In the spotlight....

The Free Beer & Hot Wings Show

Grand Rapids

Interviewed by Steve Harmon

Harmon: What would a BFD or Bootcamp be without this show? Boring! To Grand Rapids and:

Free Beer & Hot Wings

Cast: There are 5

Free Beer: Will relate everything on earth to an obscure basketball player from the 1980's.

Hot Wings: Will relate everything on earth to a car made by General Motors.

Eric Zane: Will relate everything on earth to his penis.

Producer Joe: Will make us use the delay at least twice a week.

Steve: Will tell you things about Apple you didn't care to know.

Harmon: How long have you guys been together?

FREE BEER: Hot Wings and I <Free Beer> have known each other since college. We have done the show together since 1997. Zane joined in 2001. Joe in 2005 as producer/stunt guy. Steve is a second producer who joined us last year. I guess I'm the lead, Hot Wings is the brains of the show, and Zane is the heart. That's a short way of saying it. Those roles can all be changed depending on what's going on I suppose.

Harmon: One person is in a bad mood, the rest of you <do what to him/her?>

FREE BEER: We typically don't stand for it. Depends on the reason. Ultimately, there is some self policing done by the person (it was me today!) to get it back right. We have all been the buzz kill, and we have all had our buzz killed. Either way it sucks, and it benefits everyone to have fun, and typically we're pretty good at remembering that.

HOT WINGS: It depends on who it is and why they're in a bad mood. If someone died, we leave 'em alone. If they're pissed because they got made fun of, we'll make more fun of them. You know…everything is situational.

ERIC ZANE: That depends on the person. For me personally I try to ignore as much as possible. However I'm trying to get in the habit of expressing calmly that I'm not happy when a bad mood makes its way onto the airwaves.

Harmon: How often do you send Joe on the road?

FREE BEER: The big trips like the one to LA for Lindsey is few and far between, but likely more often now. He does stunts in one of our other markets once a month, labeled his "World Stunt Tour".

ERIC ZANE: Only when there is a natural need to do it. Like when an idea comes up naturally rather than forcing him out because we think we have to.

HOT WINGS: Not really that often, yet. Sending him out on longer trips is really a new element that we've been exploring because he's really good at it. He's awesome at getting attention and says really funny things under pressure, so we're really hoping to utilize him more for longer serials like "The Lindsay Lohan Double Rainbow Freedom Trip". We understand he stole a breakfast for you there!

Harmon: He did, waffles! How long in your base city now?

FREE BEER: We've been in Grand Rapids, our home base for 6 years. We've been on at WCHR on the Jersey Shore for 8! Those are the longest markets.

Harmon: Cool things about your markets?

FREE BEER: Grand Rapids is great because it's home, or at at least close to it. Not many people clamoring to move to Michigan these days, but its where we are all from, and Grand Rapids is as good as it gets in state.

HOT WINGS: That's a tough one. All of the markets have something cool about them. Springfield, Illinois is my favorite, though because they're the most likely to give us a report on a loose cow.

ERIC ZANE: For me, I get most excited thinking about all of the talented entertainers and famous people who may be listening in Nashville.

Harmon: Was there a radio star you loved growing up listening to?

FREE BEER: I grew up listening to Dean and Roger on WIOG (In Houston now I think) doing the breakfast whip and the wheel of meat. There wasn't a lot of personality radio growing up where I did. I've been far more influenced by guys that have treated us well at Bitboard like Jeff Detrow and Paul Castronovo. I've learned more from those guys over beers and burgers with those guys and others like them than anyplace else I can think of.

HOT WINGS: I grew up in the Detroit area and loved Dick Purtan. There was also a show on briefly called "Chapin and McBean" on WCSX that cracked me up and helped fuel my desire. I know nothing of either Chapin or McBean or whatever happened to them, so they might both be dead now.

