Straight From the Mouth
The Morning Mouth's August Interview with Woody & Wilcox
(Reprinted by permission; Copyright © 2009 Talentmasters Inc.)
Give us a quick background check?
Wilcox: Woody and I have been together at KPLN/San Diego, KSCF/San Diego and now the last 2 years at KBFX/Anchorage. We were one of those "lucky" few shows around the country that was working at a CBS owned station in a market where Howard Stern was on a Clear Channel station in 2004. In the wake of the Janet Jackson fiasco, Clear Channel dumped Stern from all their stations. CBS then put Stern ON in any of those markets where they had stations themselves. San Diego was one of those markets, so we got fired to make way for Stern. We'd been on the air together about 6 months or so at that time.
Woody: Before working with Wilcox I was on KDES/Palm Springs, 91X/San Diego, KIOZ/San Diego, WKLS/Atlanta, KCPX/Salt Lake City and
Wilcox: Before Woody and I hooked up I was on KJYK/Tucson, KMXZ/Tucson, XHRM/San Diego and KYSR/Los Angeles.
The Alaskan woman controversy?
Wilcox: As far as the events that lead us into 'controversy' -- the short story is we took what we thought was an old accepted joke or axiom about somebody not truly being an Alaskan until they've peed in the Yukon River and made love to a Native Alaskan woman and switched the verbs around. It was an off hand comment -- not part of bit, just something that came out in conversation with a caller. We've since learned by the way, that the "joke", even when told in its original form, is offensive to many people.
Woody: It was actually intended to be a self-deprecating comment aimed at myself. Like, 'Look how dumb I am, I don't even know how the saying goes'. It certainly wasn't intended to be hurtful.
Wilcox: When we found out how hurt some people were we felt horrible. We were suspended for two weeks. We underwent hours and hours of cultural
interesting and educational. We met with Elders in the Native community and we met with politicians who had complained about us on the floor of legislature. It's one of those things unfortunately that the media loves to get hold of and we were the lead story on the 6 o'clock news every night for 3 or 4 nights straight -- it was in The New York Times, The Washington Post -- it was such a lesson in how 'news' spreads so virally and quickly these days.
Woody: We've sat down with so many people in the community and learned so much from the experience. Most people, including the woman who initially complained, now understand that it wasn't said with malice.
Wilcox: One of the things that we've learned is that Native Alaskan women are extremely over represented in the population when it comes to being victims of violent crime. It's a tragedy. Some folks associate what we said with that horrible statistic.
Was this your first brush with almost being fired?
Woody: I've almost been fired a couple of times. Before working with Wilcox, when I was at KIOZ we had front row seats for Ozzy to give away. We had a guy come into the studio and PRETEND to bite the head off of a parakeet. There was no parakeet, just sound effects. We actually had the guy bite a frozen carrot because it sounded like what we thought it would sound like to bite the head off of a parakeet. PETA got involved, the SPCA got involved, lots of meetings and apologies. The most interesting thing to me is that the week before we had a guy come in with his 13 foot python and had his snake eat a live chicken on the air for Ozzie tickets -- that was for real -- the snake really ate the chicken -- we got no flack for that one.
Wilcox: I've never been almost fired -- if it was up to me we'd do nothing but share recipes and read scripture on the air.
What's radio in Anchorage like?
Wilcox: Saying you live in Alaska is such a conversation starter. In general, people who don't live here are horribly misinformed about what Anchorage and Alaska are actually like -- but they're very curious. I was too. I could fill the entire magazine with interesting and odd facts about
I've ever lived in, but it isn't tiny -- there are 300,000 or so people here. When we got here 2 *years ago there were two dominant shows in town in the male demo. Those shows have been here in one form or another for probably 15 or more years each. We replaced the syndicated Bob and Tom show, which had been on for two years prior to our arrival. Our station was in last place and so were mornings at that time. In our last book, our station was #1 25-54 men and our show was the #1 FM show with 35-54 men. In Alaska, more than anywhere I've ever worked, it's so important to understand the unique culture, climate and the way things work up here. The Rick Rydell Show on our sister station news/talk KENI-AM is one of those shows that's been here forever and Rick's been amazingly kind and helpful to Woody and I with getting to know the state and those in it.
Woody: You're only saying that about Rick so he won't shoot you.
What's the weather/light situation?
Woody: To somebody that grew up in places like Minneapolis or Chicago, the winter temperatures in Anchorage wouldn't be all that shocking. Minneapolis, on average, is colder than Anchorage, for example. The thing that's unique is the length of the winter and darkness.
Wilcox: For about 6 weeks in winter, we don't see the sun until after our show. The sun comes up about 10:15 am and then goes back down around 3:45 pm.
Woody: In the summer, it's almost never fully dark though. The sun goes down around 12:30 am or so and then is back up by 4 am -- and even when it's down, it's just below the horizon, so you have sort of a continual dusk.
Wilcox: The duskiness makes Woody look particularly ominous while wearing his Darth Vader costume though.
Woody: It's not a costume, it's armor!
