top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Hawkeye: Country Radio Hall of Famer, Mornings New Country 96.3 Dallas

Updated: May 13, 2023

I had my first trip to Dallas last August and was looking forward to a few things: Visiting the Texas School Book Depository, Eating some Texas BBQ, and listening to the radio.

We did all three but I did not check out a lot of country radio which is weird because Dallas radio is full of country music, sports, and is the home of the venerable Kidd Kraddick show. It also has some legendary personalities who have left their mark on the city (like Kidd), but also Ron Chapman, Terry Dorsey and Tom Joyner who did mornings in Dallas before jetting off to Chicago DAILY to do afternoon drive.

Hawkeye has been apart of all of that in the market, including working alongside Terry Dorsey where he learned how to morning radio on the job. In this episode we discussed what makes Dallas a great place to do radio, what it takes to have a successful show in market number 5, why consultants can help grow your career, and what you need to know when you move to Dallas to do radio. We also had some random discussion about the sports scene, the changing demographics in communities and where to get some good Texas BBQ.

We also spent time talking about the morning show, including the division in work and performance between himself and his co-host Michelle, and how much time to allot to on air vs. online.


How about this for a legacy initiative?

Camp Bowie Boulevard was looking a little plain and boring in the 90's. So Hawkeye decided to plant some trees. It started with working with city council to get approval, followed by getting volunteers together to plant the trees. Last month Fort Worth commemorated the 25th anniversary of the planting of those trees.

Hawkeye said, “When I started the tree adoption program and campaign in 1997, Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth’s last brick road, had a wide, bare median. I went to work getting donors to adopt trees and by 1998, we raised the necessary funds to make my crazy dream a reality, and the planting began. 25 years later, Camp Bowie Boulevard is known for its miles of mature majestic oak trees that shade this historic street.”

What an incredible achievement that touches all the bases of great local radio. Read the whole story.



Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:00:02

The sound off podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:13

A trip to the Dallas Fort Worth area this week as I speak with Hawkeye from Cumulus owned New Country 96 three. I had my first taste of radio in Dallas last August when I traveled there, ironically, for a Pod cast convention. My listening was on the previous incarnation of Hot 93 Three, which featured Mason in the Morning. I also checked out 96 Seven, The Ticket and The Fan because it is Dallas Cowboys territory and as we know, the Dallas Cowboys are the biggest drama on TV since Dallas. I did not check out two of the more popular country stations in the market, like The Wolf and New Country 96 Three. Time was short and I haven't felt the need to keep up with country music since I stopped trying my luck at Esmeraldas in Edmonton back in the 90s. By the way, both those country stations are owned by Cumulus. Two country stations in the building. Yeah, we're going to talk about that now. Longtime Dallas Morning host and Country Radio Hall of Famer. Hawkeye joins me from his home in.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:01:10

Fort Worth, starting in San Antonio. I actually did college radio in San Antonio and the department chairman at San Antonio College, her name was Miss Jean Longworth and she's passed away now, but the department building is now named after her. She was in her 70s when I was there, so I was in her office one day and radio station called. They needed a part timer for the weekend. And this is basically how everybody in San Antonio, Texas got their first job, is some program director would call Miss Jean Longweigh up. And I just happened to be in the office when a job came through and she told her secretary, we need someone for this job. At Sunday mornings from 06:00 A.m. To three in the afternoon, I was like, I'll take that job. I was working at the college station, and then I started working commercial radio there, thanks to Miss Jean Longwith.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:56

So were you working on air or are you just changing religious tapes like.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:01:59

I was I was mostly changing religious tapes, but they had like from noon to three we got to play music and they didn't really have a log. And I didn't really know the music all that well. And I'm sure I didn't make the best selection, but it sounds like you did the exact same thing they did.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:20

Let me talk between six and eight in the morning, but after that I was going to give way to somebody a little more religious than I was.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:02:29

Did you ever fall asleep during one of the hour long tapes that you had to run?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:33

No. I do know that the worst thing that happened was the tape got twisted. Just never a good thing. And then the next thing that happened was, we're going to let you read the funeral announcements, and that's the first thing that happened during the shift. And you never really want to, first off, do that the very first thing because you're going to botch someone's name, right?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:02:54


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:55

And you can't apologize to them because they're gone.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:02:58

No, that's a bit I still do. I still do that bit every morning.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:03

Was radio on your radar before you got the call?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:03:07

