98 Rock’s Scott Reardon and Josh Spiegel
Zac Canter - TRW

98 Rock’s Scott Reardon and Josh Spiegel

For people that haven’t ever listened, how would you describe your show?

Scott Reardon: It’s just a loose, fun, entertainment and info based show. Just a couple guys hanging out and having fun I guess. Spiegel?

Josh Spiegel: I’d say it’s [for] people driving to work, it’s a nice oasis, a fun oasis from their lives. Most people are probably miserable and not looking forward to going to work.  

You’ve done a lot of crazy things on the air — Mike (producer) tattooed his balls, you got your “Stella” tattoo on the air. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for the show?

JS: Craziest thing? I have to think. I can’t think of anything.

SR: Hmm craziest thing Spiegel’s done? You got on that mini horse.

JS: Yes I tried to get on a horse.

SR: Spiegel is the more reserved, he doesn’t like to put himself in harm’s way.

JS: [Laughs]

SR: I know mine was probably the, where we had those dominatrixes in here and they tied me up and put a ball gag in my mouth and then at the end they shocked my balls.  I don’t know if I can say that in this interview, but they had a little magic wand and they shocked my balls. And I found the whole thing very uhh … I was a little turned on.

JS: Oh maybe when they set off the fireworks. We used to do a feature called the Lightning Round (where I have to read as many news stories as I can in 60 seconds). We went to someone’s house and they set off fireworks outside all around me. I mean that was scary for me.

Is it hard to censor yourself?  Is it ever hard to watch what you’re saying and does anything ever just pop out?

JS: Yeah, we have a dump button if we ever say anything but I think you get used to making split second decisions. You have to be able to think fast and if you do say something that you decide shouldn’t have been said you have the luxury of pressing the dump button.

SR:  In terms of profanity if you’re worried about that, we’ve worked within these parameters for so long that it’s just second nature.  It doesn’t really even pop into your head.  When we’re off air it’s weird how you can flip the switch you know? Off air I’ll be saying whatever I want to say, profanities and all, but then on air you just know you’re on air and you have the headphones on and you’re in front of a mic and you don’t use profanity and like he said we do have that delay which gives you that little peace of mind.  Also once it goes out over the internet – we broadcast on 98online.com – that’s not FCC regulated so if something does slip out you’re getting all the goods on the internet.

Driving home everyday do you find yourself listening to 98 Rock?

SR:  I love the music 98 Rock plays and yes I do listen. Do I listen to other stations? Of course. I bump around like anyone else. But you give me Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Van Halen, Aerosmith, I’m all about it. That’s what I listen to.  

JS: I don’t listen all the time but I do listen to 98 Rock. I like pop music. I listen to some other stuff. I don’t listen to a lot of radio. I mainly listen in my car, I don’t listen to music when I’m at home.

How do you think social media has transformed radio and the way you run your show?

JS: Oh we have opinions.

SR: Yeah, I don’t know if you heard my rant the other day — I went on a big rant. I thought I was going to get in trouble but I didn’t. They just want us to keep doing more and more it’s like I get it but for me it’s like where does it end? I see no end in sight. It started with MySpace really, then we get into Facebook, then we get into Twitter, then you get into Instagram, then you get into Snapchat and I don’t see an end in sight and so it’s like, we do a very good show, the ratings are very good, and I think that’s radio at its heart. You sit in a room, you turn on a microphone and you broadcast on an FM signal, people hear it and it translates to ratings if you’re doing a good job. Now, in the last however many years, it’s expanded beyond that obviously with all the things I just mentioned.  And yes, we can only benefit from it – like you said, you sat and binged on our videos – and when somebody sits and binges on a video or someone on Twitter sees something we’ve done, and it’s on Facebook and it gets shared  and that translates to more listeners. So that’s the goal, but can it be annoying? I don’t know if that’s the right word but can it be a bit much sometimes yeah. Spiegel’s been doing this a long time, when he started guess what it was just radio but now there’s a lot of layers to this man.  It’s only there to help us, but it can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

JS: Yeah, the most important thing is what comes out of the speakers that’s where everyone is, but I think they want us to just be more connected in other ways. I do Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

SR: Yeah me too, dabbling in the Snapchat.

JS: I set up a Snapchat like six months ago and I don’t understand how to do it either and I don’t, I don’t want to do it, I just can’t. You gotta draw the line at some point.

SR: Yeah I’ll give you an example. Our boss sat us down the other day and played us this 10 minute video, it was like a seminar, it had graphs and it was some guy talking about what the big social media things are. Facebook is still number one, Instagram has now become number two, I think Snapchat is number three, Twitter is four or five. So he basically sat us down and said here is what everyone is using. And at that point, we hadn’t really messed with Snapchat, but here you have the boss saying, “hey look this is what people are messing around with, this is where you’re going to reach a lot of people,” and Snapchat being number three but we hadn’t messed around with it what other course of action do you have other than, let’s do Snapchat. But then back to what I was saying originally, where the hell does it end Zac? Where does it end?

Who would your dream guest be?

SR: I think we may have talked to Spiegel’s.

JS: Dan Rather. Yeah he’s a someone I admire. Who else? I don’t know. I don’t really have anybody off the top of my head.

