Podcast Transcript

Greg:

Radio reaches 92% of the U.S. Population weekly, compared to 88% for television1. Imagine that.

 

Greg:

So today we have Jonny Hartwell with us, and if you want to hear authenticity and the importance of being authentic, you should listen. If you want to hear about how to change and evolve in a rapidly changing industry like radio, when you think about how much radio has changed in the last 20 years, and Jonny has been part of it and continues to strive and evolve and excel in, in a very, very rapidly changing industry, you should listen in. And if those two things don’t excite you, you know what? Just listen to Jonny and be entertained because it’s a fun, he’s just fun. It’s fun to hear it, listening to the stories. So please enjoy the episode today. This is hard for me,

 

Jonny:

Why?

 

Greg:

Because you’re like, because you’re like, this is what you do. This is my thing. And I’m so nervous.

 

Jonny:

I’ve never been interviewed before.

 

Greg:

I do this once a month. I mean, this is like, this is weird for me. And that’s the way, the way this works.

 

Jonny:

Okay.

 

Greg:

Jonny interviewed me and it was, you did such a nice job. Great questions carried me along. So now I’m interviewing Jonny Hartwell.

 

Jonny:

And, and I’m going to screw things completely up.

 

Greg:

Oh yeah, I’m not worried about me. I’m worried about you messing up.

 

Jonny:

Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s where it’s going to go. You’re totally off the tracks now.

 

Greg:

You’re like a pro. So we’ll try. So help me out.

 

Jonny:

Well, that’s kind of funny that you say that because to me, it’s just, just talking, it’s just having a conversation.

 

Greg:

Yeah. We were just hanging out for the last half hour. They should have just recorded that. That was fun.

 

Jonny:

That was fun.

 

Greg:

It was fun. Yeah. So, but for those of you that don’t know, Jonny, Jonny has been in the radio business since,

 

Jonny:

Since the earth was cooling.

 

Greg:

That’s what I’m thinking. I was trying to figure out a nice way to say that. 1983.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. That’s when I started in college radio and then progressed to, you know, you know, a full-time job in, you know, 1988 and then landed in Pittsburgh in ’96. So I’ve been here for 25 years.

 

Greg:

In ’96, you started with?

 

Jonny:

B94.

 

Greg:

B94!

 

Jonny:

Well, I was on briefly for Magic Y97 in Braddock for a period. And then I moved to Youngstown, Ohio, and then I’ve, I’ve worked Myrtle Beach and LA and all points in between. Disc jockeys don’t die. We just get bigger—

 

Greg:

Oh, here’s the, here’s the best.

 

Jonny:

Okay.

 

Greg:

So I’m like, okay, so what’s your real name?

 

Jonny:

Jonny.

 

Greg:

It’s Jonny.

 

Jonny:

Jonny Hartwell.

 

Greg:

So like, I thought it was, so I’m only Googling the top DJ names, thinking like Jonny Hartwell will come up this morning. So I’m having my coffee. I’m like, okay, this can’t be real. He’s like, what is his name? It can’t be Jonny Hartwell.

 

Jonny:

It is Jonny.

 

Greg:

Jonny Hartwell iHeartRadio.

 

Jonny:

Yep. So I was named after Johnny Cash and I, my parents were big Johnny Cash fans. My real name is Jon, J-O-N but I — well, this jockey in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina said, you know, what name do you want to come up with? And I’m like, I don’t know. And he goes, ah, how about Trapper, John? I went, oh, okay. And I use Trapper John for the first break. And he was like, nah, no, no, you’re Jonny, Jonny Hartwell. And that was the only time. I mean, here’s something ridiculous. What I started with B94, we had this meeting to discuss if I was going to use a fake name and they ping ponged different names and they were going to call me Spank. And I’m thinking, oh, no, no, no, no, no. Here’s a guy who’s married, has three kids. Don’t call me spank. And so—

 

Greg:

I so want to call you Spank now.

 

Jonny:

Please don’t.

 

Greg:

Wait, wait, wait, one more name. What in the world is Jonny Palooza?

 

Jonny:

Wow. So where’d you come up with that?

 

Greg:

I just did. I get paid to know.

 

Jonny:

No, you gotta tell me.

 

Greg:

I got to get paid to know. All right. So let me, I’m gonna help you. It’s called Google.