Yeah, definitely was on. I just always was enamored by radio, and I always thought it was a great profession. And I remember as a kid, you remember the I might be older than you, but the mobile radio stations that used to be, like, in the shopping center parking lot, oh, my gosh. We had one in Lansing, Michigan, and I lived there for a short time, and my mom drive by that all the time, so I could peek in the window. I just thought, that's got to be the greatest thing ever, to be sitting in there playing music for everybody, talking to everybody. So, yeah, I was enamored by radio at a very young age.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:40

What did you do after San Antonio?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:03:42

Finished up my degree at University of North Texas, and then I actually worked a year in New York City doing video production. And then I went back to San Antonio. I just really didn't like video. I wanted to get back into radio, and I missed it. And I went back to San Antonio. I knew a bunch of people there, and I was able to get a job pretty quickly, a part time job. And I did part time radio for about a year until a full time position opened up. And I was in San Antonio for probably four years total before I got a call out of the blue from a former program director who was in Dallas, who asked if I wanted to come up to Dallas and work with a guy by the name of Terry Dorsey who was like legendary in Dallas. And it was kind of like, if you're a high school baseball player and Derek Jeter called you up and said, do you want to come play for the Yankees with me? That's what that was like. It was out of the blue. And Terry was at the top of his game at the time, and they had just hired him at KSCS, and they needed someone to be a sidekick. And it was the best call of my life, totally changed my life, and I've been there ever since 1988.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:46

Why did you get that call?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:04:49

I worked with the program director, Ted Stecker of KSCS. I worked with him in San Antonio where he was a consultant, and he knew me there. And unfortunately for Ted Stecker, he got let go as the consultant when a new general manager came in. So one of the first things he did when he was already working at KSCS in Dallas, and he had hired Terry Dorsey. So one of the first things he did after hiring Terry Dorsey was, give me the call. Do I want to come down and work with Terry Dorsey? And so it was just right place, right time. I worked with a great consultant who was also a program director, ted Stecker. To be honest, he was kind of like my dad in this industry. He was like a father figure. He passed away way too soon, but he was a great programmer and I just loved working for him.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:34

I think anybody who's gotten this far through the show knows that you're clearly a student of radio and people have always had something to say and you've been able to take it in because we've mentioned a number of people who are called in to consult or they're programmers or whatnot. What is it about what you do that makes you a student of radio?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:05:55

Well, you know what, I was watching a little clip from Steven Jobs the other day, and he was saying, if you just really love something and for most people, if they don't love it and it gets hard, they just walk away from it. I'm a student of radio because I love it. I absolutely love it. My favorite 4 hours of the day, literally are the 4 hours in the morning that we do our show. That's my favorite 4 hours of the day. I love when we have a great show. I have a great co host, Michelle Rodriguez, and we have like today, our show just killed from top to bottom the minute we turned that mic on until we walked out of there. Every break we just had, something was just fantastic. And days like that, you're just excited when you get off the air. You're excited for the next day if you know you got stuff coming up. And that's what makes me a student radio. I love to find out what other people are doing things at work. And I'm just a fan of radio in general. We don't get to listen to a lot of morning shows because we're on in the morning, but I definitely am fan of what other people do.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:48

What was that first year like in Dallas? You get brought in, you're going to be alongside for the ride.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:06:55

I'd never been at a station before. That was their promotions and they had a plan. I'd never been at a station before, like in San Antonio, like this one, they had a plan. They just hired Terry Dorsey. They were losing to another station across town. So their plan was to be the number one country station and then the number one station in the market. And then we had a great general manager, Victor Sanson also, and him and Ted Sticker put together a plan. And within a year we were the number one country station. And when within three years, we were the number one station in the market, and we were that for a very long time. We knocked off a guy by the name of Ron Chapman on KVIL, and that was pretty amazing. If you're not familiar with KVIL, this is a true story. KVIL and Ron Chapman, he was so dominant in this market that in the late eighty s, the Dallas Cowboys sold for $86 million. KVIL sold for $84 million. That's how valuable KVIL radio was. It sold at the same price as the Cowboys.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:57

You know, there's actually an Art Volo video bit with them talking about that on KVIL.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:08:04

Yes, I have seen that, yes.

