Radio Reflections: The Art of the Interview

I’m a sucker for a conversational interview. Most days (after work of course) I’m listening to a myriad (fancy word for variety) of podcasts on my iPhone. I bounce between “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” “WTF with Marc Maron,” “The Tony Kornheiser Show,” and the occasional “Joe Rogan Experience” (unless it’s three hours long) oh and, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”

When those hosts get into a groove with a guest, I can’t help but hang on every word. The 11.5 years I spent in morning radio (between B100 and Vintage Sound 93.1) I always looked forward to conducting interviews.

In 2009 (I think my memory isn’t the best) I had a chance to chat with Christopher Lloyd, you know, Dr. Emmett L. Brown from the “Back to the Future” films. I remember answering the phone and the booker saying, “Are you ready for Chris?”

I paused, as my inner child went wild, and said, “I think so?” One press of a button, and there he was on the phone.

When I started my radio show in Muscatine, booking guests consisted of quality local folks making a difference across Muscatine along with rock and roll icons and the occasional celebrity. My thought was if I could create a morning radio show that delivered the best music, local content, and guests, you wouldn’t need to tune in elsewhere (no offense to my dear friends Dwyer & Michaels). Some highlights over the five years on Vintage Sound included; Alice Cooper (such a nice guy), John Fogerty (I was beyond nervous), Steven Van Zandt (aka Silvio from The Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen’s right hand man), Eddie Money (rest in peace), and let’s not forget the time I literally missed Gene Simmons’ phone call–sorry about that!

I hope you don’t interpret this column as a form of bragging. I’m just still asked from time to time, “who was the best, most favorite person you interviewed?”

I had two really meaningful moments that I shared with my brother-in-law, Nolan. You see, Nolan has autism, and he might love movies more than I do! Nolan and I interviewed the legendary Julie Andrews! Mary fricking Poppins, y’all! We also had a great chat with Mr. Dick Van Dyke. Seeing the joy in Nolan’s eyes has stayed with me. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Finding ways to create lasting memories with the ones we love.

Oh, and I’m still interviewing people! Shameless plug for the “Hy-Vee Today with Tony Tone” show. I hope you’ll tune in and as always, send me your guest suggestions at [email protected] I was thrilled to recently chat with Muscatine Community School District Superintendent Clint Christopher. The whole purpose of that show is to inform and give an outlet for local people to let their voices be heard. I’m so thankful for the ability to continue having conversations and I thank all of you for the support!