SR:  Yeah I don’t really have anyone specific in mind but I’ve had people that have come through that have been like full circle moments for me where I’m just like, “I can’t believe I’m sitting in the room talking to this person.” Like we’ve had Slash in here a couple of times from Guns and Roses – I cut my teeth on Guns and Roses – I’m now getting a chance to talk to these people. I’ll be sitting at home watching TV and I’ll be like, “holy crap we just talked to that guy like two days ago.” It’s still surreal for me because we do so much every day, we sit around and do the show and then we come in here and tape interviews and you go home and your wife’s there and your kid’s there and life’s still happening.  

How do you use your influence to positively influence listeners?

JS: WELL.  I just try to be, you know I don’t really have an agenda.  I just try to be entertaining and informative and you know helping to make things fun.  I don’t really go in there trying to influence people.

SR:  Yeah I’m with him. I don’t think we really try to sit down and really – I know we have an impact on people’s lives and like Spiegel said earlier we just kind of try to do the best job we can, try to be fun, try to be entertaining and provide these people with however many minutes of joy in the morning and I think that’s how I like to use my influence. I don’t have, like he said, an agenda or I’m not trying to push one kind of ideology or anything else. I’m just trying to show up and be entertaining and be fun and hopefully the people are enjoying that and engaging in that. And that’s the way I like to positively impact them, to just leave them with a great morning show. I know growing up listening to Howard Stern, he did that for me. It was like here’s three or four hours where I can just laugh and be entertained and just enjoy it and that’s what I just want to do for the people.

Some time you talk to the mayor about things such as the riots in Baltimore. What do you think the biggest problems in Baltimore are and what do you think the solution is?

JS:  Oh I mean, Scott’s a city resident, but obviously crime, you’ve got people leaving the city for the suburbs, homelessness.

SR:  I mean this is a bigger issue than what we have time for right now but the city, I moved here 11 years ago and I absolutely love the city. I love the people of the city, it’s a city that tries so hard. It’s a city that’s won my heart, but it’s also a city that breaks your heart repeatedly. I use the analogy that girlfriend that you just love but you continually get into fights with or she does something to make you angry but you still love her and it’s just like that. I think, one of our coworkers called it a tale of two cities. You have a city where people work hard and they want to make Baltimore great and they believe Baltimore can be great but then there’s the other side of the city that’s really fallen on hard times and they’re kind of stuck in that and they don’t see a way out and it’s hard to get out. The two are just competing with each other and it seems in the media maybe in a lot of people’s perceptions that the bad aspect of that is maybe winning at this point and it’s sad, you don’t want that to be, you want all of us to work together to just be good.  But it’s very difficult.

You make a lot of jokes about the presidential election and the candidates, but who do you actually support?

SR: I’m not a big politics guy so I don’t really support anybody. I’m independent. I talk about politics because we have to, but otherwise I don’t really care.

JS: I think we make fun of everybody and if somebody does something crazy we talk about it.

SR: Here’s the thing: If you pick a side you’re inevitably going to piss off 50 percent of the people that are listening.  You play it straight down the middle, [and] you make fun of somebody when they need to be made fun of.  

Did you picture yourself as a radio jock on an award winning show when you were just out of high school?

JS:  I’ve always been interested in radio so I kind of grew up with it.  

SR: He’s been doing it since he was 12 Zac!

JS: Yeah, It’s been a long ride.

SR: Put that it your interview, the man’s a legend.

JS: No not really, but the answer is yes.

And you Scott?

SR: No I had no idea what I wanted to do. I graduated college and I was a valet parking cars. But before that I had interned with a radio station in college and, I don’t know ,I kind of always loved radio but I never really thought I could do for a career. A buddy of mine worked for a radio station and the minute he said he could get me an internship I perked up immediately and then from there it was like “wait a minute this feels good, this fits.”  I think I found out a little later in life but it was always part of my makeup to do something like this but I never really realized it.

 

All three of you (and Mike) have great chemistry on air. Does this chemistry translate to your relationships off-air?

SR:  Doing this is the weirdest thing on Earth and Spiegel will attest to this. Because you’re put together and you work together and you do amazing things together and you have amazing chemistry but that doesn’t always translate to hanging out. Would I hang out with these guys and do I hang out with these guys? Yes. Do I like these guys? Yes. But do I hang out with them on a regular basis? No. It’s just so weird where you have this job and you’re so close and you know so much about these people and they are like family and they are friends, but it’s just the most impossible thing to explain and nobody would understand it unless you do it.

JS:  Yeah and complicating matters is that I’m a hermit by nature.

SR: Yeah he’s not a social butterfly. He did have a house party though, we forced him to. And it was great!  We want him to have another.  

Do you think your personality on the radio is a good representation of who you are off air?

JS: Yeah, I mean I’m more reserved off the air but I’m, what you hear is what you get.

SR:  I’m being me when I’m on the air, but I will say the off air me is way more shy and way more reserved and I’m a real low key kind of boring dude. And I think people sometimes don’t know us or if they hang out with you and they think you’re going to be the guy that commands the room or commands the attention, neither of us are those guys.

Spiegel, if your face could get pregnant how many babies would it have?

JS: I don’t know.

SR: Would it be a litter or would it be just one?

JS: I wouldn’t have face babies.  

SR: I’m saying if my face got pregnant it would be like a litter. I would imagine a lot of little babies.