Clip 00:08:06

The people who are buying us this week yeah, this week's, owners of KVIL are paying. The rumor is now, I'm not here to officially state this because I don't know, and I may be told totally differently right after nine, but the rumor is that the price tag is now up for this station alone to something around $82 million. Gang, I mean, that's the highest price ever been paid for any radio station in the history of the world, and it's us. Okay, now that's a lot of money. Okay, so that's significant enough. We've seen the bidding go up and up, but listen to what he says here. Graham points out that that means that KVIL is worth more than the entire Dallas Cowboys franchise. Wow. Now think about that. How much did the Cowboys sell for, Mark? A little over 60 million. Over 60 million. And we're going for about 82. That's amazing. There's an answer to that, though. What's the answer? There go your season tickets, Jonathan. The other thing I'd like to have is I'd like to have one owner for 25 years. Okay. We haven't had one for 25 years.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:23

That's right. And it's funny that's like the second week in a row that I've brought up the Dallas Cowboys and that sale because we had Jeff Smellion on.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:09:31

Oh, okay. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:33

And the same year Jeff bought the Seattle Mariners.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:09:36

Yeah, I remember when that happened.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:38

Yeah, it was definitely a wild time. And KVIL and Ron Chapman. Legends in the market. Dallas has really cranked out a lot of legends. Kid crate it comes to mind. And you're talking about a country radio station that you're trying to knock off an established country brand. How's that done? Because I've had people come up and say, there's the country station and then there's the other country station. What is the plan to try to change those roles?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:10:06

Well, you know, over 35 years, it's it's really interesting. And even if you go back before I started working here, KFCs was the dominant station in the early eighty s. And then Kplex hired a guy by the name of Terry Dorsey, and he came up with this radio bit that's just so ridiculous called a Heiny wine. And that really propelled that radio station KPLX to number one. And then KSCS, which was owned by the time by ABC Cap Cities in the late 80s they decided they wanted to be number one again. They were going to do what it takes. So they hired Terry Dorsey away and they had a promotional budget that was huge. They became number one through the late eighty s and into the then around 2000 Caplex decided that they need to do something. They've been number two for over a decade. So they changed their whole identity to The Wolf. To be honest, when you're number one for over a decade, you tend to get a little overconfident, maybe a little fat and lazy. And then they came out like a runaway train. It was something I'd never seen before promotionally. They just hit on all cylinders. So they were number one for like another three or four years. And then it went back and forth like book to book to book for a number of years. Now we're owned both owned by Cumulus, and that's really strange too, to be in the building. There's a lot of advantages to having both country stations. We get promotions that nobody else in the nation gets because they don't have to worry about offending the competing radio station. But there's also disadvantages too. If we come up with a great promotion, it's like, yeah, that's a fantastic promotion. We're going to do it for you guys in January and we're going to do it on The Wolf in February. So there's an advantage and a disadvantage to it. There were some growing pains with that, but it's not too bad.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:48

Right now I'm familiar with both the brands because I've had a chance to listen to them. And what Cumulus does with the Wolf War New Country, whether it was Atlanta or Minneapolis or wherever, I got to give it a listen. How do you differentiate those brands? Is there record splitting? Is it voices? Does it skew? How do you carve up that country pie in Dallas?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:12:10

That's an interesting question because they tried a couple of different things and it wasn't an instant success. Even at one time when the Dickies owned Cumulus, when they ran Cumulus, they tried to put pop music on KSCS to differentiate. That was a disaster that lasted like maybe two weeks and it was just overwhelmingly people were upset about it. And now the differentiation of the two is the newer music ends up on New Country 96, three KSCS and The Wolf does not play anything that is brand new out of the box. They play stuff. The newest stuff they play is probably six months old, going back all the way deep into the 90s. We are from today all the way back into probably 2010, 2005 in that era. So they kind of skew a little bit older than us now. So they've done a good job differentiating the two. But you can do that because we're owned by the same people. If we were competitors, we'd probably have the exact same formats when it comes.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:07

To music on the show and as well as station does revolve a little bit of round new music. Yet we have an established morning show host. What is the role of music on the show?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:13:18

We play about eight songs an hour in the morning, seven to eight songs an hour. And the two stations that are above us in the market, one is Kid Cratic and the other is a sports station. The Ticket. They're the two stations, the last book that were ahead of us, and both of them don't play any music. And I think eventually that's the way you have to go. But when country is such a part of people's life, country music is such a part of people's life in Dallas, it's really difficult to kind of go all talk because people expect to hear they're coming to you to hear music and great bits and conversation and topics and so forth. It's really difficult to kind of make that step to all talk, and especially when people have been hearing music on your station for a long time. So I don't know if we'll ever get there. I don't know if we'll ever get to that point.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:03

Well, I look at country music, the songs are short enough. Eight songs. That seems reasonable.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:14:08

Yeah, it's about 20 minutes, 23 minutes around there. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:12

