Brad and Britt on (in) Demand
There have been some memorable comedy duos in the history of radio, among them, Burns and Allen, Abbott & Costello, and Bob & Ray. But even those broadcasting giants never attempted to augment their comedy bits with discussions about topical issues.
That’s what makes Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire so unique. In one breath they can imply that Rush Limbaugh eats spotted owl sandwiches, and in the other, have a serious conversation about immigration. Now they have taken their satirically terrestrial act into cyber space, with a daily podcast, appropriately titled, “The Brad & Britt Show”.
Brad and Britt teamed up ten years ago with a morning show on Curtis Media’s WZTK, FM 101.1. Not only was their mixture of humor and discourse groundbreaking, so was their impact. That’s because WZTK’s signal stretched from Greensboro to Raleigh, which allowed the duo to develop a huge and diverse following in both the Triad and the Triangle markets. Theirs was simply the best radio show I had ever listened to. I laughed at them, and I learned from them.
But after eight successful years, B&B lost their venue when Don Curtis made the most boneheaded move in the history of local radio. He changed WZTK’s format from intelligent talk to salsa music. Meanwhile, just down the road in Charlotte, WBT was growing weary of their Tea Party programming, so they hired the boys to attract an audience that possessed actual grey matter between their ears. Once again Brad & Brit were a success, but, after two years, WBT decided not to renew their contract. Fortunately for their fans, B&B re-surfaced less than a month later with a podcast.
I got to know Brad and Britt from their appearances on my Triad Today TV show, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Last week we had an extended telephone conversation about their career together and their new show, which after only four days, has placed in the top 200 among thousands of podcasts. Why am I not surprised.
JL I know you guys have been together for ten years, but are you actually married to each other?
BW No, I can do way better than Brad (they laugh).
JL Let’s go back to the WZTK debacle two years ago. Why would Curtis blow up a successful format?
BK Radio stations and broadcast companies are not operated at the highest level of competency, so sometimes you can be a ratings success and artistic success, and if the ownership doesn’t know how to translate that into sales and financial success, then it really doesn’t matter.
JL So Curtis didn’t know how to sell and market your unique show?
BW They never tried.
BK And still we owned the I-85 corridor with a very diverse audience across both markets. We were more liberal than the right wing sewer that passes for talk radio these days.
JL Yet you left WZTK and went to work for WBT which wallowed in the right wing sewer.
BW That’s because WBT pitched this to us as a grand opportunity. They wanted to turn a new page because their listeners were literally dying right before their eyes. They knew they had to try something different.
JL And by all accounts, you guys delivered, yet they didn’t renew your contracts. Why?
BW They lost their nerve about two days in, for whatever reason. They never really told us why.
JL So now you’re podcasting. For those of us who are technology challenged, tell me what podcasting is.
BW It’s radio without the bullshit (they laugh).
BK POD is an acronym for “programming on demand.”
BW It’s where the suits don’t get to decide when you get to listen to a show. You can listen to a show whenever you want. Consumers now have unprecedented power to support programming they enjoy.
JL Is your show live at some point during the day, or is it taped?
BW It’s recorded, but you can listen anytime, just go to BradandBritt.com
BK We’re aiming to have each day’s show up by 3pm every afternoon.
(At this point, Brad and I lost our connection with Britt who returned to the phone after about two minutes.)
BK What, did you get a better offer?
BW Yeah, Jennifer Lopez just called me.
JL How does your show actually become a podcast?
BW We send the hour show to the Relm Network, then they post it on the website, and to iTunes. And then it propagates out to everybody. If you subscribe to iTunes, you’re automatically ready to rock and roll.
JL Since your show is taped, you obviously won’t be able to take calls from listeners as you did on your radio show.
BK Right, but they can communicate with us through our Facebook page.
JL What about interviews with newsmakers?
BK We can’t take incoming calls because we’re not live, but we can make outgoing calls and put them on the show. We’re not doing that the first couple of weeks, but we’ll start to integrate them into the show.
JL And since you’re not on radio now, the FCC has nothing to say about your content, right?
BW Right. The only trouble we could get in, is if we slander somebody or incite a riot.
JL How are you doing with attracting sponsors?
BW We’re already meeting with a number of sponsors.
BK And we have a namesake for the studio. It’s called the TarheelDentist.com studio, courtesy of Dr. Mark Hyman.
BW Mark told us, “Whatever you need, I want to support you guys”.
JL Do you think you would ever go back to radio?
BW My hope with the podcast, is that we will turn down radio offers because this is going too well. Right now, radio continues to help us out day by day, by getting worse and worse. The funny thing is, radio could be promoting itself and using this podcast technology as a huge weapon, but they don’t. It’s insane.
JL So all we have to do to listen to you guys 24/7 is to turn on our computer, or iPhone, or connect in the car with blue tooth.
BK It’s all us, all the time.
JL One final thing. Are you afraid that some people will get confused and think you’re doing a show on “pot”? (they laugh)
BK Well actually in Colorado they are called “Potcasts”.
And as we all know, potcasts make you hungry. Anyone for spotted owl sandwiches? !
JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11am on WMYV (cable channel 15).