10 Questions with ... Johnjay Van Es & Rich Berra
September 1, 2015
1) How long have you guys been together now, and how did you meet?
JJ: Fifteen years ago, Rich and I met in New Orleans at a radio convention. I had been doing my own show in Houston at 93Q Country and was looking for a partner.
RB: It was Don Anthony's Boot Camp. I was working at The Eagle in Dallas, but really wanted to find a partner to build a show around. I kept hearing Johnjay's name as a person who I would get along with great. We hung out in the lobby of the hotel one night, just chatting, and realized that we might have a little something to go on.
2) How many stations are you on now? Run 'em down.
RB: Seventeen! KZZP/Phoenix, KFMB/San Diego, KYNW/Seattle, KKRZ/Portland, KVDU/New Orleans, KRQQ/Tucson, KFSZ/Flagstaff, KVUU/Colorado Springs, KSME/Ft. Collins, KHKZ/McAllen, KKMY/Beaumont, KRVC/Medford, WNSL/Hattiesburg, KEWB/Redding, KCEZ/Chico, KTOZ/Springfield, MO, and KIRQ/Twin Falls.
JJ: We are always looking to bring our humor to more cities, so please feel free to contact Casey Silcock at Premiere Networks! email@example.com
3) What social media platforms are you fans of?
JJ: Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, Facebook, and the best social media platform ever ... THE RADIO!!!
RB: It's important to be where the listeners are. I like Periscope, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr the best. We're early adopters of the tech that's out there. We don't want to be last in; we want to be first in and make a ton of mistakes, so our listeners can bust us on our ineptness and make a thing of it.
4) What's the coolest bit you've done recently?
JJ: We videotape our first break every day. It's just us, catching up, and it sounds like we're improvising, and in a way we are, but the beginning, middle and end are prepped. It's called JJRTV - Today on the Show and it gets a ton of views - check it out. VERY COOL! http://bit.ly/1KM4sZY
RB: Our #LoveUp social media campaign encouraging others to pay it forward and spread the love was born out of a mistake. Auto-correct edited a text Johnjay received that was supposed to say, "Great ... love it." He and I were talking about it and thought, "Hey, that could be a thing." So we tried to make it a thing, and it took on a life of its own - people were making logos and posting it all over the place. We started making T-shirts just to see what it would do, and it's become one of the bigger fundraisers we have for the Johnjay And Rich Cares For Kids Foundation, which benefits foster kids all over. In just a few shorts months, we've raised over $80,000 with #LoveUp.
5) What led you to careers in radio?
JJ: I've wanted to be on the radio since I was at least five years old.
RB: I grew up in St. Louis, where radio in the early '80s was pretty exciting. As a kid, I was addicted to KWK and the jocks, and I thought, "That has to be the coolest job ever." Those guys seemed even more important than the actual music they played because they were relatable. When I was 14, I heard this college station playing Alternative music, looked up the address, rode my bike up there, and offered to work for free. They let me and I never left. Isn't that pretty much everyone's story in radio? Offer to work for free until someone gives you a break.
6) Who were your influences? Who did you listen to growing up?
JJ: Growing up, I listened to Casey Kasem, Jeff and Jer, Howard Stern and DSC - The Dave, Shelly, and Chainsaw Show.
RB: I used to work at a grocery store (you know, to make money while I played at the radio station for free) and I would hear Steve Dahl and Garry Meier doing overnights in Chicago when I was cleaning bathrooms. I was also a fan of Kevin Matthews on KWK in the morning, he moved to Chicago after that, and I loved Randy Raley on K-SHE in St. Louis -- he's still one of my good friends and mentors
7) What are your go-to show prep sources?
JJ: I love Premiere Prep, Dr. Dave's Ultimate Prep, and Complete Sheet.
RB: Life is ALWAYS #1. I thought having kids would make it tough to do show prep, but you realize quickly that it gives you a ton of material. Playing in a band in bars also gives me a lot to work with. Johnjay and I both read a lot and try to entertain each other with different angles and bits.
8) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
JJ: Tom Cruise.
RB: You know, we've talked to just about everyone, but we've never had Tom Cruise on our show. That would be kinda cool. We can handle just about everyone else and keep it together, but we both fan-girl out a bit when someone comes on the show who has been famous forever.
9) What advice would you give people new to the business?
JJ: Get a coach and listen to people like iHeartMedia's Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler and Tom Poleman.
RB: It's a brave new world with a lot of new technologies, but no matter how many cool things they invent for terrestrial, satellite and digital, people will always flock to content. Get a show together, make some big noise and never stop!
10) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about each of you?
JJ: I wipe from the front.
RB: I like this question because we are very open on the air and there shouldn't be too many surprises we haven't unveiled and dissected on the show ... but ... I actually believe that what I see on the History Channel series Ancient Aliens is the "truth." I talk about it and people think it's a bit or I'm kidding, but I'm serious.
Which characters on a TV series most reflect your personalities?
JJ: Larry David, Doug Heffernan (The King of Queens), Peter Griffin (Family Guy), Chandler Bing (Friends), Uncle Grandpa, Rob Dyrdek, Oprah Winfrey, Jesse (Disney Channel), Dog with a Blog, and Ronda Rousey.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
RB: I run the board, and my bad board skills are a character in itself. We cut stuff during songs and I forget to turn off the mic quite a bit. It's a good "hold em' over" kind of thing, because you never know when I'm going to crash the bus.