20 Questions

Scott Wynn – Having Fun on the Airwaves

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20 Questions is our opportunity to talk with various people in the country music industry.  Everyone from musicians and singers, to record producers and DJ’s.

This month we talk to Scott Wynn from Wynn, Kay & The Morning Crew on WQMX 94.9FM. Scott is a member of the ACM and the CMA, and won the CMA’s coveted Broadcast Personality of the Year in 1997.

  1. Over 30 years in radio. Did you ever think you would have been doing it this long?

“I hoped I would…I mean I started out when I was 19 years old….you think everything’s going to last forever at 19. I’m just thrilled it’s gone on so long, and I loved every second of it.”

  1. Did you ever see yourself doing something different?

“Really, no. I got hooked on radio listening to the Cavaliers games on a transistor radio, listening to Joe Tait when I was a kid, when the Cavs were very young, and I (listened) to the Indians, too. I was enamored with Joe Tait and the sports broadcasts, and later on with morning radio, I thought that’s something I would really like to do.”

  1. Where was your first job in radio?

“My first professional job was at WLRO in Lorain. A wonderful woman named Joan Lowery hired me there. It was the first radio station I applied at out of broadcast school. During the interview I went in and gave them my tape and they asked me if I would do the 2 o’clock news, and I said yes, and I did it. And then they asked if I would do the 2:30 news, and I did it…and then they hired me.”

  1. What is one of the funniest things that has happened to you while you were on the air?

“The list is pretty long. But, I will tell you that the one thing that always does stand out to me when I was working at WRMZ in Columbus, I was doing the morning show there. We had carts in those days, before digitalization, back in the 80’s.  The newsman did the news in the studio and he came in and handed me the carts…Labeled 1, 2 and 3.  And, I was supposed to fire them in that order.  He was doing a story about Governor Rhodes or Celeste, and he said, ‘this report from the dramatic scene.’  I pushed cart #1 and it was someone whistling …badly.  I don’t know if the story was serious or not, but we had a lot of fun with that one.”

  1. It always sounds like you are having a good time. How do you do it?

“I love what I do for a living. Some jobs have been better than others, but I’ve never, not enjoyed a single day in this business. And I’ve always been really fortunate to be surrounded by really good people, and I don’t just mean just good professionally, they’re all good professionals, the one’s I’ve worked with here and everyplace else, but they’re really good people. When you love what you do, with other people that love what they do, and you’re in the same room for a number of hours at a time….that’s just a good mix. And, I don’t see how you couldn’t be happy about that.”

  1. The Morning Show been nominated for the ACM several times?

“We’ve been nominated a bunch by the ACM and we haven’t won this one yet and we would sure like to.  You hear the old cliché, ‘It’s great to be nominated.’ But, when you really stop and think about it there are a lot of medium market radio stations in this country and we’re one of five seemingly every year, both as a station and as a show, that make the cut into the final five. And that is pretty high praise. But, sadly like the Super Bowl and the World Series, there can only be one champ. We hope for the best, that’s what we do, hope for the best.”

  1. You won a CMA Radio Personality of the Year award in 1997 in Lakeland, Florida.  What kind of thrill was it to win?

“It was an amazing thing. When you get the call that you are nominated you’re going, wow, that’s great.  But when you get the call that you win, you don’t believe it at first and then when it all becomes really true and really real, then it’s really an honor. You don’t get chances in many professions to get to do something that is truly a first class event, and the CMA’s, and the way they treated us, was first class all the way.”

  1. You grew up in Berea?  Where did you go to school?

“I went to Berea High School and then to Baldwin Wallace for a couple of years and then I went to a broadcast school Downtown (Cleveland), that’s no longer there. It was called the Ohio School for Broadcast Technique. I was so into it, I really wanted to learn how to do it. I think some of it is given to you before you go there, and then you learn the nuts and bolts and you go from there. I’ve been really fortunate, I have never spent one day not believing that I haven’t been very fortunate, from those days… to go on and make a living from it.”

  1. What type of music did you listen back then?

“I was a rock kid, like everybody else…pop rock radio…it was so different in those days.  Every station played every song, it seemed like.  I grew up as a Springsteen fan, I loved Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, they were among my favorites. Elton John, Chicago, and all that. Popular music was what I grew up listening to. I knew about country, I knew who Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn were was about as far as it went.”

  1. Did you get homesick while living in Florida?  What made you return to Northeast Ohio?

“I don’t think this area ever really shakes out of you. The weather isn’t always the best. But, there is something that is home about Northeast Ohio, and I decided to move back here in 2001. It was a leap of faith that I would continue my success, and I’ve been lucky and fortunate and worked hard, and it’s happened that way. Homesick, not really, but I still have a lot of great friends here and my mom still lives here.”

