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KMBZ 980AM Talk Show Tom Becka Featured

August 26, 2003

NAME: Tom Becka
TITLE: Talk show host
MARKET: Kansas City
COMPANY: Entercom
BORN: Cleveland
RAISED: Cleveland and Omaha
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS: My first full time gig was as a country DJ in Green River, Wyoming( Home of the Green River Ordinance). I went into sales and eventually became sales manager at KKSS-FM in Albuquerque. In Albuquerque I did stand up comedy for the first time at an open mike night. I got a few laughs and I was hooked. Next thing I know I'm on the road doing comedy full time working with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Sam Kinison, Drew Carey, and Darrell Hammond. On the road I fell in love with talk radio and when I got tired of all the traveling I went back to Omaha and talked my way into a job at KFAB.

1. How did you get your start in radio?

There was a guy I went to school with that had a really bad voice. I found out that he had a shift on the college radio station and I figured if he could do it I could do it. The second I walked into the studio I was hooked.

2. What are you passionate about?

My job. I am passionate about good, informative, entertaining talk radio. I am also passionate about the Royals making into the playoffs this season and the Cleveland Browns making it to the Super Bowl.

3. You were a standup comic, and a successful one, for years- how does that play into the way you do your show? How do you apply that experience and humor to serious issues?

The stand up experience taught me how to relate to an audience. It also taught me how to deal with hecklers which can be very valuable when dealing with callers. It taught me to get their attention when it might start to wander. The humor is valuable because if you can get someone to laugh while you're making your point you've got a better chance of getting them to listen longer. Or to at least accept an opposing view.

Some issues may be too touchy for humor, like right after 9/11 or when a tornado blew through town. Then you turn that humor into relatable humanity and use the program as a place where listeners can vent and express their emotions.

4. If you hadn't gone into radio (or standup), what would you be doing today?

I'd probably be doing something in some form of show business like be an agent or a carnival barker..

5. Speaking of standup, who and what do you find funny?

The Daily Show is brilliant! I also like Lewis Black, Dave Attell, and Kathleen Madigan. I also laugh whenver I hear Al Sharpton talk about being president.

6. You're more libertarian than conservative and more unpredictable than many hosts in your political viewpoint- how would you say you differ from other hosts on stations like KMBZ (or even ON KMBZ)?

I take an issue and make a decision based on common sense and critical thinking. I don't have to defend a bad idea just because a leader of my political party suggested it. I'm not a Republican or a Democrat; I am an American first.

I have created a group called "The Mad Middle" We are people that feel the far left and the far right have marginalized the political process and left no room for the rest of us. If you're called a libertarian, you are automatically pigeonholed as a pot smoking whacko. The "Mad Middle" basically wants a smaller government and less government intrusion into our personal lives. Plus, the "Mad Middle" has a life outside of politics.

7. What other talk radio do you listen to?

I like McGraw Milhaven on KMOX. Neil Boortz is great but I liked him better as a local host in Atlanta than a syndicated host. I'm also a big fan of the weekend infomercials that tell me how I can have a healthier prostate.

8. What do you do for fun?

Go to baseball games. I'm having a great time with the Royals this season. I still do some stand up comedy too. Recently I opened for Chicago in front of 12,000 people. That was a lot of fun.

9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without __________.

...talking to friends and family. That's what really is important. (Play a Kenny G or Celine Dion record in the background while reading this for added sentimental effect)

10. What's the best advice you ever got? The worst?

Best: Be yourself.

Worst: Don't go on the road to do comedy. Keep the day job.