You may have noticed some familiar voices back on your radio these days if you listen to KAYO, 96.9, The South Sound’s Choice for Country. And that’s because BigD and Bubba have returned to help you get through your mornings. It’s been almost six years since they left the air waves of the Puget Sound. If you’re a country music fan like myself, you’ve been grieving ever since. So how thrilled was I to learn they were back on my radio and I would get the honors of interviewing them.
“We’re so excited that KAYO believed in us enough to bring us back in. I’m glad that we get a chance to come back now to what we consider family. We have so many people that have still listened to us over this entire hiatus through the internet and what not. So it’s pretty exciting,” they share with me over the phone.
BigD and Bubba are not new to the radio scene. They both started at the young age of fourteen, not knowing where they would end up all these years later. Bubba tells me he just wanted to play on the company’s softball team and in order to do so he had to be an employee of the station. As for BigD, “He went to his local radio station in Tennessee and applied. He basically walked in and said, ‘Can I have a job?’ and the guy said, ‘Hey why not.’” And well, as they say the rest is history.
The pair teamed up in 1996 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when they were both working at a local station and found they just clicked. It didn’t take long for the team to move into national syndication, proving a medium-sized radio market duo can be successful in bigger cities. When an opportunity came for a move to Nashville in 2006, BigD and Bubba jumped at the chance to live and broadcast where the heart of country music is. “That’s the biggest draw, having access to that. This is music city for a reason, it’s here. And that’s such a big part of what we do. We are such big fans of country music, so it’s really a no brainer.”
It allows them to chat in person on the show with such country music greats as George Strait, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood, everyone who’s anybody. These guys know them all. However, if these award-winning singers think it’s going to be a normal interview, it will be anything but. BigD and Bubba like to make their famous guests do some outrageous things you wouldn’t expect and don’t just ask run of the mill questions. You never know what you’re going to get when you tune in.
But it isn’t just about the big names with these guys. They make their show relatable to everyday people by combining personal stories, humor and their favorite, interacting with their listeners. Bubba says, “There’s so many people that feel like they are a part of our community. We are the original social media. We are talking one-on-one with our listeners and talking to everyone at the same time, so it’s a part of something bigger.”
What specifically makes people actually listen to this unique dynamic duo? As I tuned my radio to one of their morning shows, I can say I kept listening because I was entertained. It really doesn’t matter who you are, your political beliefs or what you’re interested in, you’ll likely find yourself smiling whenever you hear BigD and Bubba on the radio. I find their tongue and cheek humor just what I need in the morning to start my day off right. They take some often boring current events and add their spin to turn it into something you want to listen to.
However, humor aside, there’s much more to BigD and Bubba that keeps you from changing the station. These guys lead interesting lives. Both are married with kids, and they often speak about their personal lives on the show. In fact, I caught a special segment where Bubba’s 10-year-old son Frank debuted his latest rap song about the indecisive election. As I laughed along with it, and honestly he was quite good, it reminded me of my own son. It’s personal anecdotes like these that make BigD and Bubba not just a voice in the radio, but more like friends. On any given day, you might catch the team chatting about their mutual love of flying airplanes or Bubba’s obsession with old cars. These two are people you only wish you could hang out with and grab a beer. That’s exactly why they are back on our radios every morning. They remind us not to always take things so seriously and get out and enjoy our lives.
When I asked them if they have any advice for young people hoping to get in the business they had this to say. “There is always going to be a place for entertainers. And there is always going to be room for someone to get their foot in the door. First of all, if you want to do it and don’t have the means, try podcasting. Also go to your local radio station, go knock on the door and say, ‘Hey I’m willing to do whatever.’” They say the biggest thing is to get out there any way you can and just do it. Be involved in your local stations because they usually will promote from within because they already know the people. If BigD and Bubba are any indication, their philosophy definitely works. Last year they received a huge honor with a Country Music Award for National Personalities of the Year.
“These guys are relatable to a soccer mom dropping off her kids or a hard working logger. They cut across barriers and really have a broad based program,” says KAYO Program Director, Ken Moultrie.
KGY/KAYO general manager Jackson Dell Weaver agrees they have something special too. “At the end of the day, in a digital age, having unique personalities is very important for local radio. Pandora and Spotify can play the music…but local radio alone has personalities and engagement. We’re jazzed to have Big D & Bubba join our team.”
Whether you listen on your way to work, in the shower, or while taking the kids to school, we are lucky to have BigD and Bubba back on our radio here in the South Sound. Bubba tells me they are more than happy to be here. “It feels like we are getting a part of the family back. What more can we say than we are stoked out of our minds and just diving in, we’re happy. We can’t wait to get back out there.”
You can listen to BigD and Bubba on 96.9 KAYO, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday and also on Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. KAYO is owned by KGY, Inc. which is a family owned station that has been a part of the Olympia community since 1922. KAYO brands themselves South Sound Country and covers Thurston, Pierce, Mason, and Greys Harbor counties.