The Free Beer & Hot Wings Show
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
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
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
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
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
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
HOT WINGS: It depends, but usually
ERIC ZANE: 5 AM
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
FREE BEER: I do!
ZANE: I did not know that!
WINGS: Who's Philip?
NOTE: HA HA>>
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
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
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
HOT WINGS: More porno.
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.
previous spotlight shows: