10 Questions with ... Ferris O'Brien
January 26, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started at KDGE (94.5 The Edge)/Dallas, brief stint in Carlsbad, KQSR (95X)/OKC, then my home at The Spy (all 3 incarnations).
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Isn't this what all would be no talent wanna be rock do? It was either this or become members of Nickelback or Hinder... right?
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
Rodney On The Roq takes honors for first introducing me to the left of the dial, but it was George Gimarc's "The Rock N Roll Alternative" that aired as a specialty show on KZEW in Dallas, which truly warped my ears and my view of how a True Alternative station should sound. It was a total twist of fate that George was also my first boss in the biz. I am proud to say I was lucky enough to be able to have worked for my two favorite stations, 94.5 The Edge and The Spy!
3. How did you acquire the radio station?
It's a really LONG story, but the short version is I saw the opportunity, made my play for 105.3 FM, got it, now its time to start the Revolution!
4. Take us back through the history of The Spy?
Once again, another long and storied history, the original KSPI (from which The Spi moniker was taken) has been an FM station since 1947 in Stillwater, OK. The early '70s saw it adopt the Spi Rock moniker and it stayed a fringe rock station until 1990, where they finally dropped the Rock of Spi Rock and became 93.7 The Spi... I joined the Spi crew in mornings in '97, it has been apart of me ever since. Now I own it, Viva Le Spy!
5. How would you describe the music and imaging on the station?
The imaging for the station is SIMPLE; we are THE SPY... period. No slogans, no gimmicks, just THE SPY! No slick production needed to sell a product that is simply the best! The Music sells The Spy.... and the best way to describe the music is unique.
The music EVERYDAY on The Spy and in every daypart includes: The Smiths, Morrissey, R.E.M., Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, Cure, Clash, Bowie, Billy Idol, Bunnymen, X, Cult, Devo, Elvis, Cramps, Social D, Kinks, Julian Cope, Siouxsie, Sisters Of Mercy, B-52's, Peter Murphy, Eurythmics, Jesus & Mary Chain, Pistols, Joe Jackson, New Order, Joy Division, Gary Numan, Lush, Pulp, Velvet's, Erasure, Yazoo, Tears for Fears, Bryan Ferry, Roxy, Virgin Prunes, Creatures, The The, Lords of the New Church, Modern Lovers, Morphine, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Talk Talk, Madness, Soft Cell, Human League, Ministry, Furs, Specials, Pretenders, Ramones, Iggy, INXS, Jane's Addiction, English Beat, Fixx, Berlin, XTC, Blondie, Simple Minds, Blur, Sonic Youth, Pixies, Cars, Alarm, Pet Shop, Oingo Boingo, Squeeze, Stranglers, Strokes, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Suede, OMD, Lloyd Cole, That Petrol, Duran, Adam Ant, Police, Ween, Sounds, Sundays, Horton Heat, Pumpkins, Stone Roses, Flaming Lips, Starlight Mints, Interpol, Silversun Pickups, Vampire Weekend, Metric, MGMT, Kaiser Chiefs, White Stripes, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Lily Allen, Cold Cave, U2, Toadies, Verve, Shiny Toy Guns, XX, LCD Soundsystem, M83, Modest Mouse, New Pornographers, NIN, Oasis, Charlatans, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, Liars, Of Montreal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Band of Horses, Love & Rockets, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Chili Peppers, Raveonettes, Placebo, Last Shadow Puppets, Coldplay, Spoon, Friendly Fires, Dandy Warhols, Heavenly States, Weezer, Cursive, Franz Ferdinand, Camera Obscura, Phoenix, CSS, Sohodolls, Snow Patrol, Big Pink, Death Cab, Postal Service, Decemberists, Cold War Kids, Tegan & Sara, La Roux, Gossip, Florence & The Machine...
6. What makes The Spy unique?
7. What is your biggest challenge with the station?
The Biggest challenge is trying to tear down the stigma that Corporate Radio has attached to Alternative radio! Corporate Radio has taken the deepest, most talented, intellectually stimulating genre of music and turned it into the most shallow, vile, intellectually numbing sub-genre and somehow convinced most people that this is alternative. Corporate Radio has kidnapped and bastardized the word Alternative, my challenge is to take it back and make it alternative again!!!
8. What would surprise people most about the station?
How bloody f-ing cool we are!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ___________?
Starbucks double shots!
10. What are you most passionate about?
Music and the humane treatment of animals!
What are your hobbies?
Collecting toys -- Mutley & Dick Dastardley, Scooby Doo, Flintstones, Buffy action figures, Marvin The Martian, etc.
Last non-industry job?
Managed a tanning salon
First record ever purchased?
I could be cool and say The Clash "London Calling" but it was a Bay City Rollers 45 "S. A. T. U. R. D. A. Y."
The 80 Invasion by Van Halen in L.A.
Favorite band of all-time?
The Smiths (word!)