Lima News, September 9, 1999, Page 35

Lima News

September 09, 1999

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Issue date: Thursday, September 9, 1999

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Lima News (Newspaper) - September 9, 1999, Lima, Ohio t w Thursday, Sept. 9, 1999 The Lima NewsRadio listeners can't get enough ofBOB & TOM SHOW /•»fiBy BRAD HARVEYSpecial to The Lima News_ INDIANAPOLIS -You can forgive Tom Griswold for yawning. It's Friday afternoon, and as one-half of the ^dicated radio duo Bob & Tom, Griswold has already clocked in a full day's worth of work. Up since 4 a.m. he's put another Bob & Tom show to bed, conducted an interview with The Associated Press, and planned some of next week's shows with the Bob & Tom staff. Right now, he's calling from his car phone while en route from his show's home base of Indianapolis to Terre Haute, Indiana, where he's scheduled to give another interview at a local TV station. And later that night, he'll perform three sets of live music with the Bob & Tom band. All during the fourteenth hottest July in recorded weather history. "I'm driving throu^i a cornfield now and it's hotter than..." he notes between more yawns. It's a grueling schedule that Griswold approaches with an "I'll sleep when I'm dead" attitude. "It's tou^ gettingup at four in the morning; but onoeyou're up and going, it's fine," he says. "You've got the audience, the took It couldn't be better. "I was at a big radio convention in Minneapolis and t^ere was a guy get-tingan award who'd been in the radio business for 40years. He said he hates getting up at 3 in the morning, but evfeiy day, halfway into work, he can't wait to get in front of the microphone. That really is the way to be." If success equals satisfaction, then Griswold should be one of the most satisfied beings on the planet. In Indianapolis where the show has originated from radio station WFBQ-PM for the last 16 years, it's estimated that one in five people are listening daily to Griswold and his on-air partner Bob Kevoian (pronounced ca-VOY-en). Since going into syndication in January of 1995, the show can currently be heard on 90 radio stations nationwide, including WQTL in Ottawa (106.3 FM), and around the world via the Internet at www.bobandtom.com Both Griswold and Kevoian have won Billboard Magazine's "Radio Personalities Of The Year" award numerous times and have received three Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (radio's equivalent of an Oscar), more than any other radio personalities in histoiy. Their most dubious honor may be getting voted ly a reader's poll in a national trade magazine as "The Most Stolen-Prom Show In America" Five daj® eadi week, people tuning into the Bob & Tom show can hear, in addition to news and sports, hilarious parody, razor-shaip ad-libs, skewered socdd commentary, advice, and a variety of guest performers, musicians, and comedians. Most of all, people can eavesdropThe "Bob & Tom Show" can be heard locally on Ottawa/Flndlay radio station WQTL, 106-3 FM. It airs from 6 aan. to 10 sun. on the principal stars of the show and follow what Griswold terms "the soap opera of our lives." There is Griswold, the iconoclast with an opinion on eveiythings Bob Kevoian, the unflappable bon vivant ever at the ready with a timely quip; sports aimouncer Chick McGee, the neurotic but lovable man-child; and news producer Kristi Lee, the show's female conscience (the show's other female, TV meteorologist Pat Car-lini, is a semi-regular). A^ether discussing Griswold's latest outing with his fbur children, Kristi Lee's love life, or McGee's comically tragic adolescence, the well never seems to run dry. "There's a family atmosphere to the show as well as the soap opera aspect," explains Griswold. "People know about your livfes. They Imow the way we interact on the air. Thgr like some of us and th^r don't like some of us. We hope they stick around long enou^ to see what the next phase of the soap opera is." By Griswold's own account, neither he nor Kevoian would have dreamed such success was possible when they first met in Petoskey, Mich., in 1980^ , Kevoian was ju^ gettingMarted in the radio busing after slogging around the couhtry^as a touring musician. Paging Kevdto in a bar as someone witii Griswold asked to coriie byjiteTOito's office to look throu^l sotfe of the industry trade mag^mes for work. Two days later; GriswoldwashiredatKevoian's station as programdirector. The two began gue^ingon eadi otii^s shows, much to the consteniation of the