 

Jonny:

Oh, okay. All right. Well when I worked for CBS radio we sponsored Kid-a-Palooza, right? And we expected about 50 people to show up. And 5,000 people showed up. And we didn’t have any prizes. We didn’t have any games. And I had this thing called the magic strings and I would, I would get these kids together and I would do these little magic tricks. And just to keep people occupied till the staff was able to come down with prizes and they’re like, oh, thank God, Jonny Palooza’s here. He took care. Also when it comes to, there, it’s funny, disc jockeys generally are you think of them as gregarious, outspoken kind of people. But a lot of us are very shy.

 

Greg:

I was going to ask you that, you know, Johnny Carson was right. So a lot of folks that are entertainers are shy. So you actually would consider yourself an introvert?

 

Jonny:

No, I’m not. I’m not your typical. No, I love, I like my embarrassment gene was severed as a child. And so when, when I would do live appearances, I would bring out the fun and games and laugh and carry on. And, and so whenever somebody said, Hey, you know, who do you want to do the remote? They go, hey, give it to Jonny Palooza. He, you know, it was actually, it was a bit of an insult because, you know, this guy just he’s so full of themselves. I just love entertaining people face to face.

 

Greg:

Yeah, but even people that love entertaining others. Like I’m more of an introvert, but even people that love entertaining others and being around people. I know!

 

Jonny:

Really? You?

 

Greg:

True. Yeah. True. So, you know, and I, I’ve heard introverts to be like, well, where do you go to get your energy? So if you, if you need to be alone to just like recharge, that means you’re more of an introvert. You know, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be entertaining and fun and be with people. It just means you have to recharge your battery. And you don’t recharge your battery by being around 10 people, you do it by like, you know, just like chilling a little bit, you know, just like chill a little bit. So yeah, I’m actually an introvert.

 

Jonny:

But my experience with you is that you, you are, you have fun. You’re energetic. So you, you must have a lot of down time.

 

Greg:

I don’t, I don’t need that much. I’m kind of like a lab — I either go or I sleep, there’s no in between. So, so what I, one of the reasons I also wanted to talk to you is, when you think about radio from when you started in 1983 to today. I mean, and by the way, you and I were talking about earlier that radio, especially in Pittsburgh, I grew up in Johnstown. It, it, it, it’s my childhood. Like I think of WCRO and then Glue 92. And like, and then when I first started the business, one of my tasks was I would get on: This is Greg with WVSC in Somerset with a stock market report, you know? And then I would give like the stock market and what it did. And now people look on their phone and they know instantaneously. And there’s satellite radio and, and, and, you know, going from when my, I used to sit on the porch with my Pappy and listen to the Pirate games, you know, it, it it’s changed so much. I can’t think of any other industry really off the top of my head that has had such change. How’s that affected you? How’s that affected, you know, the profitability and the listenership and radio.

 

Jonny:

Well, believe it or not. You know, because of iHeartRadio, we have almost a thousand radio stations from coast to coast. We interact with more people on a daily basis in the United States than Google does globally.

 

Greg:

Come on!

 

Jonny:

I’m not kidding. This is, people underestimate the reach of radio, but when it comes to Pittsburgh, I’ve always said Pittsburgh was the first radio market. It will be its last! Because radio is such an integral part of people’s lives here in Pittsburgh. Now I’m not saying I’m not going to discount the other media in, in certain, you know, satellite radio, you mentioned. The thing is satellite radio is a very expensive, you put a rocket into space and maintain it, that costs billions of dollars. And I don’t know what satellite’s going to do once Howard Stern retires. But—

 

Greg:

Why is he such a great interviewer? Because he is, right?

 

Jonny:

He is, he’s fantastic, he’s the best.

 

Greg:

What makes him great?

 

Jonny:

I’m not really crazy about his, the sophomoric humor.

 

Greg:

I get it, but when it comes to the interview, he does an interview. It’s like, it’s a great interview.

 

Jonny:

But with, with radio, we have maintained locality. And when, when, let’s talk newspapers. You’re a stock guy. When’s the last time you consulted the newspaper for stocks?

 

Greg:

Uh-huh. No. I, I mean, you know, it’s, it’s, we could be way more selective how, and when we consume information. So, so now, instead of reading the Wall Street Journal from, I will search the topic and then the source. So, I first go to the topic and then wherever that source is, Wall Street Journal, rather, that’s where I find it. So it’s a little different,

 

Jonny:

Right.

