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In the spotlight....

Ron & Karen

Interviewed by Steve Harmon

Over the next few months we will re-visit some of our Bitboard Shows and get updates on the cast and their lives.. One of the great things about Bitboard has been the chance to exchange ideas with great air-talent who have stayed strong in their market for long periods of time.. like Ron and Karen in Memphis at FM100
Harmon:  Refresh us on how you found each other and came together on air.. 
Ron Karen and I got together almost 15years ago. She was working in promotions and seemed like a fairly normal person and she wanted to be on the air. We were looking for an additional person to add some new twists to the show. So Karen joined me and Steve Conley together for the next 14 years!  amazing 


Harmon:  Describe the show and cast here in 2008..

Ron: The cast today is Ron Olson, Karen Perrin and Kevin Drummond (Brett, Wonder Pony, Razorback). Kevin runs the board and edits the show like nobody else. He is the best I've ever been around. He gets its. He understands flow and really does laugh naturally at some of the stuff that goes down. We have Marla that does traffic and reacts with a lot of our junk. Karen did news at one time but we dropped it last year. At first I didn't get the dropping of the news idea, but I've grown to love it now. It gives us more room to have fun and still play lots of songs. of course we talk about all the big news stories of the day. The cast is great. Karen is like my best friend, when she is gone its not the same. we kind of fight thru all the adversities together.  

This is your hometown, how cool to get to work it.  How long in your market?

Ron Memphis is my hometown> I grew up here and started at WMC FM100 in 1974 when I was a junior in college at Memphis State. I left in 1979 to program WHRK and do afternoons thru 1983. WHRK was the first urban fm in the market. It was bigger than big. Gigantic urban mammer jammer. Four really amazing years where I learned a lot about radio and life in the real world . I started back at FM100 in 1983 with Terry McKeever and haven't looked back. That's a lot of time in one market for anybody. I know every inch and every player in the city. Sometimes I wonder "what if"...What if I'd gone to Dallas or what if I'd taken the Warner Brothers gig or What if ? You could play that game all day. I married a girl from here. All my family lives here. I even have two burial plots here ready to go. Its a great city with lots of heritage and some pretty good basketball not to mention the Bar B Q.

Harmon:  What time do you get to the studio?  Has your prep changed over the years?

Ron:  We get to work at 5am and go on the air at 5:30 Monday thru Friday and we do a best of show for Saturday from 7am-10am. Show prep has really changed over the years. We use Bitboard and Audioclipboard every day (when I can remember to report) The audio stuff is priceless. We also get the complete sheet and read newspapers. Plus all the you tube junk. There are plenty of sources coupled up with our real life stuff. Karen has two kids. Brett has a baby due next month. My daughter is 24. So there are lots of real sources for show prep.

Harmon:  How has the budget cuts and financial mood altered your show?

Ron: Budgets are tight. We wish there was more cash to promote us. We wish there was more TV. More billboards. All of that . But it ain't there. So quit worrying about things you can do nothing about and make the best of what you got. Take advantage of every chance to be on TV or in front of a crowd of ten thousand. Be there. Be everywhere. It's your gig. You can't wait on the station. Go get it..  


Harmon:  Give an example of one of the many days you "owned one of your markets".

Ron:  A few years ago Officer Don Overton was killed in the line of duty. So our morning show spearheaded an effort to rally the community to help this policeman and his wife that was nine months pregnant.

It was a ground roots operation. What do we do? How do we do it? We just jumped in the next day with one fellow officer on the air with us and no game plan. We called it ""28 hours for Officer Overton". It was pure magic, everyone helped...police and fire guys and gals...the TV station went live around the clock with coverage...salespeople got involved. We started with one former police partner that talked real slow and methodical and ended up 28 hours later presenting a check for $300,000 plus to his widow and family on the air. We did it four more times over the course of the next five years. That's how people remember you. It didn't cost us a thing.

At ten o'clock or whenever you get off, how do you know it was a "good" show?

Ron:  You know it's been a good show when the time flies and your are mentally exhausted in a weird way. Like it takes a half hour to decompress

"The best BitBoard idea we ever tried was....."

Ron: Love Bitboard: I love it cause it gives me three or four nuggets a week that nobody else has. Whether its a phone number of the hotdog eating champ in Seattle or the mother of 25 kids in Oklahoma . It's contests and content. It's a spark on a day when I got nothing.

Secret to long-term success in radio is?

Ron: Secret to success: Stay on top of it. Stop bitching about programming. Love on your salespeople. Have low expectations. I remember when I was 20 years old, I use to think that if I made $12,000 bucks a year that would be about all I needed. I have been happy ever since.


previous spotlight shows: