Sonic Bloom

Move over, Howard Stern. Rick Bloom is ready to take over the airwaves with his own peculiar blend of low-concept radio entertainment. Bloom's three-hour show, which airs every day on KFNX-AM 1100, is a hybrid of top-of-the-hour news, talk and Bloom's special brand of humor, which involves a lot of cheesy celebrity impersonations and goofball song parodies. It's a program that's so bad it's, well, really bad.

But don't tell that to Bloom, whose widest talent is self-delusion. He is, he swears, on his way to being the next big thing in talk radio. Any minute now, his show will find its audience, and he'll be catapulted into the stratosphere, a radio star for the new millennium. One who does Howard Cosell impersonations and pokes fun at people who don't happen to be white.

New Times: The tag line for your show is "Rick Bloom puts the FU back in fun."

Rick Bloom: That's the station's idea. They're trying to promote the idea of me as a radio personality.

NT: And why do we need radio personalities?

Bloom: Well, we don't need them. But we have some, and they suck. I can't believe what's on the air today. I'm trying to put some fun back into radio, and what we have now is conservative talk-show hosts from media conglomerates who, in my opinion, are rude. They're megalomaniacs who are trying to bully their subjects and call it entertainment.

NT: That's perfectly awful. I can't imagine anyone doing that. So, are you cooler than Beth and Bill?

Bloom: I have nothing against Beth and Bill, but I don't listen to them. I listen to my competition, and I don't really consider Beth and Bill my competition. They play music; I do parodies. I listen to Howard Stern. He's entertaining, and my audience is more like his.

NT: What? I've heard your show, and it's nothing like Howard Stern's.

Bloom: I don't do shock radio, that's true. I won't insult anyone. My listeners are like roses; I treat them very delicately.

NT: Just like Howard Stern. So, KFNX is an AM station. Who listens to AM radio?

Bloom: More intelligent, upwardly mobile people who like to think, who like to contribute, people who are environmentally conscious. That's the AM radio audience.

NT: I get the impression that you'd like to break out and really be zany, but you can't. Do you ever just want to tell a fuck joke, or call someone an asshole on the air?

Bloom: No. And I don't feel restricted at all. I'm like David Letterman doing The Ed Sullivan Show. I'm funny and I have great guests.

NT: Really? I heard the show where you had the stock exchange guy on. Is there some sort of rule that says that guests on AM radio talk shows have to be boring?

Bloom: I have four or five guests per day, and some of them are more interesting than others. I have to get the guests myself, and it's not always easy. I also have to write the show, promote the show, and perform it. It's a lot of work.

NT: Where does one study for a job like this? Did you go to funny radio guy school?

Bloom: Yeah. I went to the University of Fun. They share space with the hockey university over there; it's called Puck U. I was born to be a talk-show host. In 1978 I made it my goal in life, and here I am -- a talk-show host. I had Jerry Colangelo on this week. I had Rita Rudner, John McCain, Dick Smothers.

NT: Dick Smothers!

Bloom: I like to interview celebrities. I had Dennis Weaver on the other day. Remember him, from McCloud? I'm very irreverent, very creative, and I'm very funny. I don't tell jokes, but if you say something, I can say something funny off that. Also I write funny songs.

NT: You sure do. Here, let me quote a line from my favorite Rick Bloom song: "Bloomer's back/Tell a friend/Bloomer's back/Bloomer's back/Bloomer's back/Bloomer's back/Bloomer's back/Bloomer's back/Bloomer's back." Wow.

Bloom: It's a spoof of Eminem. It's a rap song. I think of myself as the anti-talk-show host. I'm doing a show in a hick town, and I have to keep people tuned to my show, so I do these song parodies.

NT: One of them is called "Hussein Is a Follower of Pig Latin." That's pretty offensive.

Bloom: To who? Pigs? It's funny, because I made it up.

NT: You keep talking about how you're like Howard Stern. I think the difference between you and Stern is that he's being deliberately offensive, and you don't seem to know what's offensive.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela