Straight From the Mouth
The Morning Mouth's November with Ken & Corey
(Reprinted by permission; Copyright © 2009 Talentmasters Inc.)
Please give us a quick background check?
Ken (Anderson): The Wolf in Cincinnati, WCOL Columbus, Cat Country Allentown, 96 K-ROCK Fort Myers
Corey: KDWB's Dave Ryan in the Morning Show Minneapolis 2003, The Freak Show Wild 98.7 Tampa FL 1998, Kiss 105.3 The Morning Flakes Gainesville FL 1996
Eddie: Former exotic dancer who slept his way into radio.
Who's the person who gets credit for getting each of you into radio?
Ken: Dr. Johnny Fever & Venus Fly Trap on WKRP! I'm sure lots of radio people chose this career after watching that show. They made radio look so fun! What put it over the top was the day I was listening to WFLA in Tampa and the DJ said to be the 10th caller to win. I called in and won and was so excited I didn't even know what I had won! A week later I got a coupon in the mail for a can of frozen orange juice. It made me realize what a fun job that DJ had - giving away a can of orange juice to overexcited people who act like they just won the lottery!
Corey: Tom Rivers...He and I met after I left Gainesville. He was doing mornings on WQYK, and was the program director as well at the time. He made a huge impact on me, his advice and experience was imperative as I was learning the ins and outs of this roller coaster of a business. He guided me every step of the way.
Eddie: Scott Mahalick (PD of The Wolf) I was being my usual outgoing and wacky self at a New Year's Eve party. The producer of the morning show at the Wolf overheard my booming voice doing a rendition of Cyndi Lauper and said I just had to meet Scott. A 10-minute meeting turned into 2 hours, and thus my radio career was born.
Big jump from Pennsylvania and Minnesota to California. How different is radio there compared to where you were? Any surprises?
Ken: I'm in great physical condition from trying to outrun the homeless! Like in most major cities the core of our demo live outside of the city so we have to be careful to focus on what's relevant in their lives. San Francisco is a great city and we love the Embarcadero and Nob Hill but our audience is shopping at the Wal-mart in the East Bay.
Corey: I don't need my snow tires to get to work, that's a plus. There is a very different feel out here. You know those commercials advertising California where no one is working? They are skiing, getting a massage, hitting Disneyland, having a bonfire...it really is like that out here. Working comes second, playing comes first. Minneapolis was a "get it done yesterday" mentality. I am still trying to learn how to relax.
Eddie, since you're the native there, did you put Ken & Corey through an orientation program?
Yes, our orientation was a pub crawl through the streets of San Francisco. San Francisco is no longer there, because the three of us drank it. On a serious note, one of the topics we did was let listeners call in and brag on their cities. It was a great way for Ken and Corey to get a crash course on the Bay area and welcome them.
Launching a new show is always an interesting study. Did you have a game plan? Is the show coming together the way you expected?
Corey: Getting to know each other was our biggest priority.
Ken: The chemistry couldn't be predicted, we got lucky that is was there instantaneously. The vibe in the studio is paramount. We had to learn to work with each other in such a small space. Scott believes the show should sound like a party on the radio and the listeners will come. I think it is working. Eddie: We tossed the Radio 101 manual out the window and went with our guts. So far, so good.
If anyone reading this is in the process of launching a new show, what would be your best advice?
Ken: Know your city, appeal to the locals. Plus, be true to who you are. Your character on the radio is an amplified version of yourself for the sake of entertainment.
Corey: We loved that Eddie has ten years under his belt here. He steered us in the right direction. We know who we are and play that to the hilt. Our very different personalities mesh well together.
Eddie: Being the rookie on the show, I would say it is important to find the people you respect and admire in the building. Learn as much as you can from them, but follow your instincts as well.
In this process, did you reach out to any other shows for advice?
Corey: We stole most of our show from Dave Ryan and Skip Mahaffey.
What's the most frustrating part of kicking off a new show?
Corey: Learning what works and what doesn't...and trying to do it with no money. What's our favorite quote? "It's not in the budget."
Ken: No matter if you are in market 4, or 400... the frustrations are all the same.
Eddie: I had a hard time defining my role. I had to learn when to jump in the conversation, and when to bite my tongue...and when to get the divas more coffee.
