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NT: Glad you brought that up. What's the deal with playing an hour of Ramones every day?

L.: I'll take the blame for that. I'm very close to the Ramones and I wanted to do something for the band. A lot of Q listeners may not have even been around in 1974 when the Ramones came out, but I was. And that was punk fucking rock, you know what I'm saying? I grew up on that. I wore the same clothes as them: jeans, leather jacket, tee shirt and sneakers. There's been little variation in music, but they always made me laugh. They finally got a gold record about a year and a half ago, and I'm one of the few people who has a copy on my wall. So, it may seem weird to hear 30 minutes of music by the same band twice a day five days a week, but that's what I wanted to do.

NT: Any last thoughts on the Phoenix radio market? L.: I'm not going to comment on Phoenix radio because Phoenix radio always changes. It's in constant evolution. One year you're gonna have more Top 40 stations. One year there will be four or five easy-listening stations. Currently, you have two solid country stations, although if you look at the dial, you'll find more. You've got numerous Spanish-speaking stations. And, obviously, there are numerous rock stations or "rockish" stations: Seventies rock, classic rock. Radio here will always be the same in that it's always shifting. Percentages just rise and fall. Right now you have two alternative stations. One on the FM, one on the AM. Hopefully, the AM will stay on the radio and maybe it will become an FM. I don't know. I will say this: Radio is a free entity. You need to give people a real solid reason to turn on the dial. That's the credo I've had all these years. You've gotta give people a reason to listen; you have to entertain them. Radio is supposed to be entertaining. When radio becomes a piece of cardboard with a restricted format, it's useless, and we're not talking about just rock radio here, we're talking about everything. You could have Turkish bath music, and as long as you make it sound exciting, it would be exciting radio. I mean, hell, yes, let's put Turkish bath music on the air. Because homogenized radio is crap radio. NT: Is The Edge an alternative radio station?

L.: It certainly began as that. Obviously, it's gone further into being a mainstream modern-rock station. But you know, in all honesty, it's still alternative. Because there's still many, many conservative people out there who look at the music that station plays as not being normal, and that's a good thing.

NT: Do you think there's room for a college station in this market?
L.: You know, I always wanted to see KASR become a bona fide college radio station, and I'll tell you why: I didn't look at it as competition. People call in to KUKQ asking for some really strange things that, frankly, even we don't play. It would have been much more pleasurable to say, "Listen to KASR, man, they'll be able to play that for you." KUKQ isn't a college station, but, boy, it sure is close. A lot of college stations across the U.S. are looking at our playlist week to week, because KUKQ is a professional, commercial, AM alternative slash college-minded station. But still--yes, I think there's room for a real college station. It could only help local music and the variety of national stuff that gets played.

NT: Any regrets at this point?
L.: Of course there are. I'm leaving behind a lot of friends and a lot of fans. I really care about my audience. That may sound contrived and hokey, but it's true. And people who don't like me or what I do very much, and there's a lot of them out there, probably think that's a bullshit statement, but it's not. And all the jaded, cynical characters who say otherwise should just go back to their holes and whine. Do you know what happens to you if you're a jaded, cynical character?

NT: What?
L.: You live in a small fucking world and nobody really wants to know you. So you can go crawl under a rock. I mean that. I don't mind a small dose of cynicism, but there's so many people out there that are so quick to rain shit on new ideas, to tell you you're crazy.

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse