A Band of Screw-Ups at KWSS-FM Work at Waging a 100-Watt Revolution

Brad Pfirrman slaps the snooze button for the third and final time. It's just after 5:30 a.m., which means he needs to drag his ass down to the gas station around the corner from his Glendale home. On arrival, he buys a shot of Redline — an energy drink so potent most reputable stores card kids trying to buy it — and a Rockstar tallboy as a chaser. Sure, he could have bought the caffeine late last night when he made his way home from a long night working at his family's party-planning business, but the trip is another way to shake off the sleepiness before people start showing up at his house.

After Brad gets back home, he slides behind a laptop in a makeshift studio occupying the space where his living room should be. The sky still is pitch black when the scruffy 31-year-old in an old, black T-shirt and backward ball-cap morphs into Beef Vegan, a DJ broadcasting a show called The Morning Infidelity.

Beef's officially in control when Broken Bells' "The High Road" hits the airwaves of low-power station KWSS 106.7 FM. The song starts playing on a computer at Beef's house before traveling through a central brain at the station's office a few miles away and over to a radio tower on a North Phoenix mountain. He won't actually turn on his microphone until about 6:30, when his show's sassy, pretty news girl, Lisa Short, nicknamed "Shorty," and his sunglasses-wearing sidekick "Big Buddha," (even Shorty doesn't know his real name) arrive.

Brad "Beef Vegan" Pfirrman, host of KWSS' The Morning Infidelity
Brad "Beef Vegan" Pfirrman, host of KWSS' The Morning Infidelity
Local band Kinch and former MTV personality Tom Green dropped by The Morning Infidelity on the same day in January.
Local band Kinch and former MTV personality Tom Green dropped by The Morning Infidelity on the same day in January.

The show's opening dialogue isn't quite Cronkite.

"Hey, we're on — are we on?" Beef asks.

"Yeah, we're on," says Buddha.

The Morning Infidelity is classic morning radio. If you've heard Howard Stern or one of the ubiquitous "morning zoo" shows, you get the idea. There's a light mix of music, skits, contests, and news — the stuff commuters want to zone out to while fighting traffic.

Beef sounds like a young Wolfman Jack and has an undeniable knack for delivering crude one-liners and currying favor with minor celebrities who stop by the studio, including former MTV personality Tom Green, by setting them up to show off. He starts this morning with a little good-natured flirting with Shorty and promising a great show before riffing on the sorry state of a Burger King where he ate with his 4-year-old daughter. There's more music: "He's What I Want" by local favorites and former New Times cover kids The Love Me Nots ("Garage A Go-Go," August 24, 2006) and a funny plug from a John McCain impersonator.

Next, it's time for the news — more riffing on current events. On this morning, the world is captivated by the story of Ted Williams, a homeless man in Ohio who became a YouTube sensation because of his "golden voice" then eventually scored a job as an announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Like I said before, the good news for him is that [he got] a job," Beef quips on air. "The bad news is, if he [had gotten] a job in radio, he'd probably make less money than he made panhandling on the side of the road."

It's all standard radio fare — pretty professional, considering the resources involved and that it's broadcast out of some dude's house in Glendale. It's also the sort of thing you used to hear every morning on a dozen local radio stations. Not anymore.

There are still a few of these kind of shows around — Holmberg's Morning Sickness on KUPD, Johnjay and Rich on KISS, Tim and Willie on KMLE — but morning radio in Phoenix is nothing like it was a decade ago.

Drive-time shows used to be flagship programming for mainstream stations. The stakes were high in this time slot, since ratings hit their daily peak during the 7 a.m. hour on weekdays as commuters tuned in on their way to work. But shows like this — at least when they were done at a professional level — also had high overhead, given the manpower involved and the expenses of promoting personalities in hyper-competitive marketplaces.

So most of the big boys have bowed out of the game, including KEXX 103.9, the closest thing KWSS has to a competitor. These days, there's a low-rent reproduction of the classic morning show from the unpaid crew of Beef, Shorty, Buddha, and a fresh-faced kid they call "Emo Tom," who looks up questions Beef yells out and does minor production work. Today, Emo (real name: Tom Bogardus) is tasked with converting old songs from the MySpace page of Beef's old band, Gravy Blue, into something that can be played on the air so everyone can have a good laugh. Tomorrow, he might be settling a bet between Beef and Shorty over what some big word means or finding an unflattering photo of Miley Cyrus.

Beef's shabby home studio has four microphones, three computers, two threadbare armchairs, and a beat-up coffee table topped with a fresh copy of High Times. The show's crew interviews whatever guests they can wrangle up, including a few show-biz B-listers, like comedian Adam Carolla (who later went on a five-minute rant on his podcast about what a douchebag Beef was) and Tom Wilson, best known as "Biff" from Back to the Future. They awkwardly put seemingly every caller on the air and play five local bands every morning as part of a listener-picked countdown, even when the bands are rap-metal acts that don't fit their otherwise indie format.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
30 comments
Guest
Guest

No mention of KUKQ at all?

justareader
justareader

I'm a fan of the station, but this article is garbage. Maybe the author should have "sneaked' into a few classes at NAU. Please re-submit to an editor. Yikes, New Times.

S!ick
S!ick

This sounds like a station I should be working, and want to be, on...do they have any openings?