So that puts a little pressure on you to keep it short, keep it tight, keep it bright, which is probably something you've been doing all along anyway. But I hear a lot of people sort of struggle with taking great content and then putting it right down into the nice, tidy amount of time that you need to do in order to get through it. So how do you keep it that way?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:14:35

That is a challenge. So my co host Michelle and I, we plan on our whole show. Exactly. We're going to do every break, and then we get in the break before the break, we kind of discuss how we're going to get into it, what we're going to discuss in there, and how to get out. And we may say this is a good point to get out, might get out at point A, point B, or point C. We have different exit points quite often. We might not get to this. I had a great program director, Lauren Pelagi, who once told me that, hey, don't be afraid to leave some stuff on the editing room floor. The pacing is very different. Sometimes I go over next door, we have a sports talk station. It's more really guy talk. They have no songs, obviously, because it's talk and their pacing is so slow, pauses and so forth. We would never do that because we're trying to cover a topic in three to four minutes and have a beginning and middle and the end of the story and then maybe leave a portion for the audience to jump in with phone calls and so forth. So you really got to plan out your breaks very, very well.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:39

I love that word that you said, which is pacing. And I can tell that this morning's show, because you're still beaming from it, had great pacing because that's really what makes the show great, is did you get in, did you get out, how did we feel? And could we move on and leave enough on the floor?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:15:56

Yeah, exactly. If I got stuff I never got to. I know we had a good show.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:01

And there's so much going on these days with the prep you can do and the social media. So again, we've got more pie to sort of break up here. And when you're on the air, there's still an online component. So between you and Michelle, how would you divide that and how do you look at what's important in that moment?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:16:19

The show, what we put on the air has to be the first priority. And we don't have a large staff, it's just Michelle and I. And then we have a producer, which we did not have till a year ago. It was just Michelle and I for a long time. So we had to be very judicious with our time. We try to reformat as much as our stuff we can to put online feature stuff that's really great that day, if we can make a video format of it. But then also, where do you post it? Do you post it on your website? Do you post it on TikTok? Do you put it on Instagram? Do you put it on your Facebook page? What's your audience? We have more followers on Facebook, but I kind of feel we get more reaction off Instagram and everything kind of interacts differently. Man, I tell you what, it's kind of maddening to see where to put all this stuff and just try to figure it out all the time. But I would say, can I point out one thing that I think is really interesting that I think a lot of people kind of just forget about? If they're so into Instagram or TikTok these days, they really neglect how important it is to post stuff on their own station website, on their own web page. If you Google yourself in your name, if you're a fan who's a P two or P one that wants to be a super fan heard someone on your show, just like, if you want to find out more about a restaurant, you'd Google it and they would send you directly to your station's web page. And there are so many stations in my market that there's nothing on the station web page for those shows. And so I want people, when they come to our web page, it's almost like a history of our show, links to different bits and videos, ways to contact us. But hey, we raised a million dollars at a radio thon last year. That story needs to be archived somewhere. If you put it up on TikTok, it's gone. People won't ever find it. But I want our website to be, like I said, kind of a directory of all things that's happened on our show. We had a great bit on our show today that people are going to talk about for a while, Phil, and we're going to make a web post. People can find out about it, kind of go back to it all the time. So many people neglect their web pages these days because they have a web page designer at their cluster, and they think that guy's taking care of it, but he's probably have four or five stations to take care of. And so Michelle and I really kind of made that a priority to keep it up to date on our web page. And I even saw someone in my market on their station's web page. They had a bit from the guy who had the job before them. They had never taken it off the web page. So I'm wondering if he ever even went there to look what was on his own site.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:40

You raised such a good point, and it's really the Google game, and having that SEO, and it's one of the things we don't have the benefit of a transmitter in the world of podcast. And people say to me, what do I need? I said, well, you can have a podcast, but you really need to have a web page that is going to be your home base to what you do, who you are. And I know this is a new story. I didn't have to Google this one because this was actually new, but an initiative that you had started years ago. And I really want you to go back to the beginning with this because I really think it's important and I really think it's local and fantastic. And that's what you did with the trees in Fort Worth.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:19:16

