When the inimitable "Uncle" Ron Clay passed away in 1990, the management at WQMF-FM needed a capable hand to step in and keep things moving forward with their morning show along with Troy Roebuck and a cast of colorful characters.
Instead, they found Rocky Knight. And, like a guest who can't take a hint, he stuck around for 13 years. With the consolidation of radio stations into groups after the FCC deregulated the industry, a great number of jocks found themselves back in the real world with the rest of us. Rocky was one of them.
When WLRS adopted the "Everthing That Rocks" format a few months ago, they found themselves looking for someone who could help them make some gains in the rock radio ratings. Instead, they found Rocky Knight.
We kid because we love him.
LOU: So, Rocky…where’ve you been and what have you been doing?
ROCKY: Since Clear Channel fired me and began outsourcing 99.9% of their talent, I kinda swore off corporate radio. I longed for the days of Diamond John (Otting) when one family owned one radio station but alas, those days are over. I did a few things during my radio sabbatical, including an engineering technician for a company called MacTec. I'm trained and licensed to use a nuclear device for measuring ground density, tell me that's not scary. There was a lot of travelling/driving involved in that job and some long work days.
I was used to a hard 4 hour work day telling dirty jokes for a living. Then I was working in Ghent, Ky. supervising and testing concrete for a 300 feet smoke stack when a chunk of concrete missed my head by several feet, that's when I decided I was not Mr. Construction guy.
I kept my feet wet in local media by doing some fill in work for WAVE 3 Listens Live and went to work for HHGregg. I loved that job but they really expect you to work weekends and all the holidays. You haven't lived til you work retail on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). I'm much nicer to retail workers now.
Then the gods smiled and WLRS changed their format to "Everything that Rocks", a great mix of new music and classic rock. So, here I am getting up at 4 am again.
LOU: This is your 2nd stint at LRS in your career. What’s different about music in 2008 than it was before…in 1955?
ROCKY: OK, smarta**, it was '85 not '55 ... let's see, I was playing Def Leppard in '85 and played some this morning as well. As far as the new music goes, I have kids so I am hit with every type of music you can imagine, from Hannah Montana to Smashing Pumpkins. I think they're still singing about new love, lost love or "I can't get any love".
Except some bands for some reason have to scream it instead of singing it. But any band or artist that still writes their music and plays their own instruments are OK in my book.
LOU: What’s wrong with kids these days?
ROCKY: Other than a lot of them have enough ink on their body to publish the complete DC comic book collection, the kids are the same today. In fact, I think the kids today face more stress and worry more about the future than I did. Although, I still haven't figured out the pants half-way down the a**. In my day, that was called hand-me-downs. It's the parents I question these days but that's another story.
LOU: We’ve always heard very colorful characters on your shows in the past. We know Jimmy Stuart is dead…so are you channeling him through Miss Cleo (who also might be dead) or who is your voice guy?
ROCKY: Yes, Jimmy is back with me (although the phone number to heaven is extremely long), along with Phil from Porno World and a few other characters. That talent is provided by Tony Wolfe (www.tonywolfe.com). A few of the other characters were done by Troy and Dwight Witten who are on competing stations, so might be awhile before they join the show.
And I miss having those guys in the studio, I'm solo in the control room, that's been the hardest thing to adjust to.
LOU: What’s on TV at 4 a.m. when you get up….and the rest of us are sleeping?
ROCKY: There is nothing on at 4 a.m. and as far as I'm concerned, not a lot on at 4 p.m. either. I hit the computer and start prepping for the show by just seeing what's going on in town. There are always idiots in the news both local and national and I always seemed to be drawned to these stories.
LOU: Don’t you have something like….10 kids?
ROCKY: Last count 5 but remember, you never know when you might need a kidney or something, odds improve of getting one.
LOU: Why don’t people like to drive across the bridge to Louisville from Southern Indiana (and vice versa)? We don’t get it.
ROCKY: My first response is to say, "Look at the damn thing, I think I've seen small cars fall through the pot holes." But I'm a Hoosier by marriage and don't have a problem crossing the bridges (unless you guys put up a toll, then we have a problem). My wife on the other hand would rather have root canal than drive over. I think it's because your always blowing up buildings and changing street directions. We can drive our tractors anywhere we want here.
You can find WLRS on the air at 105.1FM and online at www.wlrs.com
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