ERIC ZANE: Yes. These radio stars helped influence my career choice. They were all Detroit radio people. First and foremost, Ken Calvert. I interned for him when I was 20. Also in no order, Jim Johnson, George Baier, Steve Kostan, Karen Savelly, Lynn Woodison, Doug Podell, Arthur Penhallow. Later on, Drew Lane and Mike Clark.

Harmon: What's your biggest challenge?

FREE BEER: The hardest thing for me is remembering how much I love doing this. The syndication, the business side, and the extra things that come up get in the way of doing radio sometimes. Occasionally, that gets at me and I lose perspective.

HOT WINGS: Becoming President.

ERIC ZANE: Trying to understand the logic of radio people who decide to yank our show off the air after giving it a meager three months.

Harmon: What time do you get into the studio?

FREE BEER: I get there at 4 every morning.

HOT WINGS: It depends, but usually around 4:15.


Harmon: How much web work do you do for the show now?

FREE BEER: Hours. Probably not more than anyone else, but hours. Typically 90 minutes at home in the afternoon, plus whatever happens at the station before and after the show.

HOT WINGS: I do almost no webwork. Steve handles most of that stuff, although I DO write a blog at least twice a year and update my bio every three years.

ERIC ZANE: Very little

Harmon: Did you know Philip's Daily Dose includes videos for your website?


ERIC ZANE: I did not know that!

HOT WINGS: Who's Philip?


Harmon: How many promos a day and who decides what runs?

FREE BEER: Home market we run promos every hour we aren't on. We typically do 3 rotating best of day/coming up tomorrow promos. The producers typically pick. Other markets where the show is on, we're lucky if we get mentioned after 10a.

HOT WINGS: It varies by station. Our home station rotates 2 - 3 promos every hour throughout the day, but some of the stations don't air any. Those stations piss us off.

ERIC ZANE: We do two or three and I'm not sure who decides what runs.

Harmon: How are you using Facebook?

FREE BEER: More and more all the time. When we talk about anything now, there is an update on facebook. Talk about someone, post a photo. A topic, send it out. Its great because everyone jumps when they get something new on facebook.

HOT WINGS: Steve updates it constantly during the show and throughout the day. When we talk about something, he'll post a link to it, whether it's a picture, video or story. If we're looking for calls about a subject, he'll post that along with the topic and phone number. Things like that.

ERIC ZANE: I have a page, but i mostly use it to see how fat my high school classmates have gotten.

Harmon: What's your biggest challenge?

HOT WINGS: Getting enough sleep.

ERIC ZANE: Finding time to fit work into my busy schedule.

Harmon: Has your prep changed as the show grows?

FREE BEER: I'm not sure if its changed or we have. We spend a lot more time looking for audio and reacting to that than we used to. Its rare for us to do something based solely of a 1 sheeter anymore.

HOT WINGS: My personal prep has stayed pretty consistent. I'm constantly on Gawker, USAToday, Popular Mechanics, Jalopnik, Jezebel…things like that.

ERIC ZANE: It hasn't changed at all.

Harmon: If you are not PPM are you getting ready in some way?

FREE BEER: Nashville is our first market we've had PPM in. It started June 1st. We'll probably be off and fired by Christmas, especially now that Bert's on in town. We hired Randy Lane a year ago to help us navigate those waters, I hope we are on the right track!

ERIC ZANE: I am not getting ready for PPM in any way.

Harmon: Changes or tweaks for Bitboard you might like?

ERIC ZANE: I have no changes or tweaks for Bitboard.

HOT WINGS: More porno.

<<PHILIP NOTE: Now see?  If you bothered to know me, you'd know where to find that on here!  There's LOTS of it!>>

Harmon: The best BitBoard bit we ever tried was....."

FREE BEER: It's been a long time, but 3 Eyed Turtle from Paul and Young Ron was a bona fide winner!

HOT WINGS: Christ. I can't remember what we did this morning. You expect me to remember the best thing we ever found on BitBoard? OK. Well, if I had to narrow it down, it would have to be War of the Roses. That's not true. I hate that bit.


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