So I used to live on this historic boulevard in Fort Worth called Camp Buoy, and it's the last brick street in Fort Worth, and it goes for miles and had this really wide median strip, and there weren't any trees on it. And I just thought this was in 1997. I thought, you know, this street would be just so gorgeous if on that giant median strip, they just had a line of oak trees going all the way up for a couple of miles. So I actually wrote my city council member, I said, hey, what would it take to put trees on this strip? And I really you know what? If I knew how hard it was going to be, I probably wouldn't have started it. And he said, Actually, the trees aren't the problem. It's the irrigation. Because the Texas heat, you've got to put an underground irrigation system to make sure these trees are going to survive, and it has to be watered on a regular basis. For three years. So you got to raise money to build the irrigation system. And so we started an Adopt a Tree program, which really was really adopt about 8ft of irrigation, but that's what it really was. But that's not as sexy as Adopt a Tree. This was before the Internet was really anything. So we literally when I say we, I'm saying the neighborhood kids that I hired would print up flyers, and we'd go door to door in the neighborhood to drop off flyers to Adopt a Tree. We talked about it on the air. We had different businesses in the area that put out a phone number where you would mail in a donation, because there wasn't really websites yet for the websites were just starting. It took us about a year to raise enough money to plant trees on the first section up and down the median. And after we did that, these are little teeny trees that are, like, 3ft tall. We went to the next section, and then the businesses actually took over the project after I did the first section, and they just kept going with it. And that's what I kind of was hoping, that they would see the value in it. So I did the first, like, couple of miles. So that was in 97. They were planted in 98. And you saw the story from a couple of weeks ago. The city of Fort Worth honored me for the 25th anniversary of the program because the trees now, that street is just shaded. The trees are 15, 20ft tall now in 25 years, and it's one of the most beautiful streets in the city, and it's totally changed the whole neighborhood. And I always joke with my wife whenever we live in Dallas now, but I lived in Fort Worth for 20 years. Whenever we're in Fort Worth, we always drive down the street to check out the trees. I call it my garden. Check out my garden. And it was really neat to be honored by the city, but it's neat to see what that street looks like today and how beautiful it turned out.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:52

How many radio stations ago was that?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:21:55

I was still at KSCS. I was still at the same station. Still at the same station, yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:00

That's wonderful. And such great vision. Obviously local and something that keeps you connected to the community.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:22:08

It was really neat to see how it came out. It really is. And it's been so long that I did that that a lot of people didn't remember me doing that. And that was the cool thing, because when the city honored me and the story came out locally, so many people were like, wow, I didn't know you did that. Or I reconnected with people who adopted the trees 25 years ago, like, hey, people who are in their forty s I was 15 when my family adopted a tree. Now I'm 40.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:35

Okay, so this is a little bit of a crass question, but does something like that get done today because there's so many fewer people inside a radio station. There's eight people doing 85 things. So does that get done or is it something maybe we should go back to?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:22:54

I think it does get done. But you know, what I think is really happening is I think there's like in our market, and we're a top five market, and there's so many radio stations that just they're owned by a corporation and they're a shell of what they used to be 20 years ago. They may have one person working who's local, and everything else is either voice track or syndicated. And when you have a station like that where there's one person working, yeah, that's not going to happen. I feel like I'm very lucky because we have a radio station that has a morning show, a midday show and an afternoon show. We have six stations in our cluster. All six of them had local morning shows until like a few months ago. One station now, which is a rim shot, they actually have a syndicated show on there now. So we have five local radio radio shows, morning shows in our building, and four local midday shows and six local afternoon shows. So there's a lot of people in our building. It's kind of like radio was a long time ago. There's just a lot of people working there. It's very vibrant and everything because there's so many stations. But I think your point is a very valid one because there's so many radio stations, I call them stations that are off the board, stations that really don't promote. They're just part of a large cluster and they're part of a national sales buy. So they don't really make a big splash in the market anymore. They don't do anything promotionally. And I don't want to really call anybody out, but it's not hard to find stations like that in every market. And when you have stations like that, yeah, things like a tree planning project up and down camp, boy, that's just not going to happen anymore.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:30

I think the key to the promotion, why it was successful, is you did get outside people. You're talking about kids with the flyers and passing that stuff out, that if you do want to get involved, I think often we may feel that we can't reach outside the building to go and get the help we need to do the things that we want to do.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:24:48

I agree with that. And boy, if you do reach outside the building, it's amazing how much more you can get done. We actually were looking for some type of local community project to do this summer, and we found an organization called Feed the City that kind of takes over in the summer where school program is due in the fall because kids aren't in school anymore and Feeds these Kids, and this organization was like. Yeah, we're here all the time. We would love to partner with you. People can know about it, just the publicity you guys would bring and more volunteers. And we're taking what they do to another level. So I would really encourage radio stations, do what you just said, reach out, find organizations that are already doing what you want to do and help them do their job better. And it's a win win for everybody.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:34

I don't want to bore you with my stories, but I actually no, please do.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:25:38

I listen to your podcast all the time.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:25:42

