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NT: Do you have a sense of finally getting your due?
L.: Interesting question. I don't want to say yes because that sounds too smitty. But I will say this: I never really knew if I truly was part of the music industry. But I woke up a few days ago and realized, "I am the music industry." And I don't mean that in a snotty way. The industry has been my life. I worked hard, I was out of work many times, and, yes, it is nice to be rewarded. But I'm not going to become complacent and comfortable, because I'm not like that. You have to understand something--I'm not a young kid, and I've never owned a suit. I've been a fucking alternative guy my entire life. That's what I am, and that's what I'll stay.
I caught up with Larry Mac on August 31 at Club Rio, where he was in the deejay booth for "alternative night," spinning "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and making laid-back "Remember, nooooo slam dancing" announcements when kids got too frisky on the floor. Mac said he plans to make KUKQ "more streetwise, to get more visible out in public. We're low-budget radio. We're broke like most of our listeners, so we're going to get out there and promote ourselves and relate to them and let them know we're the bright speck on the AM wasteland."
So, Larry, can two alternative stations survive in Phoenix, or will the market eventually wean it down to one? "There's only one alternative radio station right now," he says. "We're the only station that doesn't worry about playing hits."
Mac characterized L. as "my mentor," but said some unspecified minor changes in format are coming down the pipe. "Obviously, I'm not Jonathan L. . . . so there will be some differences, but we will still be the most out-there station on the dial."
As to the future of the station, Mac said management has "assured us full, continued support" in the wake of L.'s departure. "Of course, that doesn't mean indefinitely. In radio, everything is precarious.