 

Greg:

So wait, let me just say I just, I, they gave me this statistic, which to support what you’re saying, I’m going to you, I’m not going to kill you with stats, but not, it says the average American spends 99 minutes a day, listening to the radio2. And just to support that, whoever’s listening right now, think about, okay, wait a minute. Have I listened to the radio today? And I have.

 

Jonny:

It’s changed in that. It’s, it’s mainly in cars and vehicles and things like that. You know, we used to have one of those big radios and you’d listen to at home. That generally doesn’t happen with the iHeartRadio, you can listen to anywhere. But okay. Let me ask you just on top of your head and I don’t want to—

 

Greg:

3WS, what’s the question.

 

Jonny:

All right. So the, when I open up my microphone, how many people do you think I’m talking to on a daily basis?

 

Greg:

Gosh, I would have no idea. I almost asked you that before. So, so 200,000?

 

Jonny:

Double that. About 400,000. Every time I opened up the mic, I’m talking to 400,000 people. And I start thinking about that, that kinda freaks you out. But, but a lot of people don’t realize that, that, you know, they aren’t listening for, oh boy, if they’d listen for 90 minutes, I’d be rich. 3WS is a music-oriented radio station though, so they don’t listen to that. But when you know, Pittsburghers, when the Steeler games on, they listen to the radio — big numbers. Now, when we play Christmas music, Ooh, that’s 600,000.

 

Greg:

You starting like next week, right?

 

Jonny:

Yeah, we are.

 

Greg:

Katie, Katie, Katie works with us in the room. She’s already started by the way, if you, regardless when you’re listening to this, it’s a, it’s August, but Katie’s listening to Christmas music—

 

Jonny:

Here’s a, do you know why we play Christmas music early?

 

Greg:

No. Why?

 

Jonny:

It’s because, well, first of all, you know, the first week, the ratings actually take a dip and then they skyrocket, but our ratings end like December 5th. So if we want to get a bounce in the ratings playing Christmas music, we gotta play it earlier.

 

Greg:

December 12th doesn’t help so much.

 

Jonny:

No it doesn’t. It really doesn’t.

 

Greg:

So let me ask you this. You’ve seen so much, it’s been since 1983, and one of the things that to have a successful and happy life, you have to evolve and, and life throws you curve balls, and you got to change and radio changes, and you got to change. What are some of the things that you’ve had to do professionally to allow you to change and adapt — and maybe it’s even your brand? Or is it the same brand?

 

Jonny:

Okay. I’ll, I’ll, I’ll give you an insight on the Jonny Hartwell program. You talked about, Hey I don’t do news. If you want news, you get that on your, on, you know, whatever news app you have on your phone sports scores, you know, the ratings for ESPN have plummeted because I can get the Pirate score anytime, all the time, and it can even be sent to me?

 

Greg:

Isn’t it amazing television, how little sports they have on the local news?

 

Jonny:

Cause they don’t need to; everybody knows the score way before the broadcast even happens. The way I looked at my show even 10 years ago when I first started at 3WS is like I’m gonna, I’m gonna do some Hollywood reports, but it’s going to be not controversial, but a little bit of commentary and say, you know, Hey Kim Kardashian, Kanye — make kind of make fun of that situation.

 

Greg:

Easy to do.

 

Jonny:

And so that I have a little bit of that. I want to do music news because you know, it’s a music driven radio station. The 3WS also has a history of 75 years of playing music. And so I want to be able to touch in, you know, people who listen to 3WS is very in tune with music from the fifties and sixties, even though we don’t play a lot of that anymore.

 

Jonny:

And there, I, I don’t avoid talking about music news of, of even current music, like Elton John has a current hit, now in the top 40. So I’m.

 

Greg:

Really good.

 

Jonny:

Yeah, it is really good. I agree.

 

Greg:

Yeah.

 

Jonny:

But, but that’s some of it, but my whole show is, before the break is, I’ve got a secret, Greg, I have a, I have a secret, I have a trivia question. I have a who-sings-it. And if you want to know the answer, you have to stay through the commercial break. It’s, it’s not, I’m not reinventing the wheel.

 

Greg:

The hook.

 

Jonny:

This is Casey Kasem, Casey Kasem did it for 40 years.

 

Greg:

What’s it called? Tease or hook, whatever you guys call it, whatever you guys call it. Yeah. It

 

Jonny:

Just keeps people listening. So if I do a trivia question, you know there’s only eight of these in America, all of them are in the Baltimore area. What is it? What is it?

