Straight From the Mouth
The Morning Mouth's December interview with Kidd Chris
(Reprinted by permission; Copyright © 2009 Talentmasters Inc.)
Quick background check: WKRL/WKLL K-Rock in Syracuse (alternative morning producer). T95 Wichita (Active rock-nights). Power 93.9 Wichita (Rhythmic-nights, then mornings). Fly 92.7 Wichita (Rhythmic-mornings).* KSFM 102.5 Sacramento (Rhythmic-mornings). 93.7 KXOA Sacramento (FM talk-nights). 102.7 K-Rock San Antonio (Active rock-mornings). 94WYSP Philadelphia (FM Talk afternoons syndicated to K-Rock Pittsburgh). 94WYSP (Active rock-mornings). KUFO Portland (Active rock-mornings).
Have to ask, are you still doing song parodies?
I really haven't voiced or wrote a full parodies in years. I will come up with a hook to a song or something and use that, but the songs usally come from listeners. Makes them feel a part of the show. I think full produced song parodies are a thing of the past. Sometimes a guy from the show perform a song live. Live is the best because there's that element of it falling apart.
Before arriving at KUFO, you had begun an Internet show. Is that still up and running?
The channel is still up still, but we're not on it. I have a few guys that do shows and they go up there. I am looking for more LIVE shows. We have one centralized stream, site, and phone number that we all dial into, but all the shows are form all over the map.
Any thoughts for morning shows that are between gigs on starting their own Internet show?
Do it! I loved doing the net show, but there's no $$ in it right now. The future will be on the net. I think stations online will be the content drivers to FM/AM stations. I was about to get a deal with 2 stations that were going to run an edited "Best Of" version of my net show to run on Sat nights. I wish I had perused that.
I think a lot of people would agree, it's been a tough time to be in between gigs. Following your stint at 'YSP, it seems like your name came up for every major opening. How frustrating was that? How did you keep your spirits up?
I did become detached from the biz for a long time. I enjoyed the relaxation. My advice to those on the beach, relax, enjoy it. There were times where I was itchy to get back in and do the show. The only time is got depressing was hearing voice tracks and just lazy sloppy material on the dial.
A few years back you were a regular contributor to Howard Stern's show and prior to his leaving CBS, the buzz was that you were his heir-apparent. What's the real story there?
Some of the best times in my career was hearing my contributions on Howards show. Jay Thomas once said to me that, "having Howard talk about you on his show is like a comic being called over by Johnny Carson" and he was right.
As far as being a replacement for his show on FM, it never got close to happening. I made it real clear that it was a lose lose situation for whoever was placed there. I guess I was wrong.
What kind of things did you do for Howard? Did you get to know him personally?
I would contribute my ideas to him and the staff along with some produced bits. Through that time, we became friends and he is always there if I have career questions or whatever. We have had some great talks about the shows and the biz. I think we both enjoy our conversations.
Your background has been primarily CHR, but now you're doing rock. Any change in your approach?
As a jock i really enjoyed the production and the pace of CHR when I did work that format. I really enjoyed the days of the 90's alternative too, that music and production was on point for me. A couple of jocks that really stuck out for me were The Ragman on 93Q in Syracuse, The Whipping Boy on KBPI, and
Before I forget, a couple of days ago you shot me Jaime Grubbs (of Tiger Woods fame) phone #? Was it legit? Did she actually answer?
Yes. My producer/sidekick Thomas talked to her right before I emailed you. She just pushed us to her PR lady. Ha Ha. Whatta joke.
Over the last few years, describe some of the most amazing things you've done on your show?
Man, I don't think about the show as "amazing". Maybe some prank calls that have got me some recognition. The calls to OJ Simpson, Rodney Dangerfield, and Ted Turner. Those are really the only thing off the top of my head that stick out for me. You would have to ask a hardcore listener what the amazing parts of my show are.
Name the other players on your show? Who does what? Anyone join you from Philly?
My sidekick/Producer Thomas has been with me since the Sacramento days. He is the only one that is with me from the past. Alpha has hired a sales guy from our Philly days that was a regular on my show too.
Philadelphia was one of the first PPM markets. Were you there when that first went into effect?
Yes. PPM was there most of the time I was there.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about it. What's yours?
PPM was nice to me when I was a talk show, but we took a bit of a hit when we added music. PPM is a great idea, but a shitty design. To have 200 men 18-49 in a city of 5 million have a PPM pager, that's a joke.
What do you think of the business these days?
I think it's funny watching the big companies kill their product themselves. Cutbacks may fix the $$ problem today, but the long term effects on the on air content will never get you outta the hole. Stations should be putting their focus on great content right now so these advertisers are in a position where they NEED the radio stations. Why would an advertiser want to advertise on a station that in a panic and doesn't even believe in their own product?
The economy was the best thing to happen to radio GM's. Now they will have an excuse not to spend. It will be years from now and they will still be pulling the economy card. These guy spent most of their high school years inside lockers, they don't know or understand programming. No such thing as cutting yourself to the top.
You actually syndicated your show in the past. Is that part of the plan with Alpha?
I don't think so. That's a question for them. I want to earn syndication. I didn't earn it before. Most of the syndicated shows are only there because of cost cutting. I want a station to actually want and enjoy my show.
Couple of final questions: looking back at your career who do you want to thank most? Best/worst advice you ever got?
This is a special list. Bill Keeler in Upstate New York got me into radio and taught me a whole bunch. I got into it because he made it seem so fun and easy. Tim Sabean and John Cook were there to keep me focused on the show and I really trust them. Of coarse, to have a line to Howard Stern and to be able to speak with him about bits and career things. Man, you can't get better than that.
As far as advice, there's no specific person that has ever said this to me but, I kinda follow the "follow your gut" approach.
Worst advice. To stop what I'm doing and come up with a likable on-air persona on the air. -Ol' Mike Oatman. He owned T95 in Wichita. I don't know why they hired me when they didn't want the guy on the tape.