station's general manager. "We were working on a small AM statioit ic^jiQ nutter how good you were,yi^;6r]e ^ going to h^ vtM youw^(Mig'';ecal]sGrisw<^ pair itkH^ed on to a larger 100,000-watt ^ station in the same r^on, and according to Griswold, "that's when people actually got to hear us." While prepackaged jokes and caimed zsrty bits bought fix)m com-ecly syndication services are the norm in ra^Oj Griswold claims that he and Kevoian were n^r forced by their management to use anything other than their own inateriflL In fed^ their material was good enou^ to steal, as evidenced when the duo nearly came to l^al blows with a cometfy service t^ had imwittiti^y filch^ one of their gags. Griswold once recalled watching with amazement as a New York City jock appeared on a national television show and claimed credit for a skit about disgraced preacher Jim Bakker that had abready ap^ peared on a Bob & Tom CD. Ultimate^, it was this rash of artistic thievery that spurred the two to take the Bob & Tom show national. "It was the impetus for us to say, 'Hqr, if we're getting stolen by all these people, why don't we ptit the show out there and let evetybo(fy get it fit>m the original source and see if it work,'" says Griswold. One of the show's most brilliant re-curringpieces features Chick McGee in the role of Mr. Obvious, a combination Mr. Rogers/Bob Vila who offers handyman advice to the most idiotic of callers. Producer/writer Dean Metcalf usually plays the doltish listener who can't quite grasp Mr. Obvious' admonishments that the building contractor he's hired and has just cau^t naked on top of his wife is not using her to measure the hei^t of his doorway. Forlheir song satires, Griswold and staff work with Bob & Tom musical director Steve Allee at a nearl^r recording studio. Lampoons of pop culture icons like Ma^ & Le^ and a notorious doo-wop number about love behind bars remain popular fixtures on the show. (In ad(£-tion to writing and performing witti the Bob & Tom band, Griswold also shares co-production credits with AUee on comedy albums by such Bob & Tom guests as Heywood Banks, Tim Wilson, John Fbx, Jimmy Dore and Todd Yohn.) Then there is the p^ of the program that is invented literallyr on the spot. When staffers Metcalf Ricky Rydell, Steve SalgeandMaricPatrick telephone in as Larry King, Bob Dole, Tom Blowchow, Bill Clinton, George Bush, The Pope, Ted Kermed^, Howard (}osell or as any other number of bizarre characters, much of what they do is ad-libbed or written white the ^ow is in progress. Griswold prefers it that w£^. "We don't meet together before the show to talk about what we're going to do because we want that on-air spontaneity," he says, creditingabt of his pre-show prqiar^on with watching CNN and getting a good night's sle^. With so much of the show's content anchored (detractors mi^t say "mired") in raunchyjokes and sexual irmuendo, Griswold and crew have drawn their &ir share of controvert over the years. Decency crusader , John Price once condemned the show as unfit for children. An attor-nQT filed what Griswold terms "lit-er^y a four-foot stack of documents with the FCC, claiming that we were violating FCC r^ulations more than one time per minute." The ensuing l^ial drama gave the Bob & Tom show front-page publicity in Indiaiup)lis and rented in thar station be^ fined "for four pieces out of the thousands of things t^ guy protested. Ironically, oni^ one of tile pieces was ours." D^ite such problems, the pc^-lariiy of the Bob & Tom show continues to confoimd and contradict the moral zealots. Brisdc sales of all 24 Bob & Torn CDs, featuring skits and songs taken from the show, have raised over $4.5 million thal^ iiie duo intunihavedoriatedtoloiaddiiBities. The show has sumv^ m its present form for 16 years now; but £hm • have been blips alongjlie w^. Chick McGee left the show briery in 1994 for a six-month solo stint at a station in San Di^, confessing later upon his return that he had to try maldng it on his own. Kristi Lee has also left and come back. Thou^ on the air Griswold jok-in^y refers to their sabbaticals as "Qiideand Kristi tryingtofind themselves," he admits that such dianges are obviousb^ unsettling but surviv-able. "It's not a show like Saturday Ni^t Live vrfiere you can kjse evay-body but still k€«p the name and « move on," to says, "^^'ve done the show with other people for {oeOybng periods of time acbially. ... I'm not looking forward to the next change, but I think we could carry OIL " \ ;

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