Is Randy Miller still outrageous after all these years? You’re about to find out — as long as your radio can pull in a country station out of Warrensburg, Mo.
By TIM ENGLE
The Kansas City Star
Miller was a big-deal morning show guy in Kansas City starting in the mid-1980s. Among other gigs (some in other cities), he did three stints at Q-104, when it played Top 40 and when it switched to “young country.” He made some forays into TV, too, including a local dating show and KCTV-5’s morning show.
His most recent radio job in KC was on the old 97.3 FM, the Planet. That was a decade ago.
Since then Miller, 54, has run his own ad agency and filled in on radio stations elsewhere, like WGN in Chicago. He also created and co-hosts a syndicated radio show for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of his advertising clients.
But last year he moved from Bucyrus in Johnson County to Lone Jack in eastern Jackson County and discovered a radio station called 98.5 the Bar. The FM signal, boosted substantially in September, “booms in eastern Jack all the way to the Lake of the Ozarks,” Miller says, including a good chunk of the metropolitan area.
Until recently the Bar’s morning show was beamed in from Nashville. “The Randy Miller Morning Show” signs on Monday, airing 6-10 a.m. weekdays (also accessible at warrensburgradio.com).
A Warrensburg station is not exactly Q-104, but the location doesn’t bother Miller a bit or feel like a comedown. He recounts a recent conversation with a “radio buddy” who told him, “You found a station not owned by CBS, Cumulus or Entercom.”
To which Miller replied: “Yeah, it’s owned by a couple of guys.”
He adds: “When I met these guys, they said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I’d really like to do anything I want. And they said OK. And I haven’t been told that by a radio station maybe ever.”
The two guys are Greg Hassler and Vance DeLozier, whose company D & H Media owns an AM station, KOKO, as well as the FM station. The Bar, besides playing mainstream country, is also the flagship station of University of Central Missouri athletics and the farthest-west affiliate to carry St. Louis Cardinals games.
“We wanted a good, solid, live morning show,” Hassler says. “(Miller) wants to get back on the air. He’s been solid everywhere he’s been. What the heck.”
Over the years Miller made a name for himself with stunts, prank phone calls and recurring bits like “Plaza Patrol,” which lampooned security guys on the Country Club Plaza.
He promises more of the same on the Bar. Right out of the gate, he’s planning a Valentine’s Day promotion he’s calling “Show Me Your Nuts … About Your Valentine,” with a prize of diamond earrings.
“I only know how to do one kind of show,” Miller says. With some perspective, he now has a better sense of what people want. And it’s not always the crazy stuff.
But you never know what people will remember. He tells of a woman who approached him and asked if he recognized her. He didn’t. Turned out she was in a “Pregnant and Proud of It” pageant he once did. (“Yeah, but at that time you were pregnant,” he pointed out.)
“There are people I’ve met in the last 10 years who do my characters better than I do,” Miller says, “and they’re gonna be included in the show.”
His goal: to syndicate the new show to stations around the Midwest.
For now Miller will be doing the program from Warrensburg — it’s only a 20-minute drive from Lone Jack — but he plans to add a radio studio to his house.
Had he been itching to get back on the air? He laughs.
“I’ve had some chances to do a radio show here and other places, with some very, very rigid restrictions that really wouldn’t have made it very fun for me. To be on the air at 6 o’clock every morning, it’s gotta be fun. Or I think you just don’t do it.”
Radio stations in Kansas City have become “so cookie cutter,” he says. “They’re just not having fun, and you can kinda hear that.”
He pledges that won’t be the case at the Bar, whatever that name refers to. (Flowing drinks? Something lawyers have to pass?)
“Whatever it is,” Miller cracks, “I’m gonna lower it.”
To reach Tim Engle, call 816-234-4779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @tim_engle