of that era. We're also not afraid to play old school Metallica in the middle of the day, either. I have had voicetracking gigs in six other markets, including Denver and El Paso, and you never hear any of that or see any of it on the music logs at any other stations but ours.
5) How have the recent FCC regulations impacted the way you program your music and the station's dialogue on the air? What are your feelings about these recent changes?
We have been affected insofar as we don't get away with as much as we used to when I started. We weren't afforded a learning curve on the changes, either. There is a very close eye kept on song lyrics; edits are commonplace now, where they weren't so much in the late '90s. What we do on the 94 Rock Morning Show has changed a bit due to the regulations as well. Some of the old bits won't fly at all anymore, and we're constantly mindful of what we're doing in regards to going over the line. We used to have a "Big O" contest on our morning show, where the girl who gives us the best orgasm (vocally) on the air won big prizes. We got some good ones, including a mother and daughter combo (which actually made us squirm a little at the time), but that's history now.
Clear Channel does an excellent job of keeping us more than informed of what's acceptable and what's not. There's really no gray area. My feelings on the changes remain the same as the always have: If you don't like what we're doing, you don't have to listen to us. We're not for everybody. Your 12-year-old son probably shouldn't be listening to us most of the time. Instead of crusading, I suggest you move on down the dial. That's just my personal take, and I'd never be foolish enough to think anybody in power would share that sentiment with me.
6) What can we be doing with our station websites to better our stations as a whole?
It's really important to make sure that when you're going to talk about something on the air that day, be it a sports story, a human interest story, or anything along those lines, there should be web content to go with it. If you're talking about some incredible half-court shot from the night before, post the video. If you're talking about the latest Megan Fox pictures in Maxim Magazine, put a link to those pictures. And the key is to do it before you start talking about it. Nobody's going to go to your page if you're telling them you'll post the material later. It needs to be there already. And again, the local aspect is vital. It's important to include as much local content as possible.
7) What is your favorite radio station outside of the market and why?
94.3 KILO in Colorado Springs. Their music is spot-on as far as I'm concerned. They do a great job of mixing new with the old, and their talent is always strong, too. KILO freakin' rocks ... period.
8) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff?
Uncle Nasty, 106.7 KBPI in Denver. He's great. Killer pipes, great sense of humor, and always knows what's compelling. I make a point of tuning in his show every time I'm in the Denver area, and sometimes I will check him out on the Net, too.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
If there's something you take a particular interest in and really care about, try not to dwell on it. Ninety percent of your listening audience probably doesn't share your enthusiasm for the topic.
10) Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
Sports Talk, hands down. I probably spend 90% of my listening time on that format. I was listening to that format when it wasn't so prevalent or as cool as it is today