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Straight From the Mouth
The Morning Mouth's January interview with Bobby Bones
(Reprinted by permission; Copyright © 2011 Talentmasters Inc.)

I was born in Mountain Pine, Arkansas. Population 866. Was the first kid in my family to graduate high school. and then college (Henderson State 2002). Started radio at 17 years old. I was hired to clean the lobby and switch out the Rick Dees CD on Sunday mornings. My first station was KLAZ in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Before my first day working, they fired the entire weekend staff. A day later I was doing weekend nights. And I was awful. After college graduation, I went to Q100 in Little Rock to do nights. Got in a lot of trouble for breaking into another station and taking over their airwaves in the middle of the night. That got me an offer from Jay Shannon to do nights at KHFI. Was doing nights in 10 cities. Then when I was 22...and optionless... KHFI gave me the morning show. Started syndicating it a few years later.

Did you always plan to be a morning jock?

I wanted to do mornings so I could talk. I never cared what format I was on. I just wanted to be funny. and not play music. And I got lucky to have people to who believed I was ready to do mornings at a young age. They were wrong. It took me a couple years and lawsuits before I was truly ready.

Who helped you land your first gig or helped you get into radio?

My first PD ever was Kevin Cruise. He hired a 17 year old dummy. So I wI'll aways be grateful. Tommy Austin (now OM at CC Portland) was my first "morning show PD". He allowed me to try lots of stuff and fail. And that was really a major factor to my growth as a morning show host. I really enjoyed working with Tommy.

The most influential person in my career is my current OM Jay Shannon.

Antonio) lobbied to give me the morning show. When he came back to Austin to be OM, he sought out our first syndication market. Then landed me and 2nd and a 3rd. He has also been as close to a father figure as I've ever had. We've been through a lot of battles together.

How would you describe your first show on the air?

I remember my first ever shift, period. I said the wrong station name and half the wrong station call letters. Then I just turned the mic off in mid sentence. Sat through a few seconds of dead air. And I hit a Black song. I have vivid memories of this. My hands shook that entire first shift.

Were there shows you listened to while in college that inspired you?

As a young kid I would listen to KLAZ in Hot Springs. I would call in and be a "guest DJ' almost nightly. When I was 12, I was invited to hang out with host for a night. That started my career in radio. When I was 16, I emailed the night guy Kramer. And he actually responded. He gave me some advice about getting into radio. I saved that email for years. I later worked with Kramer at the same station. Kramer was the guy who taught me that I didn't need a big voice to be on the radio. Kramer is now successful doing mornings in Little Rock and is on a mI'llion stations at night.

If you could spend time with any 2 or three radio hosts/shows in the country, who would they be?

I think that Adam Carolla is the funniest guy on the radio. I would podcast his show from LA. Now I podcast his podcast.

I also like guys that seem to be a little unstable. Fitz (Seattle) fits that description. Ive known Fitz forever, but he is nuts and he's great.

Everyone's Material Is Out There. Who's Stuff Never Fails To Impress You?

I love sports radio. I even fI'll in sports radio in town when the normal guys are on vacation. My favorite show, period, is The Dan Patrick show. The right mix of funny, sports, and entertainment. I'd also like to add him to my

Let's talk about the show. Name the cast and what role each of them plays.

Amy lives in North Carolina and does the show from her attic. We have her on monitors in the studio so everyone is synced up. She moved a year ago when her military husband. She is as right wing, conservative Christian and one could be. She does anti abortion protests, talks about Jesus on the air at times, and is the best female I've eard on any radio station. I randomly met her at a restaurant. She was selling granite before she joined the show.

Lunchbox is a liberal hI'llbI'lly from Austin. He is loud, obnoxious, and is the antithesis of Amy. And he is really, really funny.

Carlos is my mexican producer who no one can understand.

Alayna is my affiliate producer who does all the work behind the scenes. She makes the show happen. She is bi-sexual. and dates dudes from the internet. But she is awesome and integral to our success.

How do you and your cast put each day's show together?

I'm a control freak, so I pick all the segments. First I do the night work. Each member of the show (and interns) sends in their page of ideas. I add those to the mix in the morning. I then usually cut about a third of the stuff I've come up with the night before from the notes the other members have. I then read through all the days news, clips, etc.