 

Greg:

Eight … Baltimore.

 

Jonny:

There’s eight of these. And they’re only in the Baltimore area. Male cheerleaders. For the Ravens. And so if, if you want it, if you want to know the answer,

 

Greg:

I was so close to saying something. I was so close.

 

Jonny:

I was a male cheerleader.

 

Greg:

Given. So you take, you take 3WS, over a period of time, right? Right. Success leaves clues in any industry success leaves clues. So you take 3WS from number 11 in the market, is that true?

 

Jonny:

In the morning tonight.

 

Greg:

Yeah, in the morning. To number one.

 

Jonny:

In some months, in some instances, yeah, we’re number one.

 

Greg:

Yeah. It’s still it’s. It’s, it’s good. I mean, it’s and success leaves clues. What do you think if you could help the audience if you’re trying to be successful? And here’s some of the things we did that really allowed us to grow on the market.

 

Jonny:

Well, first of all, Pittsburghers can under, they can detect if you’re from out of town.

 

Greg:

For sure.

 

Jonny:

And if you’re not, if you’re not a Pittsburgher, they’re not going to embrace you. I’m Pittsburgh to the bone. I mean, even when I worked in in South Carolina, you know, I would say, you know, get aht!

 

Greg:

Get out.

 

Jonny:

Earlier, you went, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah.

 

Greg:

Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, I got it, I got it.

 

Jonny:

I, I in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is in the county of H-O-R-R-Y, pronounce it. H-O-R-R-Y. How would you pronounce it?

 

Greg:

I’m going to do it wrong. Hoary.

 

Jonny:

Yes. And I said, “hoary” on the air and they called me up. You Yankee! It’s O-ray!

 

Greg:

It’s sort of like people from out of town say, I saw someone from Dubois (doo-bwa).

 

Jonny:

Dubois (doo-boys) I worked there.

 

Greg:

Yeah. So, so you, so you have to be, you have to be genuine. You have to be native. You have to be authentic.

 

Jonny:

Yeah.

 

Greg:

That’s one of the things I get about you. You’re authentic.

 

Jonny:

Thank you.

 

Greg:

Yeah, no, it is. I mean, it’s a skill, I mean, to be authentic. You know, it’s: be you. In fact, in fact, we were talking about that. We’re going to do a little, little video on that. Be you. Like, whatever, be you.

 

Jonny:

I don’t know who else to be.

 

Greg:

I don’t know, but people— they do, people try to be someone else they’re not authentic. They’re not real. You have to be disarmingly candid. Be you.

 

Jonny:

Well, I think it comes back to, you know, coming up with a radio name, you know, that’s coming up with a character. Hi, I’m Jonny. I’m Jonny Hartwell. That’s my name. That’s who I’ve always been. I don’t know who else to be.

 

Greg:

Formerly known as Spank.

 

Jonny:

Can you edit that out?

 

Greg:

It’s Spank! So what makes it make what makes a good interview?

 

Jonny:

Just what you said, if, if the person is authentic.

 

Greg:

Yes.

 

Jonny:

And I’ve interviewed a thousand people and when I’m interviewing generally celebrities, they’re trying to sell something and it’s, it’s my job.

 

Greg:

Can’t you tell that like a mil, a mile away. Hate it.

 

Jonny:

I hate it. Yeah. And, and it’s, it’s difficult because I’m in a position, I know they want to sell something. And it’s, it would make me a bad interviewer if I avoided that subject, because that’s the reason why they are talking to me. And I’ll give you a prime example. David Crosby, one of the greatest vocalists ever, and — Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young — and I really wanted to get into why those four people don’t continue to put music together. And he was, he wasn’t having it. He just wasn’t having it. Even if he’s like, listen, we’ve moved on.

 

Greg:

Right.

 

Jonny:

It’s just like, I really wish I could get together with—

 

Greg:

Different chapter new season.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. But no, he was just like, Hm, Nope. Not going there. And I was like, ah, come on. That’s what, as an interviewer, that’s what everybody wants to know. I can sell your product. You got a new album; you have a show coming into Pittsburgh. I’ll be happy to talk about that. But if, if I didn’t ask you that question, that’s the question on everybody’s mind who is a fan?