What about working with new people for the first time? How long did it take to learn each other's strengths or how to define roles? Indiosyncrasies?
Corey: We were pretty lucky. There was a natural chemistry right from the beginning. We thought it would take longer than it did to come together. We each are very unique and approach things in totally different ways. However, I think that helps immensely. real on the air. That can be both funny and dark, but I think the audience appreciates that. Plus, we never know if Eddie is going to show up.
Eddie: I just wonder if Ken will be sober.
Have you had your first blow-up yet? Anything thrown in the studio yet?
Corey: Nope... everything is rainbows and unicorns.
Corey, what did you take with you from your time with Dave Ryan that you now apply to your approach to doing a show?
Corey: Everything. My time with Dave Ryan was quite the learning experience. His enthusiasm is contagious and he is always striving to make the next show better than the last. His brain is constantly coming up with new ideas. He would rather try something and fail, then take the safe route every time. Dave's show is a well-oiled machine and he doesn't walk into that studio without a game plan. In my career, I have learned the most about pulling off a successful morning show from Dave...oh, and he gave me crabs.
Any other morning shows whose brains you'd like to pick for a whole day?
Corey: That's what we love about Boot Camp. We get to do that for four days. We talked to everyone and anyone.
When first getting into the business, which morning shows had the biggest influence on you?
Ken: Jonathon Brandmeier. He is the ultimate host of a big funhouse on the radio. Even though I was in radio, I listened to his show like a listener. I couldn't get enough. His show was as iconic to Chicago as deep-dish pizza.
Corey: I grew up listening to the Q Morning Zoo with Scott Shannon. To this day I feel like a morning show isn't complete without the sound effect of a bell.
Eddie: I was really into Phineas and Ferb.
How about PD's? You now work with Scott Mahalick who's considered one of the top talent programmers around. How is his involvement different compared with some of your past PD's?
Ken: Lucky for me, I worked with Scott before under Chuck Geiger. I think they are the best in the business. Scott thinks big and inspires us to do the same. Nothing is off limits...from helicopters to go go dancers.
Corey: He had the insight to take the three of us and put a show together. The end result could have been a hot mess, but he has vision. He is amazingly hard to read, though. I would never play poker with him.
Eddie: Scott is my first PD ever...not too shabby. I'm doing pretty good.
Doing a show in today's radio environment is quite different. In the past -- way past -- TV and billboards were a given. Today, not an automatic. How are/were you able to supplement your exposure in a market the size of SF?
Corey: Eddie has been selling himself on Craigslist. I keep putting my business cards in the "Win a Free Lunch' fishbowls at restaurants. Honestly, we are trying to think of new ways all the time.
Ken: Stunting is not the same as it used to be in today's environment. Companies are not willing to go out on a limb for you.
Corey: Nor pay for legal fees.
What's your take on the overall state of radio? Where do you see it headed in the next 5 years? Is syndication something you'd consider?
Corey: We are very interested to see the affect PPM will have. Syndication would be dope lyrics. I wouldn't want to lose that local feel, though.
Ken: I feel there will always be a place for terrestrial radio, because it is local. Radio has segued into a multi-media product because of the Internet. But content will always be king.
Eddie: I want to know what terrestrial radio is...do I need my tin foil hat?
Let's talk about the show: Coolest things you've done on the air since you arrived?
Ken: Have you ever heard of 'War of the Roses?' Just kidding...San Francisco is a Mecca of weirdness. The strange is on every corner. None of us have experienced this level of crazy in any other city we lived in. We tapped into that local feel and created, "Have You Seen Your Crazy?" We get a million calls for it every time and we don't think this would work in any other town. Corey: Plus, we had Jessica Simpson in the studio and we were lucky enough to start that fight between her and Carrie Underwood. Carrie said Tony Romo stills calls her. I said it was a classless statement; Jessica totally agreed. Talk about cat-fight.
Corey, is this your first crack at country? How is doing a morning show there, different than other formats?
I love the country format, the artists are so cool and laid-back. Plus, the country format is leaning Top 40, so it wasn't that hard of a switch. The
Final question: What's each of your top wishes for the New Year?
Ken: Hoping the synthetic liver will be perfected in 2009.
Eddie: Wants to know who he has to sleep with to get a raise.
Corey: since I'm the girl on the show, hoping for a brand new shock collar.