Now the show: Is it just the two of you? also plays an on air role, that's "The X Man" and a female who's with us part time for certain bits named Dee.
Wilcox: X Man's real name is better than his fakey radio name: Xavier Topkok! That's right, pronounced just like you think it is. But we usually go with X Man since we've already got 'Woody' and 'Wilcox' did we really need a third phallic name involved with the show? It's like 'come on, we get it, you guys have names that sound like penises -- give it a rest!'
Favorite bit or idea picked up at Boot Camp:
Woody: I liked car alarm or not. Get your stunt guy to go out into the parking lot, describe a car and then have a caller gamble on whether the car has a car alarm or not. Then he shakes it to find out. I also liked the idea of having high school bands compete by playing classic rock songs.
Leave with a favorite BC story?
Woody: Favorite memories from Bootcamp -- paying $7 bucks for peanuts from the mini-bar in the hotel room and watching Jer's 'Million Dollar Show' session.
Wilcox: First of all, Woody likes the memory of the $7 peanuts from the mini-bar because I'm the one that paid for them.
When you search for material, who do you borrow from mostly?
Woody: Free Beer and Hot Wings, Adam Corolla, Kevin and Bean.
Wilcox: I couldn't even begin to tell you all the shows around the country that I listen to. The advent of the podcast has changed the landsape. However, Free Beer and Hot Wings are at least aware of our poaching -- we share audio with them etc., but I'm the radio geek on our show -- I'm constantly listening to other shows around the country and 'borrowing' things here and there when appropriate.
Which show influenced yours?
Wilcox: As Woody said, we're both big fans of Corolla and Kevin and Bean -- I'd also throw in Dave, Shelley and Chainsaw in San Diego as a show that's had influence over the years. We certainly don't consciously model ourselves after any other shows, but I'll tell you that I got into radio because of Don and Mike. In high school listening to Don and Mike on WAVA was the first time I remember thinking -- wow -- I want to do that. My father was actually in radio (worked at WMAL in DC in the 60's and 70's) but I think he'd prefer that don't cite him as a reason that I got into radio. As a matter of fact I think he'd rather be known as a force trying to discourage me from getting in the biz.
Name a show you'd like to sit in on for a day?
Woody: Paul Castronova and Young Ron -- or maybe Ace and TJ so that I could stare at their hot producer!
Wilcox: Isn't Ace and TJ's producer a dude? As far as a show I'd love to sit in on, Phil Hendrie. Phil's show is the most entertaining thing on the radio I've ever heard and I'm constantly amazed. If the Greaseman was still doing it, I'd throw him into the mix too. I used to listen to The Grease on DC 101 and not only would consider him an influence, but he did one of those types of shows that was amazing to physically watch.
Woody: You know I interned with The Grease right?
Wilcox: Woody mentions this every week or so, just to rub it in. It's really an ugly quality.
Morning show's brain you'd like to pick?
Wilcox: Hendrie -- not technically a morning show I guess, but.
Famous jocks that have come out of Anchorage?
Woody: The Woody and Wilcox Show
Wilcox: There's a dude that's on ESPN radio now that used to work in Anchorage -- John Seibel I think? There also used to be guy named Dick Lobdell who worked here in our building -- I don't think he was overly famous, but I love that name -- try it -- Dick Lobdell.
Getting guests in Anchorage?
Wilcox: We're not huge on guests on our show. Of course there aren't a ton of celebrities coming through Anchorage, but even when we were in San Diego, it wasn't necessarily something that we cared much about. The good thing is, if there IS somebody that we want on the show, often they're fascinated enough about the fact that we're in Alaska that they'll do something on the phone with us. They're often just amazed that we have radio in AK. We did just have AK senator Ted Stevens in studio with us -- you may have heard he's got some leagal issues he's dealing with.
And your social scene?
Woody: You're probably asking the wrong guys about the social scene. I've got twin 2 *year old daughters and Wilcox has a three year old daughter and a 1 year old son -- we're not out boozing or taking in the night life very often. hanging from the ceiling -- stabbing ourselves in the thigh with a ball point pen. Actually, the scene here is small, but robust! People in Alaska have an amazing sense of humor and sense of 'party' -- as a collective group of people, by far the funniest state on the map. I think there's somewhat of a coping mechanism that's developed when you deal with the winters that you deal with here. There's also, per capita some of the best food that I've had.
Myths realities of Anchorage?
Woody: You need to experience AK for yourself. No matter how great we could describe it, now matter how in depth and detailed we go into it, it just wouldn't scratch the surface of how beautiful and HUGE this state is. The Northern Lights -- the sun rising at 10:15 am -- 70 lb salmon -- 400 lb halibut and the sun setting after midnight.
Wilcox: Myths -- realities -- we don't have satellite radio here -- too far north -- REALLITY! To get Direct TV's full lineup of channels you need two 4 foot dishes -- REALLITY! We have penguin's -- MYTH! We get moose in our front yards -- REALLITY! Woody graduated from college -- jury's still out!