10 Questions with ... Ben Kuhns
February 17, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I studied broadcasting and political science at the Univ. of Nebraska at Kearney in Kearney, NE. While there I started as a part-time board-op on KGFW-A. Soon, I added some shifts on Top 40 sister KQKY. I moved to full-time overnights on KQKY, then nights. I took a break from the business, then came back to do afternoons on KQKY and really got into commercial and imaging production. I moved to Sioux Falls, SD in '06 and started over: part-time overnight on KKLS, then nights on Country KIKN, middays on Classic Rock KYBB, and now back to KKLS doing middays, production and web stuff.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
My first gig: learning to cue records, recording the weather on carts and watching the building until it was time to turn off the transmitter ... and teaching myself to edit.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
First, it's kind of the family businesses. I have several relatives who have done/do it. Second, it's one of the few careers that allow you be creative and not have to live in Hollywood.
3) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Oh yeah! But, like I learned long ago at a fast food job: the more you can do the more valuable you are.
4) What is your favorite part of the job?
Producing imaging and commercials. I love creating the sound of a station.
5) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Weird Al, Lindsey Sterling, Scarface; it's a mash-up of a lot of sounds.
6) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
KSID-A in Sidney, NE ... at the time, a true community station; full-service all day and requests at night.
7) Who were your mentors? Who would you say has influenced your career the most?
Mitch Cooley and Mark Reid from KQKY/Kearney, NE; I didn't fully realize how much I'd learned from them until I left.
8) Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
1992-96 ... that was the end of high school and the start of my first try at college. That was the time of Nirvana, Ice Cube's best albums, Garth Brooks' best singles. The G-Funk sound from Dr. Dre and Warren G., Offspring, Green Day, 2Pac, Metallica's 'Load," Weird Al's "Bad Hair Day," so much good stuff.
9) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I am a huge comedy nerd. Stand up, improv, podcasts like 'Never Not Funny' and 'Comedy Bang Bang.' I love it.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Listen to the radio. You cannot create if you don't consume. Listen to your station and as many others as you can. Hear what sounds good and doesn't, and think about why. Pay attention to how people listen to the radio. Embrace change and drop any WKRP fantasies you have.
What was your last non-industry job?
Overnight stocker in a big box store.