Somebody would come into my office and he said, we need to change the name of garbage day to Recycle Day. And I said, this is a silly idea. And I kept sending him away until he came back and said, Finally, I'll just do it. And we started a campaign to change the day of Garbage Day to Recycle Day. And the motion passed five to four in City Hall. But it was our radio station pressure that I think sort of tipped the vote in the favor. And nobody calls it garbage day anymore. It's all about recycling, and the focus is on recycling. And people now think recycling first before they throw something in the garbage.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:26:16

You know, if that was my radio promotion, I'd be telling people about that every single day.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:24

You just mentioned something about stations being off the board. They're there for the buy. You don't have to feel bad. It's not just radio. The NHL does it, too. There's the Arizona Coyotes in the world's smallest arena. I think it's what is it? Seats 5000 or something.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:26:43

Yeah, I know. Yeah, it's a college arena. It's Arizona College Hockey. I mean, that's amazing, too. You might want to put the Oakland A's I was really rooting for them to stay in Oakland. We almost want to put them in there, too, before the last couple of years, before they moved to Las Vegas.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:58

How are the Dallas Stars doing? Because I know they moved from Minneapolis, but they fit right into the community.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:27:03

It's kind of interesting. I remember I went to the first game when they moved here and I thought, this is never going to work. And I was thinking, how did Minnesota lose their team to us? Because nobody even plays hockey. And the Stars were really, really smart because what they did is they didn't just put a hockey team in town, they created a hockey culture in Dallas and they built rinks all over the area. They started leagues for kids all over the area. They got people playing hockey, growing up with hockey and really built a fan base. And they did a really great job with that. I don't know if you're familiar with a basketball player played for the Dallas Mavericks. His name was Popeye Jones. And his kids were always hanging around the arena and they told their dad when they were pretty young they wanted to play hockey. So Popeye Jones went over to some of the players in the Stars. Hey, what do I do? My sons want to play hockey. And some of the Stars player says, don't sign them up for hockey, sign them up for skating lessons, teach them how to skate first, and then when they get good, then put them in hockey and they'll be far ahead of everybody. His two sons both got drafted by the NHL. They're both in the NHL. I don't know if they're still there, but they were there for a while.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:14

I have a couple of Dallas stories that you just brought back, and we're thinking right back to 1997. I was working up in Edmonton and we had those great series against the Dallas Stars for a couple of years that went back and forth. So I'm very familiar with the club because we had the best ice in the NHL and you had humidity that you had to so the ice was always soft.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:28:35

I forgot about that. Yes. The first arena they were in where they had these huge vent pipes that were coming out of the arena when you walked in trying to pump out the humidity. I totally forgot about that. Yeah, that's true. Yes.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:48

I remember Bob Ganey as well.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:28:50


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:50

A notable Montreal Canadian. He was down there running the team for the longest time, and his son Steven, I think was also I think he got drafted at one point. He didn't play in the NHL, but I think he did get involved, was also involved with the Dallas Stars. And I don't mean to have a lot of hockey talk, but we are emanating from Canada, so I thought I'd throw a in there.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:29:08

And the thing two people don't remember about Dallas and Fort Worth is there was a very vibrant minor league hockey scene here, going all the way back to like the late sixty s. And there was a rivalry between Dallas and Fort Worth when it came to minor league hockey back then, there wasn't even NBA basketball. The Mavericks didn't come on the scene until the 80s. So minor league hockey had a huge impact during the winter here in the area with some very exciting minor league teams. I remember actually going to a minor league game. They had a couple of different leagues here. This was before the Stars came. And I just remember the hatred between the two teams. It was so much fun. It was a great place for minor league hockey for a long time.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:52

It seems like just about anything you put in Dallas has the ability to work. Even when people say, this isn't going to work, you can put something in Dallas and it's going to work.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:30:04

You know what? You know what we're getting here in Dallas to illustrate your point? Professional cricket.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:09

Oh, for sure, of course.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:30:11

Yes. There's a huge Indian community here and they're starting a professional cricket league in the US. And Dallas. They took a minor league stadium and they're repurposing it to make it a cricket field. And it's supposed to come, I think might be as soon as this summer that they are going to have professional cricket and you know, what kind of interested. I could go to a game and see what that's like, but I bet it will be successful.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:30:44

The sound of podcast supports Podcasting 2.0, so feel free to send us a boost if you're listening on a newer podcast app. If you don't have a newer podcast app, you can get