After I get to the station, I cut all the liners, spots, and promo clips for our other markets. Then I got back and check all my twitter and facebook news/entertainment feeds. usually around then, its time to go on air.

What are your show's top benchmarks? What is your show known for mostly?

We aren't really a benchmark show. We do have the normal hollywood crap we have to do.. but, we play a lot of games. Honestly, we do a lot of stuff that WE think are fun. I feel like if we are having a great time, so are the listeners.

We also fight a lot. I'm the only person out of my crew that has a radio past. The rest of the gang all joined the show from the real world. and (in good ways and bad ways) you can tell by listening to the show.

Other Than Listeners, Who's Opinion Of The Show Matters To You Most?

I don't so much look for full show opinions. Because no one listens to the full show. But I like to know what segments were the funniest. So I have people in the office I work for feedback. They have no idea I'm working them. I also have a few people close to me that I trust to tell me if I was a jerk or a segment was funny.

You don't seem to have any trouble landing big guests. Who did you interview that made you the most nervous?

I'm a huge Kevin Smith fan. We had him on right after his Southwest Airlines fight.. And he kept saying "fu$%". Had to ask him to stop. Dropped the delay twice. Finally had to end the interview. Super nice and funny, but after 3 F bombs.. you gotta go. Wanda Sykes had the same issue. Kept saying "Sh*#". She was drunk. It was funny. But had to bail on that one. I was nervous going into those. And seemingly rightfully so.

Best/worst guest you ever had?

50 cent is always a great guest. But our best on a routine basis is tennis player Andy Roddick. He is a big star and one of my best friends. So I can pretty much do anything I want at anytime. And when he brings his wife (Brooklyn Decker) its pretty great too. We have a lot of youtube videos of some great segments between us. I was in Sports I'llustrated because of a segment we did.

I have 3 guests that have been awful every single time we've ever had them on. Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, and Jewel. Multiple bad experiences with each of them.

How has PPM affected how you do a show?

I am constantly teasing whats coming up. I used to think I was a good "teaser", then PPM hit. I was a crappy teaser. Jay has emphasized (and rightfully so) the benefit of teasing. Now, Im a believer.

Are you one of those kinds of personalities that wants to know every detail of the latest ratings?

I'm waiting at noon each week for the trend. I want to see all the female demos. I keep a spreadsheet each week. So, yes.

Being on a CHR, I'm sure you're very conscience of ap's like Pandora, mobile devices, etc. and their usage by younger listeners. How do you keep your show connected digitally with your listeners?

We are a pretty young show. I'm the oldest at 30 years old. So its pretty easy to seem connected. Because we all are stI'll in the demo. And we all stI'll live the lifestyle. We also dont act like conflicting devices don't exist. We podcast the crap out of everything. Even let interns do shows. We pimp out our iheartradio channel, and every single one of us has a flip cam that we use daily. We just throw a bunch of crap up against a wall and hope it sticks somewhere.

How about social media? How much of your time is spent tweeting, posting on Facebook, etc.

A lot. A whole lot. I have 25k followers on Twitter and around the same amount on Facebook. Our goal is not to spam our listeners with promotional stuff. But when we do post such things, they are a really big deal and get great response. Im convinced I made the top 10 for this Regis and Kelly contest simply off of social networking.

How do you see the dashboard changing in the next few years? Is Internet radio in a more accessible form a gimme?

Internet, Podcasting, Youtube, Pandora etc.. will continue to grow and further weaken conventional radio. Instead of fearing this, I'm excited to further embrace new technologies and techniques. It's pretty awesome all the ways we can connect with people now.

So sports radio is your ultimate love. Could you be the next Dan Patrick, Tony Rome type show?

I love doing sports radio. I've ad full time sports shows offered to me. but at the time they werent right. I do plan to take on a full time sports role sometime in the near future (as well as the CHR show).

Final question. Super Bowl. Who's it going to be? final score? I'm just asking...

Everyone is picking New England. And they are tough to beat at home. So I'll join the crowd and put them in the Super Bowl. NE 24 Green Bay 17

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