I am sure none of you will be shocked when I say Southern California is a place like no other. I know that sounds trite or cliché, but this is especially true when it comes to music and radio. In my decades of working at various radio stations across the country, the loyalty that SoCal audiences have for their on-air personalities and music (there’s no Cruel World in Dallas, right?) is unmatched.
In addition to their fantastic rock playlist, KLOS has two of our long-time and much-love personalities handling afternoons. For this edition of the Industry Report, Kevin and Sluggo took a break between songs to give me a glimpse of their afternoon chaos. Ok, it was not very chaotic as they had it all under control.
For the past two years, they have held that afternoon drive slot on the iconic Los Angeles rock station, and although they have worked together at other stations, this position has them together as show co-hosts for the first time.
Now, full disclosure: I was an intern for the two back in the 1900s, which is odd since we are all 32 years old. That means I have worked for them as an underling and I still very much like them as people, which says something.
I also checked in with their boss – Keith Cunningham, Vice President of Programming for Meruelo Media, and Program Director of KLOS – to confirm they are still decent guys.
Cunningham told me: “Having Kevin and Sluggo on 95.5 KLOS each afternoon makes my job a lot easier. Listeners can get Foo Fighters and AC/DC anywhere and anytime they want, so for KLOS to really stand out, we need great talent and content. Kevin and Sluggo are laugh-out-loud funny every day, their chemistry is as good as it gets, and it’s a pleasure to work with them each day.”
KEVIN & SLUGGO
Afternoons on KLOS
So what say them?
Sluggo: It’s been 6,482 years since I’ve seen you!
Traci: I know! It was 30 years ago this month that I started my internship with you guys.
Sluggo: Thirty years ago? Holy cow. (Kevin enters the studio)
Sluggo: You’ve met Kevin. That’s Kevin.
Traci: He used to have a nickname for me.
Sluggo: Oh, yeah? What was it?
Traci: Marcia Brady, but I don’t know if it was good or bad.
Sluggo: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! No, that seems good. If it was Jan, that might be a little concerning.
Doug “Sluggo” Roberts
Traci: Kevin, Doug and I did a lot of pre-interview stuff in our emails, so I’ll start the first question with you, which is, do you like movies about gladiators?
Kevin: (laughing) Well played.
Traci: Ok, “Airplane” quotes aside, a lot of people know you guys worked together at your previous station, but you’ve worked together even before that. So just how long have you guys known each other?
Sluggo: (to Kevin) Didn’t you just say this the other day? Thirty years or something like that? Since 86? How long is that? I can’t do the math.
Kevin: Thirty-six years, maybe. We were at ZZP in Phoenix, and it was fun. We had a great time.
Sluggo: He was working at an oldies station in Phoenix and a friend of mine took me to show me the station. Kevin was on the air, and I’m like, this guy is taking calls and throwing drops, and screaming all the oldies music, and he’s so good. So when an opening came up at ZZP and I had heard that he applied, I said hire him! And they said, we will hire him despite you saying that.
Traci: And now you’ve been doing afternoons at KLOS for two years. Do you guys have your routine down or are you still a work in progress?
Kevin: I think it’s worked out pretty well. I think we have really good chemistry, and that’s something that you don’t work on so much as you just either have or don’t. Chemistry is just one of those things that you can try to work on, but it’s either there or it’s not to begin with.
Traci: Do you guys have pet names for each other?
Sluggo: Sweetie Pie is mine for Kevin, but other than that, not really.
Kevin: F*@#%r is my name for him. I hope that’s cool.
Sluggo: (laughing) I’m just finding out about this! I don’t think it’s cool!
Traci: Kevin, you did all those decades of a morning show. I assume you’re loving afternoons better?
Kevin: Oh, I can’t tell you how much better it is schedule wise, because I can do two things that I couldn’t do before: I can stay up late, and I can sleep in late, both! So it’s like crazy hours, so much more time to do stuff.
Traci: What’s funny to me, Sluggo, is you’ve always been the night guy in my mind. You’re the night guy, the party guy, the I don’t follow rules guy.