 

Greg:

And it’s unfair for me to get to know you, you got to get to know me. For you to get to know me, I gotta let you in.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. And I’ll tell you—

 

Greg:

Let people in a little bit.

 

Jonny:

Here’s one of my favorite interviews ever, was — God, I forget his name. The American Idol, dog, Randy Jackson, Randy Jackson. When I went to interview him at the Grammy Awards, he’s like, Jonny Hartwell! How are you doing? And I was like, oh, he doesn’t know me, but he goes, man, you added this song this week. Why did you do that? I’m like, well, wait a minute. You know, my playlist? He was like, Hey, you didn’t know you didn’t you didn’t add the Jordin Sparks. What is it? What’s going on with that, man, it’s going to be a hit. I’m like, yeah, I’m probably going to do it in a week or so. He goes, what are you waiting for? Pull the trigger tomorrow, Tuesday’s tomorrow.

 

Jonny:

And it’s like, he knew that business. He knew me. And he, he was prepared for that, that interaction. And then he, and he actually introduced me to Janet Jackson while we were having this interview. No, yeah. I met Janet. She’s like, hi. And that was it. I was not impressed with Janet. She just said, hi, like, I don’t know you, fine, hello. But Randy took the time to do his homework with the person who’s going to be doing the interview. And that so impressed me. And the people who are prepared or understand that I have a goal as an interviewer and they have a goal as an interviewee and they, we kind of mesh, we do that dance, you know what I mean? You’ve done enough of these interviews, and you know what the, the, the best interviews that you’ve had, what was, what was that ingredient that you had?

 

Greg:

You know, there’s a connection. If there’s a connection. And so I think it’s so much easier, like you and I, I’m not asking on a date or anything like that, but like, there’s a connection. Like you come in, it’s a, it’s a warm, hello. Like, I just, when I, when I saw you in the lobby, I really felt like, you know what? Game on. I want to be here. This is going to be fun. Let’s go, let’s figure out how we can, like, you know—

 

Jonny:

And when you were on my podcast, I felt the same way.

 

Greg:

I loved it.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. Cause you—

 

Greg:

I had fun.

 

Jonny:

Yes. And that’s, that’s all I’m asking. I want you to have fun. I want you to be comfortable.

 

Greg:

And, and by the way, the whole go back to trying to sell stuff. I mean, I think, I don’t think we’ve ever talked about investing on here. I think if people get to know us, maybe they’ll work with us. If they get to know you, they’re going to be more interested in your podcast. And that happens, right? I mean, it just happens by, by creating rapport with people that then you end up doing better, more business and you get more listeners and things like that. I think if I sat here and said, and just so you know, Jonny Hartwell has a podcast coming out, make sure you tune in to whatever I’m going to get on it. You know what I mean? It’s brand new comes coming out, whatever, right.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. I don’t know. It’s a, it’s, it’s more of, in an idea concept stage.

 

Greg:

Yeah. But by you being Jonny Hartwell and being honest and being authentic, people are like, you know what? I’m going to listen to 3WS tomorrow morning. And I think. Yeah, no, I do.

 

Jonny:

Hey, I got three dogs— I have three kids and a dog, I need all the listeners I can get.

 

Greg:

But I think that is, I think that matters. And you know, it’s also true in politics. I don’t want to get into politics, but as an example and tangentially or whatever.

 

Jonny:

Well, I think that’s where our politics kind of fall apart is that they they’ve lost that commonality. That they, the, you know, how are, how real are these people?

 

Greg:

Right.

 

Jonny:

And I don’t, I don’t get it from either side, to be honest with you.

 

Greg:

No, I get it. I mean, but if you think about it, I’m not going to go there to which ones cause people will say like, oh, he’s Republican or Democrat, it’s not that, it’s just, it’s just checking in on people’s authenticity.

 

Jonny:

I’m neither. And I, I honestly believe broadcasters should be neutral.

 

Greg:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Jonny:

That’s I mean that’s kind of an old school—

 

Greg:

Where’s, where’s radio in 10 years?

 

Jonny:

That’s interesting. I think it needs to be hyper-local. I don’t think it’s headed that way, but I think it, it, it maintains like you look at the radio stations that are successful in any market. The top three or four are the ones that are local talking about local stuff.

