10 Questions with ... Bobby Bones
January 3, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
At 17, I was hired to switch out the Rick Dees countdown CD at my hometown radio station (KLAZ 105.9) in Hot Springs, AR. Before my first show, some people were fired for theft, and I was thrown on the air before my first "Rick Dees" shift.
I did weekends (Sat. and Sunday night) for about nine months. I really looked up to our night guy at the time, Kramer (currently on CC stations doing nights across the country). He showed me that I didn't have to talk like a DJ.
Funny story about Kramer ... I would e-mail him when I was 15-16 years old, asking about being in radio. He replied every single time and still to this day I think back about that and appreciate it tons.
After nine months of doing weekends, I moved into nights at KLAZ and did that for three more years until I graduated college. I arrived here as the night jock eight years ago.
1) Your morning empire appears to be spreading. Care to share details?
We are on currently in Austin, TX; Wichita, KS; Lubbock, TX; Amarillo, TX; Augusta, GA; Tuscaloosa, AL; and Waco, TX . And we're about to be added to a few more! It's been really great being picked up by Premiere Radio Networks. Whereas I would have to hustle to make all the calls to get our show picked up, I now have a team of people who actually know what they are doing making those calls.
I also just signed a network deal with Fox Sports Radio to host a national sports show with one of my best friends, (tennis star) Andy Roddick. That show launches on January 7th. Shout-out to Don Martin for letting a couple buddies who love sports get on the air and try something we had never done before ... host a national sports radio show.
...but still a highlight of my life was hosting Regis and Kelly!
2) Run down the players on your show. What skills do they bring to the table?
I have a great group of friends who I work with every morning. And I don't use the word "friend" loosely. None of these guys had worked in radio before I found them. I was already buddies with them all! Or had spent some time with them and knew them as people before they were in radio.
Obviously, I'm biased here...
Amy is the best female I've ever heard on air. She is so sincere, natural, and likeable. She is very passionate about her faith. She is also quite funny.
Lunchbox is loud, obnoxious, talks funny and is hilarious. He's been with me the longest and is pretty much the exact opposite of Amy. He isn't sincere, he doesn't care about people other than himself, and he doesn't care about yours or anyone else's faith.
Carlos and Alayna are my producers. Both have been with me five years. Carlos doesn't speak often and when he does, it's hard to understand him. Alayna pretty much manages the show and likes to date men and women.
It's a pretty odd, but fun group. We're all between 25-30 years old, so we're still young enough to be in the demo that we're talking to.
3) What led you to a career in radio?
There was never another option for me. It was always radio and TV. And there was never the thought of a different avenue. I was okay in my mind with being broke and struggling my whole life as long as I got to talk on the radio.
4) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Austin has a lot of good morning shows ... shows that have been here for years and have maintained a level of success for a long amount of time.
Dudley and Bob is a heritage Rock show that has very passionate fans. And they are very funny.
Deb and Jason are a younger Alternative show that is really good. Deb talks with a funny accent, but is a great, great talent.
Bama Rob and Heather are a really strong Country show on KASE 101.
KLBJ-A is the News/Talk that is a beast all around the clock.
Our NPR station (KUT) is one of the biggest NPRs in the country. They are always a threat in PPM.
We have a couple really strong Spanish-speaking stations ... and a couple that do really well with music (BOB-FM and The BEAT).
It's a really competitive landscape in the morning.
5) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
I'm doing more within the job that I have. Having more affiliates means more work each day before and after the show. And I love that part of it. I also travel more. I've spent time in the different cities that my show has been picked up in.
I'm also doing TV shows, filling in on the local sports show, and doing the morning show. So I'm busy, but I love it. And I feel really lucky.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
My favorite radio show is the Dan Patrick show, so obviously Dan Patrick. He is funny, knowledgeable and seems like a good guy!
I'll always be a big fan of Kramer (based in Arkansas), because of how welcoming he was to a young kid trying to make it in radio.
And I think Kevin Rolston is great in West Palm.
7) Who are some of the people who have influenced you?
My current OM, Jay Shannon, who actually hired me to do nights in Austin eight years ago.
I've also worked under Tommy Austin (CC Portland), who I still speak with and seek advice from.
Clear Channel SVPP Rod Phillips has been a huge supporter and me and my show.
And obviously, I owe a lot of my success to my market manager, Pam McKay.
8) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
I'd love to have someone just to run the website. That person would be in charge of nothing but providing and creating online content. Alayna does a great job, but she is also my affiliate producer and has other tasks that take a lot of her time. She'd like to have someone get paid for the web as well.
9) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I love sports. I love playing them. Going to them. Talking about them. I'm a diehard Arkansas Razorbacks fan. And a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. I'm also a golfer. Not a good one, but I really enjoy playing as much as possible.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
If you're already in, find someone who is successful who you feel you can trust and will help you along the way. I've been lucky to work with some really great people who have been awesome about giving their time and help. I reached out to a few morning guys four or five years ago, and although some of them completely ignored me, there were guys like Dave Ryan (KDWB) who answered every ... single ... question I had ... time after time. And I'll always be greatful.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
Our tower went down in an ice storm a few years ago. We thought we were off the air. So my entire cast started sharing really personal secrets about each other. Our addresses, real names, how much money we make ... only to realize a few minutes later that we were only OFF AIR in Austin ... all of our affiliates were still on board. I still laugh about that.
I also broke into a radio station with my stunt man and took over their airwaves one night from my cell phone. But that's for another column.