  1. Apart from being on the Morning Crew at WQMX, you also do weekly movie reviews. How did that start?

“A number of years ago the company we work for, Rubber City Radio, they made a commitment to a real web presence, around 2007… 2008.  We wanted to create our own content, as opposed to posting content from other places.  I thought I like going to the movies and my family has a theatrical background and I grew up watching theater and all that type of thing. I thought this is something I really would like to do, and I was a fan of those movie review shows, so I decided to do it. I’ve been doing it now about nine years and I think it’s a real fun part of my job I try to watch the movies like normal people watch the movies and that’s what I try to put on paper.”

  1. You must be a big movie fan?  Any favorites that come to mind?

“I loved “Tombstone” back in 1993, I thought it was terrific western, the kind of western that brought westerns back for a short time. I liked “Apollo 13,” I thought that was another terrific movie and I was a big space program junkie when I was growing up. “L.A. Confidential,” is absolutely one of my favorite movies, I think it should have won the Academy Award, but “Titanic,” came out that year. I also liked the 2010, “True Grit.”  I like movies that make you think, I like movies that are real smart and well made.”

  1. You are out at the Rocksino every week?  That must be a lot of fun for you?

“I was hoping you’d ask a question like that. Whether we’re at the Rocksino or other places, meeting the people is a real big part of what I do and what we do as a radio station. I have believed that for all these years. I remembered when I was really young I would love to meet my favorite radio personality and I met a couple when I was a kid, and I though it was great.  But, I always believe the more bricks out of a wall we can take off between us and the listener, and us and the fan and us and the star and us and the person performing at Blossom.  When everybody can get together and shake hands and get a picture taken together and get to know each other and ask each other a question and get to know each other by name. I think that is when you are really doing your job right, and I’ve believed that for thirty years and I continue to do it, and it’s one of the best parts of the job.”

  1. Any local bands that you enjoy working with?

“The guys who we work with locally, I haven’t worked with all of them yet, like the ones we work at the Rocksino or where ever else, they are always like the best guys. We did that Homegrown at the Hard Rock Series, where we featured local bands at the Rocksino, it was really great.  The guys from Lincoln Way, were really great, I love them. Backroads and Caliber, all those guys are really, really nice guys.  And, we’re gonna be working with some more like Tyler Reid, and I’ve got a night out with Monica Robbins at the Rocksino in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to doing that because I’ve never done a night with her. So, they all seem to be very workable and they all seem to be really nice, they all seem to be very good that we’re teaming up with them.”

  1. What do you think of the country music and how they treat their fans?

“Country music took a page at out of the NASCAR fan book.  Because NASCAR has always let these drivers be very accessible to the fan.  And country, when they started Fan Fair all these years ago, now it’s called the CMA Music Fest.  That was a very unique thing, you don’t see other genre’s of music or entertainment in general, making the biggest stars accessible to the people who are buying the tickets.”

  1. What acts are you looking forward to seeing in 2016?

“I always enjoy seeing Darius Rucker perform…. I think he’s great and a real pro. I always enjoy, of course everybody enjoys, seeing Luke Bryan. What I really like about the big shows that come through, I really like watching the guys that are coming up through the ranks that are opening up the shows. Because I think that gives you the look through the crystal ball as to what is coming up the next couple of years when they are headlining their own tours.  I’m looking forward to seeing a Thousand Horses, cause I saw them at the Dusty Armadillo a few months ago and I thought they were great. And just some of the younger acts I’m looking forward to see them this year.”

  1. You have met so many country artists.  Looking back is there anyone that when you met them really stood out?

“I remember the first time that I met Jake Owen, there was something about Jake Owen that you could tell, back in 2007 or ’06, you could tell that this was a guy that was going to make it.  There was something magnetic about him.  You wondered how big he was going to get.”

  1. What has been the biggest change in country music over the past two decades?

“Well, I’ve been through a lot of change with the format.  In the ‘80’s we were almost a soft rock and it was really a mellow rock type of thing.  There was nothing wrong with the Ronnie Milsap and the Alabama and stuff like that. But, when the traditionalist movement came in with Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson and Clint Black. It changed everything for an entire generation. I think what we’ve got now, we’ve got those people still influencing the young people of today and Southern Rock has climbed back into it.  Now, we’re more in to traditional as we used to be, but we are more rocky than we used to be. The funny part is in a couple more years we will be having this conversation again and we will be seeing a new direction.  Because, country music is an ever changing evolving thing. And that’s the one thing I’ve noticed over the decades…it never just goes and stays the same way for a whole long time. It evolves.”

  1. Do you have any favorite country artists?

“I always like to see the top three, because when you see who is on top that year, I mean they’re all headliners, but when they are on top you see what is next. This is what we’re doing now, and this is what is resonating with people now.”  I saw the last show of the year with Jason Aldean, it was amazing how much people love him. Not because he’s not great, but he’s a quiet superstar.”

  1. What is the message you like to leave your listeners and our readers with?

“We understand that listeners are the driving force behind any radio station and we love our listeners so much.  We love being involved with them. I just think that’s the thing that stands out to me. That is when we are really at our best and I truly appreciate them every day.”

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