 

Greg:

So this is, this is something you and I talked about before. I guess they were recording, but I think, I think it’s a key to success. The more local decisions are made, the more they can be made for the benefit of the community. And, and that’s true in politics. Again, that’s true in business. What’s happening in business right now. Like, I mean, we’re blessed to be a local firm or whatever. And we can do things, you know, we can, we can make quicker decisions, we can adapt more. But these big organizations think they’re going to make a decision in Washington, D.C. that’s going to affect us positively here in Pittsburgh. And it’s not true. Same with radio, right? I think I mentioned to you our house was struck by lightning. And so we got— you shouldn’t smile when I say that, that’s like not a joke. And Jonny’s over there like smiling. My house was struck by lightning. Thinks that’s funny.

 

Jonny:

I lived in Pennsbury. We never had power. If, if, if lightning strikes in Singapore, boom, Our lights go off.

 

Greg:

So real quick story. So I see firetrucks going up the road in our South Hills office. And I jokingly said like, oh my gosh, I hope my house isn’t on fire. I hope that’s not me.

 

Jonny:

It was you?

 

Greg:

It was us. So Lori, my wife calls, my wife calls me in five minutes and is like, honey, our house was struck by lightning. I said, we all okay? Okay. Do I need to come home? No, you’re good. Okay. So I sat, I never got up. And it was, it was such an important meeting. I’m like, okay. I’m not getting out of this room until we figure this out. We did. Later on, she told me I probably should have come home. So yeah, in hindsight. Here, here’s a tip for the listeners. We’re trying to help people improve: when your house, when you’re away at work and your house gets struck by lightning — go home. It’s just a little, little, little tip.

 

Jonny:

Tidbit of the day. It’s Greg’s tidbit of the day!

 

Greg:

But anyway we got struck by lightning. So we had to go get Sonos. So now Sonos is great, but, and I’m sure I’ll learn how to use it eventually, but I loved going — when you said it has to be local — I loved going to the wall, pressing the, the keyboard and putting in 3WS, or B94. And now it’s like, I get that I can listen to like, whatever Dave Matthews all day long, but I don’t want to.

 

Jonny:

Well, I, I think where Pittsburgh radio has succeeded is that, you know, the — newspapers have faded. And it’s too bad. Cause I love, I love reading—

 

Greg:

A cup of coffee and a newspaper.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. And, and television has almost disappeared, especially from a local standpoint because we’re all you know, we’re all connected with Tik Tok and YouTube, and, and we already know the sports scores. Why do I need that? And plus now with 932 streaming services, I don’t know where to find WPXI. Where are you? And, and, and so, but with radio, one thing you can pick us up on an app now. You can pick it up in in your car, but we also are able to integrate with social media, very, you know, very easily. And that has allowed us to adapt. And that that’s, one thing that Pittsburgh radio has done exceedingly well is interact with social media. Because, because we, we talked about, you know, the importance of being local. I take as many phone calls as I, as I possibly can, because that’s my opportunity to touch somebody. And, you know, it suddenly, you know Pam calls and then the next time I recognize her voice and say, hey Pam? I’m done. She’s gone. She, she is, she’s going to listen to 3WS forever because I Jon, Jonny recognized my voice and he’s my guy now. And so that’s—

 

Greg:

So you think it goes back, because it feels like it’s gone away from being a local, not, maybe not around here, but, but it has, right. I mean—

 

Jonny:

It does. Yeah. I lived in California for a time. And in California, Los Angeles is not integrated with, with the local community at all.

 

Greg:

So you think it comes back to being more local? To be successful Pittsburgh, the radio, come back to being more local?

 

Jonny:

Not just radio, but even in, in—

 

Greg:

In our business.

 

Jonny:

Financial, for sure. Absolutely.

 

Greg:

So we are able to do things for our clients. I think if we were national and had thousands and thousands of people, we have to make decisions differently. So hopefully Pittsburgh, because again, you know, WCRO, Glue 92,

 

Jonny:

Let me ask you a question, because now we’re moving into a Zoom era where everybody’s talks on Zoom and Zoom can be personable. If you talk to that person as a real person to have a real connection. When I interviewed you on, on my podcast, it was over Zoom and we still were able to maintain a connection. So I think even if you use that technology, it has to have a, you have to have that connection, whether it’s face-to-face or through Zoom or whatever technology you use, having that personal, having somebody look you in the eyeball and say, you know, this is what I think you ought to do. And it makes a big difference.

