Straight From the Mouth
The Morning Mouth's December Interview with Woody & Jim
(Reprinted by permission; Copyright © 2008 Talentmasters Inc.)
Give us a quick background check?
Woody: I was a night jock during my formative radio years, working in Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego and an assortment of smaller, and therefore unimportant markets. My first morning gig was at Q-100 in Allentown PA on to Albany NY in 1991, where I met Jim. Our eyes met across a crowded dance floor and well, it was magic and my life was changed forever.
Jim: Woody & I are just another eHarmony success story. I worked part time in Rochester (WHAM) and Buffalo (WPHD), before landing a full time gig at FLY 92 in Albany with Todd Pettengill. After 7 years there with Woody, we bagged our carpets and came to WRVW in Nashville in late '98. Just celebrated 10 years here!
Who else is on the show with you?
Woody: We used to have a full staff consisting of Me and Jim. Now, due to budget cutbacks, the program includes Me and Jim. However, we have no chairs in the room. We also have an "Intern" named "Adam" who can be very "helpful" when the "mood" strikes him (or WE do).
Jim: Adam is our gossip czar. He's the Perez Hilton of Nashville. He excels at it by befriending celebrities in Nashville clubs while they're drunk. Them wham, they're on our show or he's ratting them out! And when he's not dishing the gossip, we're covering him with snakes or hitting him in the groin with a blunt object for the audience's amusement.
How would you describe your show?
Woody: Its just the right mixture of music and fun to help get you going! Plus, some of our jokes are in high definition!
Jim: We're pop culture based. Whatever the buzz is, we're on it and poking fun at it. While we talk a bit about our lives, we're not one of those shows
And before we go on, didn't one of you get in trouble for something you did recently; got suspended, etc. Or was this your basic stuntage?
Woody: I think Adam was the last one to get suspended. He "leaked" the Britney Spears single "Womanizer" on our website and was smacked with a rolled up newspaper of music industry justice. The last time WE got suspended was when we were going to giveaway Titans tickets with a "Rush Tommy Maddox to the Hospital" race (based on the Steelers' then QB being injured the last time they played the Titans) that was a long time ago.. We try not to get suspended anymore because you never know.
Jim: It's all your basic radio promotion scenario. You're suspended, you can't do your show for a day or two, but you DO have to show up for work! You wind up performing bits for people at the coffee machine.
You've also really gotten into video, too. Do you have a favorite? Are you familiar with Morning Mouth TV?
Woody: "Morning Mouth TV"? Isn't that that one video with the two girls and the cup?
Jim: No it's the one with the dramatic prairie dog eating spaghetti. Or was that Elvis Duran?
What's radio like in Nashville? As you know, we're doing Morning Show Boot Camp there next year for the first time, and the response has been unbelievably cool.
Woody: "Cool" as in "awesome," or "Cool" as in a "tepid response"? That's fine with us. The LAST thing we need is a bunch of Yankees wandering around and knocking on our trailer doors to use the bathroom or marry our cousin/wives!
Jim: This city is awesome. Radio or otherwise, there is so much more to this city. The nightlife is a blast, pro sports (Titans and Predators), and live entertainment everywhere! And the people are as nice as they seem. Tip to Boot Camp attendees: If you ask, Nashville cops will welcome you to town with a warm, soft kiss on the forehead.
Woody: They do! We had been on the air here for just a few weeks and got a complaint on the request line from Grand Old Opry Member Lori Morgan (Yes! the Lori Morgan). We had to ask "what are you listening to us for? We don't play Country OR Western music". Actually, some listen cause we can poke fun at sandals-with-sock wearing country fans, something they can't do.
Jim: Many of them are the coolest people. Kenny Chesney listens. And we have to limit Mindy McCready. She wants to come on every week. Intern Adam drove her to jail when she turned herself in to serve her most recent sentence. We broadcast it. Taylor swift geeked out when she visited the first time. We were her station! She couldn't wait to record intros to her favorite benchmarks. We didn't have to write them out for her.
What's your take on the whole PPM thing? Do you think everyone's kinda over re-acting to the whole music vs talk thing?
Woody: I'm delighted that Arbitron is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the mid 20th century. High Tech Beepers! They're NOT just for drug dealers anymore!
Jim: It could suck for morning shows. What are the last things you grab before you leave the house? Your keys and your phone. That's when they'd pick the PPM out of the cradle. You just lost credit for all the listening up to that point.
If someone comes up to you that's just getting into radio and ask for advice, what do you tell them?
Jim: Better be willing to do 17 jobs. Know production, sales, Photoshop, web authoring, mascot antics, and spend whatever time you have left working on the show thingy.
Lotta talk lately about innovators. Who do you see out there in morning radio today that represents the future? Any PD's or Consultants that you would add to this list? courageous broadcasting pioneer. I say that, of course, for ASS KISSING reasons, since contract renewal time is here (please don't print that last part). Yep! Rich definitely! I also admire Jim, who has not killed me in all the years we've worked together (because I certainly would have).
Jim: Rich is actually a rising star. First, he hires great people (no ass kissing, we got to The River before he did) and let's them do their job. Second, he has embraced the new media and realizes that we have to evolve to survive. Those are the people that will be running things here on out.
Other than your listeners, whose feedback on your show matters most to you?
Woody: I cherish the thoughts of major sponsors who might pay us handsomely to endorse their crap. Also, anyone holding a sharp stick and/or a menacing club. (Wait! Instead of "holding," let me change that to "brandishing") (thanks)
Jim: When you hear people talk about your show who when they don't know you're on it. It's absolutely honest, brutal, and helpful. If you just listen to friends and family, you get just want they want you to hear.
Okay, each of you must answer this: The totally coolest thing you ever did on your show -- it gives you goose bumps just thinking about it.
Woody: Growing up a radio geek, I thought it was awesome when we had Casey Kasem on the air with us and we got him to do his "Shaggy" voice. Meaningless to some, milestone for me.
Jim: When the national media blew us up for flying an airplane banner over Hillary Clinton giving an outdoor speech in Troy, NY. It was before Bill admitted anything. The banner read: "Who's watching Bill?". When the secret service makes a file on you because of what you did on your show (true), that's cool.
Are there things you used to do on your show, but don't any longer?
Woody: We used to do a lot more "Game Show-y" type stuff, but we decided to be more ourselves and things have worked out for the best. We still do Gender Wars (battle of the sexes) listeners STILL love that.
Jim: We also don't do a lot of recorded bits with set ups and punchlines. We work the comedy and entertainment into conversation instead. It's more relatable.
How about other shows: what bit, interview, stunt, etc. would you say was the most amazing thing ever done on radio?
Jim: Don and Mike had their intern drive into a wall at increasing speeds to see when the airbag would go off. After a bunch of crashes, they broke the news that the car had no airbag! That is awesome. We did it here in Nashville and it killed. And we got into a little trouble. Oops.
Can't believe 2009 is just around the corner. Can each of you give a couple of your predictions for the New Year?
Woody: First, I predict this will be the LAST time we are asked to do an interview in the Morning Mouth. I further predict that Jim will have an incredibly amusing answer to that question!
Jim: I predict Woody's last prediction will never come to fruition. Right again! I don't like predictions. Nostradamus must have been insufferable. Every time you'd open your mouth, he'd answer, "I knew you were going to say that".
Speaking of things unbelievable, Titans! Will they or won't they make it to the Super Bowl?
Woody: Yes! And they will score a three point shot at the buzzer to beat the Cubs!
Jim: They will return the show again and I will work my mojo to bring them the success I brought to the Bills in the early 90's. No seriously, they will kick your favorite team's ass in Tampa February 1st!