by Jessica Northey
Tony Randall and Kris Rochester have been in the radio business since they were teens in Alabama, both getting their start in 1986; Tony, 18 as an overnight DJ and Kris, 16 running American Top-40 on weekends and anything else they would let him do.
Living less than 20 miles apart, the two would not actually meet face to face until 1991.
They immediately hit it off and decided to put together a morning show. Shortly thereafter, the duo was hired at WHMA-FM where the two inexperienced youngsters had great success, *just being themselves.*
Ten months later they were offered the morning job at country music monster KSON-FM in San Diego, CA. “I first heard Tony and Kris on an “aircheck” from a small station in Gadsden, Alabama. And to be honest, they were a little rough around the edges. But I also heard something magic about their chemistry with one another and a real, honest connection they have with the Country Music audience. In fact, Tony and Kris are probably more aware and engaged with their audience than most morning show personalities today…in addition to being truly funny together, that connection with the
audience is a real strength . That’s what convinced me to bring them to San Diego,”says Mike Shepard, former VP of Programming / Operation at KSON.
Tony and Kris had a 10 year run at KSON, winning an ACM award for Major Market Broadcast Personalities of the Year and nominations for many other awards including a CMA. After leaving KSON, they spent 5 more years in San Diego at KUSS, all the while dreaming & planning to one day bring their show to a nationwide audience!
After putting the pieces together & getting partners in place, 2009 saw the official birth of Tony and Kris Productions, LLC, initially partnering with Cumulus Broadcasting and under the watchful eyes of Jan Jeffries. The company has since welcomed United Stations Radio Networks as official syndicator for the show.
It is easy to see how driven and focused these two are on being the most
successful Morning Show in syndication in the country format. They tend to
march to the beat of their own drum, being firmly focused on the listener and the listeners’ needs, be it interviewing celebrities in their Nashville studio or how they run promotions. “We don’t swing like a clock pendulum, overreacting to research patterns that can change month to month. We have always essentially looked to our listeners for crowd sourcing. We would rather be trailblazers and try new things and give them a chance to develop organically”, says Kris. “Not to say research isn’t essential” augments Tony, “but there had to be a human factor of gut instinct to make this work.”
They are two of the hardest working guys in the business, always moving, shaking and finding new ways to connect with audience and win. Their ability to take on new ideas and concepts, then execute them quickly, correctly and consistently is what makes their team one to watch.
In this time of syndication and voice-tracking these guy know that “a show
needs to feel live and local” first and foremost. Topics need to make sense & relate to the audience. Kris points out that “people can get their traffic, news and whatever on their phone. What they want is to be entertained. Being on Music Row allows us to bring the biggest stars to their city on a regular basis.” Tony adds, “We’re developing a relationship with listeners in each market via social media.”
“It’s been said that syndicated country morning shows don’t work in local markets…I’m betting Tony and Kris prove that theory wrong“, adds Mike Shepard, now VP Client Strategies, Pinnacle Media Worldwide.
What I have discovered monitoring and getting to know Tony and Kris is that these guys make a great team because of their differences and how that comes out on the radio. With Kris it can be hard to tell if he’s serious or joking, and he can be a little sarcastic in a fun way. Tony, on the other hand, is straight forward and plays the devil’s advocate to Kris’ big plans to take over the world.
“There’s no better way to spend a work day than with a guy who makes you laugh at every turn for almost 20 years. I feel extremely fortunate to have locked up a great partner who also happens to be a great friend,” says Randall of partner Kris.
With a morning show it’s always been hard to tell what the “secret sauce” that gives it that special flavor is, but you can always tell when it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. There are many theories, revelations and proclamations, but the “what you see is what you get” factor with these two paired with the constant attempt to humanize their brand and keep radio “real” is what gives them magic every morning.
Kris, usually the king of the one-liners with a sharp tongued wit respectfully praises Randall, “Working with Tony is always fun, even during the tough times. I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else. He makes me laugh every day and wants the job done right. He’s like 6 feet tall to me.” (ok minus that last part.)
Tony Randall was born in Ohio, & now lives in Nashville with his wife of almost 20 years, Candy. They have 3 children. Lexi, the oldest, is in college in San Diego. Their son Geoffrey is a junior in high school, and youngest Meredith is a freshman. “We’ve always loved animals and at one time had 6 dogs, 4 cats, a chinchilla, a snake & horses. I’m happy to say we’ve whittled it down to just a couple dogs now. I’m a sucker for a sad looking dog & would probably bring home every stray I saw if I didn’t think Candy would kill me,” admits Randall.
As for Bachelor Kris, “I don’t have any kids yet, but want them someday. My
nephew is the greatest and I brag on him like he was my own child. I have my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and of course Super Nephew in Alabama. My mom is on the show a lot so you’ll get to know her pretty well.” When Kris is not working he is working out, writing music and enjoying the Nashville nightlife. “ I like to hang with friends, love live music, like to box and run. Football is awesome, playing and watching. If you like college football, just know I’m a big Alabama Crimson Tide fan.”
You can find Tony and Kris on:
WLXX Lexington, KY 92.9 The Bear, WWFF Huntsville, AL 93.3 The Wolf, KAYD
Beaumont,TX KD101, KTOP Topeka, KS 102-9 KTOP, WPCK Green Bay, WI Kicks
104.9, WKAK Albany, GA K Country 104, WKOR Columbus, MS K94.9, KYKX
Longview-Tyler TX 105.7 KYKX, WHMA Anniston, AL The Big 95, WNVW Burnham,
PA Star Country 96.7.
Learn more at TonyandKris.com. They are both bloggers and you’ll likely get more info than you could ever want about their lives!
How come I don’t here you guys on 92.9 lex anymore?
These guys have certainly achieved getting and keeping the audience involved. They have become great Twitter friends. I can’t wait for you two to come back to Huntsville! Thanks for the help with the Tornado Relief effort guys, you are the best!