Kevin: Oh, he’s still that guy! (all laughing)
Traci: So to have him on afternoon drive, like a grown up!
Sluggo: There’s nobody left in the business. If you can show up on time most days and only call in hung over once in a while. But really, the first time I did it was in New York on afternoons, and I found how awesome it is to wake up as late as I always did and then be out by 6 o’clock in the evening, and have the rest of your night for whatever… It’s an unbeatable time slot. It really is.
Traci: Two years in the afternoon drive on KLOS. What has been a highlight so far?
Kevin: I really appreciate the St. Jude weekend that we do. We do two days of raising money for St. Jude, and it’s an incredible, incredible charity for children with cancer, and it really feels like you’re actually somehow giving back to humanity. I really love that, and I think it’s been really great.
Sluggo: I have to agree. I mean, of every station I’ve ever been at, there’s never been any station that did something like this. We raised a million dollars again this year, a little over a million, and that apparently keeps them going for one day with their costs, but it’s to really raise awareness and everything. I’ve never had the opportunity to work with and for something so worthwhile in radio. Ever. So, I agree.
Traci: You guys have been smashing your records each year. Up next, two million!
Kevin: I hope we don’t let you down!
Traci: I will come and get you if you fail! What else do you guys have in the works?
Sluggo: We are talking about trying to get a web stream going for this little show. We’re not really sure what it should entail and what would make it interesting and who would give a rat’s ass…
Kevin: And how we could get away with it…
Sluggo: Yeah. You know what it’s like in a studio and how things are like, “Well, that should be a public sort of thing.” It’s behind the scenes, how things work, and just how crazy it can get. I think that’s probably one thing we’re trying to work on.
Traci: Kevin, I have another extremely difficult question for you. What was the greatest scene on the amazing comedy show called “King of Queens?”
Kevin: Well, it would be his neighbor’s wife, of course. I believe she played the neighbor’s wife. I’m relatively sure. (Kevin is newly engaged and yes, she portrayed the neighbor’s wife on “King of Queens.”)
Traci: Yes, she did. I didn’t know if you had to binge watch everything she was in before popping the question.
Kevin: No, I did not. That I know of.
Traci: What have you guys been binging when you’re not at work?
Kevin: I’m watching the new Marvel show with Fury… Sam Jackson. “Secret Invasion” on Disney Plus. That’s my new thing.
Sluggo: I loved “Poker Face.” We’ve watched it twice. “Severance.” I can’t wait. “What We Do in the Shadows” is probably one of my favorite shows ever. I’ve watched it so many times already. But “Poker Face,” you have to watch that, it’s good. There’s something about it that smacks of “Colombo.” Anybody who liked the “Colombo” series would appreciate “Poker Face.”
Traci: Sluggo what do you do outside of KLOS? Still Sirius too?
Sluggo: Serious? My incredible charity work? I help out nuns… Really pretty much just Sirius/XM First Wave. I schedule music in the morning, do Sirius, come here and finish afternoon. So that eats up every second of the day pretty much.
Traci: Kevin, I know you have a charity you are working with, right?
Kevin: Yes, I’m still involved in FriendsandHelpers.org. We help abused women and children, which is a very serious topic that’s really hard to talk about, but you can find out all about it on the website.
Traci: Kevin, thank you for always being very sweet to me during my intern days. Even though I was a dumb college kid, you were always very nice.
Kevin: (laughing) Good!
Traci: And Doug, my mentor, love and thanks to you!
Sluggo: You’re the best. We had times!
There was much humor that I had to cut from this interview, but you can get some of it for yourself, afternoons on 95.5 KLOS.
Congratulations to Kevin and Sluggo for the two years of success and may it lead to at least two more!
As for KLOS, they have made some very good moves over the past few years. That is a reflection on management, and the staff that executes the plans set forth. KLOS is definitely about inspiring and taking action in the things that matter. That being said, up next is the 42nd Annual KLOS and Red Cross Blood Drive.
The Blood Drive takes place August 5th and 6th at Red Cross locations throughout Southern California. Here is your chance to define our reality. Check in with KLOS or your local Red Cross location.