On The Radio

Greg Kihn Radio DJWhen I was a kid growing up in Baltimore I loved to listen to the radio. We had colorful jive-talking DJ’s on the soul stations- Fat Daddy on WSID in Om-poppa-diddy, Baltimore City, and Commander Hot Rod on WEBB. These guys took Wolfman Jack a step further and really knew how to light up the airwaves. To this day, I still remember Fat Daddy’s commercials- “You’ll scream and holler as you spend your dollar!” It stayed with me.

After the Beatles changed the world and I became a musician, I found myself in radio stations all the time. By the time I started having hit records, I was already a veteran. As we toured the country, I got to know many of the legendary disk jockeys around the country, and I kept my ears open. I knew that the key to successful broadcasting was connecting with the people. That’s what all these guys had in common.

I got into radio at just the right time in my career. The music scene had started to dry up, I was sick of traveling, the record business had changed, and the digital revolution was just around the corner. I just happened to be on a classic rock station in Silicon Valley when the whole thing blew up. Karmic? Yeah, I think so.

I’ve always been relaxed and conversational on the radio. My style is really no style. I’m not slick and smooth like some DJ’s, but I do bring a hefty amount of musical knowledge to the party. As long as I don’t have to do any complex math problems, I’m all right.

A month before I took the KFOX job, I was at a charity event and I happened to sit next to John Madden at dinner. We got to talking and I mentioned that I might get into radio. He told me, “Do it, jump on it. Be the first. Someday all DJ’s will be ex-musicians.” I took his advice and he was right.

Having been on the road and lived the life, I feel qualified to talk about things most DJ’s might not feel comfortable with. I have a true passion for the music. I love talking about the recording experience, and songwriting, and all the other things that make classic rock so appealing. It’s my life. I put it all on the line every morning on KFOX in San Francisco.

I’m not exactly sure what it is that I do on the radio, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one doing it. I was recently asked how I was different from other radio personalities. A better question might be- how am I the same? The answer is I’m not. I’m not like anybody. I can’t be. I’m me.