 

Greg:

But whether it’s Pam, you recognize the voice, right. Or over Zoom, or you and I across the table, the ability to connect is unique.

 

Jonny:

You think?

 

Greg:

I do.

 

Jonny:

Really?

 

Greg:

I do. And I, and I worry, it’s becoming more rare.

 

Jonny:

Wow. Yeah.

 

Greg:

Just because, you know, we think: I talked to them. Really. How’d you do that? Did you talk to them? I texted them. You texted them. So I think the connection—

 

Jonny:

Yeah. I agree.

 

Greg:

I just think it’s, I think it’s different. And I think for, for, not that I know anything about radio, but it just feels like my connection with Sonos is very different than my connection with a local radio station. Like through 3WS.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. I, I think that.

 

Greg:

You feel like you have a connection because you have, because you have things in common, which creates rapport.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. If I, if during COVID I did a couple shows from home. And because I didn’t have that connectivity, I felt lost. I felt like I was, I was in an ocean. I didn’t, I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know the direction I needed to go. And then, so I went, I did maybe a week’s worth of shows from home. And I was like, nah, I can’t do this. I have to go back into the studio.

 

Greg:

Yeah. And I want to be around people I work with. I want to people, I want to do business with people. I want to, I want to interview. I want to people, to be around people have a connection to, it’s just so much more fun. Like I really enjoy spending time. I there’s a connection. And I think that that’s unique. And I, and maybe that’s what makes you, you know, 11 to 1, the city feels like they have a connection with you.

 

Jonny:

I don’t know. I hope so. I mean, I have a connection to Pittsburgh. I haven’t had a desire to move into another city now.

 

Greg:

I’m never moving.

 

Jonny:

My, my goal was always to come back to Pittsburgh. You know, I, I, my first real gig was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, doing a morning show. Went down, there on vacation, right after graduation from college. Knocked at this one radio station. And this guy goes, I’ll tell you what, boy, there’s this new radio station down the road a piece, you should go down there. And I’m like, oh my God, Gomer Pyle can work in Myrtle Beach, I can. So I ended up going down to this radio station, knocked on the door. It was a Saturday morning. The guy asked me three questions. What’s your name? Where are you from? When do you want to start? They just fired the midday guy that night because they had a trip to Charlotte, a bus trip, no drinking allowed. Well, he had a bottle of Jack Daniels. He chugged it, threw up backstage and they fired him. So the boss had to fill in for the, the morning show, you know, that his show on, on Saturday morning, he was like, he’s thinking I hate doing these Saturday morning things. Jonny Hartwell showed up. That’s how I got my first job.

 

Greg:

So that was the first one.

 

Jonny:

First one.

 

Greg:

So most embarrassing moment on, on like, air that you hit, like you just starting out. When you were like, oh boy!

 

Jonny:

No. Oh, actually the first and most embarrassing moment I ever had was, was on B94. I was at the Grammy Awards. KDKA TV asked me to do a live cut-in. I feel completely comfortable behind a radio mic. In front of a television camera, no! A different story. And I went on the red carpet. I had about 10 minutes before airtime. I had this little box of sadness, a bunch of, you know, earpieces. And I don’t know how they work. And I had to look for sat three, and I was going up to every camera going, are you sat 3? Are you sat 3?

 

Jonny:

And nobody was answering. They, they had their little, and all of a sudden, I felt an arm beside me saying, I think, I think you need to go here. And this guiding hand led me down to the red carpet to sat 3. I looked over; it was Ellen DeGeneres.

 

Greg:

Really.

 

Jonny:

She helped me. And she said, are you sat 3? And the guy goes, yeah. And then she put the earpiece in. I was on the air with Patrice King Brown and Ken Rice. And I’m on the air in Pittsburgh. I can’t hear them. All right. So I’m just guessing on their questions. And I’m just rambling along. I’m not, I’ve never done television before. And then all of a sudden, I hear Patrice go, Hey, is that the Dixie Chicks? And I look over and there are the Dixie Chicks. I said, Hey Dixie Chicks, say hello to Pittsburgh. And they came over and they said, hi Pittsburgh. And then they went back to whatever they are doing. What I didn’t know is they were being interviewed, live on CNN. And I brought them off camera to go say hi to Pittsburgh. So the producer on CNN, is screaming at me while I’m looking into a camera.

 

Greg:

Who’s the Daryl from Pittsburgh?

 

Jonny:

We are live on the radio! What are you doing!