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:58

Tell me about your relationship with Michelle as it pertains to roles on the show. I mean, I think everybody in Dallas knows who you are. People know who she is, but then when it comes to dividing up the work or coming in and out of the breaks.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:31:14

So Michelle and I, I had an opening a couple of years ago and Michelle and I had been friends for a long time. She did the Middays and they asked me, what do you think you want to do for this opening? And I said, I really like to give Michelle a shot on this because she's filled in on vacations. We have a certain amount of chemistry, we're friends. I think it would work. So I kind of lobbied for that. And I think management was kind of excited to go that direction too, one, because they found someone who'd been in the market. She grew up here in Dallas. She's lived here her whole life. The thing about Michelle also is, and I've noticed back when, even when she was coming in and this is a great lesson, she actually, by the way, she never aspired to do mornings. Also. I had to really convince her like, yes, you want to do this. You are ready to do this. You're going to be great at this. And Tracy Johnson calls this the for the show attitude. She's always thinking about the show and she comes up with so many great ideas, ways to execute them. We did a bit this whole week where she got a friend of hers, John Randall, who is a Grammy Award winning producer, to have me go into the studio and sing, I have no music ability. And then he was going to auto tune it and kind of demonstrate just how amazing auto tune is for someone that they use on all these songs now. And then we played the auto tune version back to back with a dry vocal and we kind of like had a story arc that went the whole week. This was her baby, this was her idea and she created this. And that's kind of her genius is she thinks like a morning person and not a lot of people do that instinctively. And that's what I really liked about her, too. She knew right away from the beginning here this will work. Let's try this comes up with ideas. So it's really a team effort on when we plan the show and so forth. And that's what I really like working with her with. It's so much fun to put together a show with her. And so often, too, when you're listening to a radio show as just a regular listener, it may sound one way, but behind the scene, if you dissected it, maybe the person who's not the lead or the segment is not about them. The other person that may be the person who put together the whole segment, who conceived it, who kind of planned it out, who wrote it, if you may use that term. And that happens so often on our show.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:35

What's that conversation like where you're convincing somebody, no, you really want to get up at 330 in the morning.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:33:44

That was kind of one of the points. She goes, I don't know if I want to get them at 330 in the morning. And I said, you know, the amount of people that are going to hear you and the amount of more time that you're going to get to talk on the air and do stories more in depth than doing it. 30 seconds in between a song and get to show your personality and let people get to know you. That way, it's going to take your career to a whole new level. It's going to open so many other doors for you. It's going to be a lot different. And this is the pinnacle of radio these days, is morning radio. It's been that way for a very long time, and maybe you never thought of yourself being there. She's literally someone who started in the promotion department and worked her way all the way up from that to doing Mornings, and it was a long process. She paid her dues like nobody I've ever seen. So I think she just didn't realize when we're trying to convince her, me and the program director, that she would be great at it, I don't think she ever really thought about doing that, doing Mornings.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:41

Remember when we used to have to tell people, you're going to have to go to a small market in order to be on the radio in Dallas? You need to cut your time in Lubbock.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:34:49

Yes, I know.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:51

You don't have to anymore.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:34:53

Well, unfortunately, because there's really not very many places in Lubbock probably that have local radio, maybe one or two shows only in the morning, so it's hard to even find a place in the Lubbock or Waco or wherever that you can go down there and cut your teeth. That's the unfortunate part of it.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:07

But if you play hockey, you can still play for Lubbock.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:35:10


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:12

How do you look at the share of country music from 30 years ago? Country got a bigger share of the radio ear now than it ever did.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:35:21

I think it's kind of brought pretty much the same share that it did 30 years ago. It ebbs and flows. When Garth Brooks came out, he kind of really took it to a new level, and probably our share had gotten larger than ever before. In fact, at that time, Dallas even had a third country station for probably about eight years, maybe a little bit longer. And now maybe the share is actually even a little less just because Dallas has gotten so much growth. So, see, I'm so close to it. To me, it seems mainstream. So I don't know what it's like in other markets. If you live in Texas, if you live in Dallas, it is kind of mainstream. I mean, country is just everybody has a country station somewhere on their dial. They may not listen to country all the time, but definitely some of the time, and they have it somewhere on their dial. So it is kind of I've been lucky to be in a market where country is that important.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:10

I guess the reason why I mentioned is because I think I had 97 one the Eagle in my car. I listened to that here in Canada. But I think the station's gone now, right?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:36:20

Yeah, probably about six months ago. They became like an all talk station called the Freak.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:25

Yeah, see, I missed that. And when I hear stuff like that, I think country must be taking over.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:36:32