Edmonds and FosterTechtalkRadioThe Tech Buzz

linkiss
linkiss

??? http://soozone.com???Wholesale all kinds of world brand shoes,jeans,t-shirts,bikini,beach

pants,handbags,wallets,sunglasses,belt,caps,watches etc..┴┬┴┬/ ̄\_/ ̄\┬┴┬┴▏  ▏▔▔▔\┴┬┴/\ /     ﹨┬┴∕    /   /  ) ! !┬┴▏         ▔█◤┴◢██◣      \__/┬█████◣      /┴████████████◣◢████████████▆▄◢███████████▆▄ █◤◢██◣◥███████◤\◥◢████ ████████◤  \┴█████ ██████◤     ﹨┬│   │█████◤       ▏┴│   │  ▏┬∕   ∕    /▔▔▔\    ∕*∕___/﹨   ∕      \ /\┬┴┬┴┬┴\    \_     ﹨/ 

guest
guest

Most people in radio do it because they don't know what else to do? Try running your own business behind it, getting and keeping long term sponsors, writing and fulfilling contracts. I don't sit in my skivvies and do my show on the fly. And YES I'm on 106.7, too. Oh, Gassman's not a burnout - but I do think that Beef needs mo meat in his dog!

linkiss
linkiss

Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recentlylaunched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionableand welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary,welcome to :===== www. soozone.com ========T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14New era cap $10

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

Tanktruthaboutlies
Tanktruthaboutlies

Thats awesome!!! Did an interview as Truth About Lies a few years ago when they were way out east!! Basically a few miles away from Florence. Good to see the word is getting out.. Get em Beef!!!

Tank

linkiss
linkiss

??? http://soozone.com???Wholesale all kinds of world brand shoes,jeans,t-shirts,bikini,beach

pants,handbags,wallets,sunglasses,belt,caps,watches etc..┴┬┴┬/ ̄\_/ ̄\┬┴┬┴▏  ▏▔▔▔\┴┬┴/\ /     ﹨┬┴∕    /   /  ) ! !┬┴▏         ▔█◤┴◢██◣      \__/┬█████◣      /┴████████████◣◢████████████▆▄◢███████████▆▄ █◤◢██◣◥███████◤\◥◢████ ████████◤  \┴█████ ██████◤     ﹨┬│   │█████◤       ▏┴│   │  ▏┬∕   ∕    /▔▔▔\    ∕*∕___/﹨   ∕      \ /\┬┴┬┴┬┴\    \_     ﹨/ 

TheFabulousOne
TheFabulousOne

As a former DJ of KWSS, I am very happy to see the exposure. Also, the author of this article is in NO way a part of the station, just a fan. :}

Brad Bielesch
Brad Bielesch

Beef, Shorty, Big Buddha, and Tom are fucking solid. They're uplifting a music scene that is stricken with disequilibrium, it's so goddamn unbalanced. They deserve nothing but praise. Thanks, dudes.

John McNary
John McNary

I kept reading this waaste of electrons waiting for the payoff. There it is at the bottom. The writer is part of the KWSS team.

This remonds me of the old old joke: why does a fog lick it's balls? Because it can. Same thing.

linkiss
linkiss

Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recentlylaunched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionableand welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary,welcome to :===== www. soozone.com========T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14New era cap $10

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

linkiss
linkiss

Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recentlylaunched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionableand welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary,welcome to :===== www. ongoin.com========T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14New era cap $10

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

Anamieke
Anamieke

I agree there are some negative-flavored tones in this feature, but nonetheless this kind of exposure will hopefully reach the rest of the people in Phoenix who actually care about innovative yet listenable music. Wherever you are, we need you to band together and help get this scene off the ground!!! There are too many tourists who want cheesy covers and too many counterculture-extremists who want experimental noise and no one in between. What about those of us who create and promote intellectually stimulating yet pleasantly catchy material that isn't a rehash of the 90's (Gadger)? Where is our audience? Thank you KWSS for being a visionary and beacon of truth in a shit-storm of hypocrisy and materialism. Please don't give up.

azmomma e
azmomma e

i am a regular listener to KWSS in the morning. i live upstate so have to listen on my computer. so by 6:35 every morning the first thing i do after i get up is turn on TMI. they are funny, super clever and real. the music is pretty darn good too, and it's a great start to my day. wowser! that was so corn-bread pc...how 'bout this then: TMI is dope. they really rock it. right on guys (and gal)!

corky
corky

1994 called, they want Tom Green back.

stpatrick
stpatrick

KWSS is awesome. Glad they're doing what they're doing, and I hope they gain more traction. Rock local!

Michelle
Michelle

The article could have mentioned that Frank spends 10 hours a day 7 days a week keeping the station going, instead it paints him in a negative light when he first played local and indi music 6 years ago.

dr dread
dr dread

TMI rules! and Cizmar is sexy

TheFriend
TheFriend

Hey his "friend" did radio with KWSS for a few years not months and went to X103.9, not lost interest, droppped the show on his lap and walked away. He also helped him build the studio, get ready to take over, and regularly provides input and help when needed.

James
James

kwss rocks. beef for president.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

I'm not part of any KWSS "team," John... I just call in and give them a couple new tracks to play on Thursdays.

What's a fog?

AlphaK
AlphaK

2003 called, it wants it's joke back.

azmomma e
azmomma e

i didn't get that vibe about frank from the article at all. hmmmm...

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...