 

Greg:

We are very serious about what we do.

 

Jonny:

And I am just horrified. And all of a sudden, I hear, okay, that’s Jonny Hartwell… And they sent me the tape of it. I will never watch that tape. I was so embarrassed.

 

Greg:

My most embarrassing, I land in Orlando for an interview. Okay. I get picked up. They take me to the conference room. I sit there, I’m in the wrong room. I jumped in the wrong car. Nope. Different day. But yeah, I did. I was, I was ready to be interviewed. And I’m like, wow, this place has Prudential way too much all over the walls because it was a client of whatever. And I was like, they’re like, you’re not… I’m like, nope. And I’m like, you’re not… I literally jumped in the wrong car. Went for an interview, sat in the conference room. And they were, I wondered why they weren’t being very attentative to me. And so like, they, they, they finally come in and I’m realizing I’m in the total wrong company. I had to go back. I got the job though. It was good.

 

Jonny:

Oh nice. Good.

 

Greg:

That was good. So anyhow, Jonny, as I expected, it was a delight to talk to you. And we appreciate y’all doing Pittsburgh. I also know you’re very involved in some charities, which we appreciate. So, you know, you got a big heart, and we appreciate it.

 

Jonny:

The Alzheimer’s Association, my mother had Alzheimer’s, so it’s near and dear to my heart. Hair Peace Charities, American Cancer Society.

 

Greg:

You know what’s fun about being successful like you are, and having a voice, is you get to make a difference. And that’s cool.

 

Jonny:

You know, and I, you know, I do the Sunday morning programs, the, the public affairs programs for iHeart. And because I do, I really think that the, the nonprofits here in Pittsburgh do such great work.

 

Greg:

Phenomenal.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. And Pittsburghers take care of Pittsburghers. And I’d like to be part of that tradition.

 

Greg:

Yeah. I was listening to a couple of other podcasts over the last couple of days, and they said to have happiness, you have to serve others.

 

Jonny:

Hmm. I agree.

 

Greg:

Like if you really going to be happy in your heart, you have to serve others. And then that, that, that leads to happiness more than, you know, buying the next car. It’s serving others.

 

Jonny:

Yeah well, you know, so I’m, I’m part of I’m in the Diogenes form of my life right now. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the philosopher who, he was a Greek philosopher who lived in a wine cask and didn’t need anything. He had a bowl and a tunic. That’s all he owned. He saw a young boy drinking from a cup, saw, from his hands rather. And he said, I don’t need this cup. And so all, he said, I can drink water from my hands. So I think if you can, in your mind say, you know what, I just want to serve other people. I don’t need anything. I can live in a wine cask and still be happy. And so I think a lot of people just need more stuff, and I’m just not there. That’s not where my head is.

 

Greg:

Well at least know why you got this stuff; you know what I mean? Like, I understand the why behind the purchase. So we just bought a place in in Florida and the reason for it wasn’t so I could have a place in Florida. So it’s because I wanted to share moments with my children. And so like the why behind is different. Right? So I’m visualizing being there for Thanksgiving with them and really, really spending time with my children and grandchildren, parents. So I think at least you got to know why.

 

Jonny:

Yeah. And if you’re spending time with family, isn’t that—

 

Greg:

What it’s about?

 

Jonny:

That’s what everything’s about.

 

Greg:

That’s what it’s about. So anyhow, Jonny, thank you so much. I really enjoyed this.

 

Jonny:

This was fun. We should do it again.

 

Greg:

Always. Thanks.

 

Greg:

Thanks for listening. If you’d like to hear other subject matters that may be of interest to you. Please check us out at confluenceFP.com/podcasts.

What does it take to “make it”? How do you build a personal brand? What is the true definition of wealth? Tune in to find out about these subjects and more as host and Partner of Confluence Financial Partners, Greg Weimer, interviews radio personality, Jonny Hartwell. You’ll find out how the legendary DJ got his start, how he took the 3WS Morning Show from #11 to #1 in the ratings, how the medium has evolved, and his most memorable celebrity interviews. You’ll also gain insights into building a personal brand (and why it’s important for everyone, even to those outside of show business) and what it takes to build a successful business. If you are interested in meeting the man behind one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic voices — or discovering the real meaning of “making it” — don’t touch that dial.

SOURCES
1) Nielsen’s 2019 Audio Today Report
2) Statista, 2021

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