I don't know if it's taken over, but I think, you know what, both us and our sister station, 99 five the Wolf, we've firmly planted our flags on top of the hill along with others, and as one by one, some of these flags start coming down and going away. Our flags are still there, waving in the wind.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:48

So I didn't want to get this far in without having a little food conversation. I just wanted to ask you if I made the right decision, barbecue wise, to go to Terry Black's barbecue when I was there.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:36:59

I would say that was a strong decision. I would say that's a strong decision. And Dallas Fort Worth has really kind of just emerged as a mecca for barbecue. Almost any major Texas city has, but there are so many great places that it's kind of hard to recommend one and be wrong. I will tell you a very quick story. I was on a plane flying back, and I was sitting next to a pilot who was, like, doing the puddle jumping, coming back to Dallas and deadheading. I guess that's what they call it. He goes, oh, man. He goes, I love coming to Dallas for the barbecue. I go, oh, what's your favorite barbecue place? He goes, that place at the airport. As soon as I get to Dallas, I go right to that place at the airport. I don't think they're really cooking their brisket down on the tarmac. I don't know how fresh that is. But if you like it man, go for it. That say you do you.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:54

So I know for a fact that you are working in a top ten market because you said you worked with Steve Reynolds, and he's like the top ten guy. Just ask him.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:38:05

You know what? I got to work with Steve for about a year and a half, and Steve did a great job for me. I got to work with Randy Lane also for a short time, and I really enjoyed them. And this is the mark of a great consultant. And if you get a chance to work with one, don't fight. It a really good one. I would recommend open up your mind. Hey, you know what? And if they suggest something and it doesn't fit your show, then tell them. Fight for what you think fits your show, but be open to their ideas. But most consultants kind of have I call it the Vince Lombardi philosophy. Vince Lombardi, when he was coaching the packers, he decided to stop looking at game tapes and pointing out all the things that his team was doing wrong. Instead, he would point out the things his team was doing right. We need to do more of this and more of this and more of this. That's great. That was a great play. Let's do that again. And that's what a good consultant will do. Hey, here's what you did great. These are your strengths. Let's build on that. Let's do more of that kind of stuff. And guys like Steve. Steve Reynolds, Tracy Johnson, Randy Lane. Those are the kind of consultants they have. If you get a chance to work with them, don't pass it up. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:39:16

And so many people talk about their experience working with a consultant, about what they didn't like, and sometimes I wonder maybe you were not open to change in that particular moment. And so I think when you meet a coach or consultant just being amiable to change and what can they offer? And look at it as an opportunity to take something and add to your show.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:39:37

Yeah, I look at my shows. I have 16 breaks I've got to fill every single day, five days a week. And if you've got ideas for me or we're brainstorming and try stuff, then thank you very much. One of the things that Steve really taught me that I never really thought of about before is like, hey, don't just tell the story. Like, hey, this is going on in town. And here's the story. Here's the players. Here's maybe a little audio clip because see how you can involve yourself in that story and take it to a next level, find a way to become part of that story. And one of my favorite things that we ever did, that Michelle and I did, and it was basically we were thinking of that way is how we could involve ourselves in that story. Remember probably about two or three years ago, all these monoliths that started popping up all over the world. Well, we got a high school shop class to build us a monolith, and we put it on the riverbed where you could actually kind of see it from the freeway, but you had to pull over and drive down the access road. Is that a monolith? And then we got some people to just start tweeting about it or posting photos of it, and then it became a sensation, like, hey, who put this monolith out here? But because the monolith thing was a story, like, how could we be involved? So we even told our audience we're going to get a high school shot class to build it. So people who are listening to our show knew that was us that did it. And then it just took off from there where it started. Like, who put the monolith over here? It was on the news, it was in the newspapers, and people were doing selfies next to it. It ended, though, when someone stole our monolith in the middle of the night.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:12

There's a trophy behind you that does not look like your hall of Fame Award.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:41:16

Yes. So there's also a photograph. There it is right there. That trophy is from my actually, just.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:23

Point to it and there'll be a picture.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:41:25

Go ahead.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:25

Okay, give it a point.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:41:27

There you go. Okay, so the trophy is from my grandfather's semi pro baseball team. And my grandfather had a semi pro baseball team in Middletown, Connecticut. And the interesting thing about his team is it was desegregated. It was like an all white team, but he added black players before the Brooklyn Dodgers did. Obviously, he wasn't in a league like the Dodgers were, but there was a barnstorming team called the Florida Hobos, who used to play all the white teams in the Middlesex County League in Connecticut. And they got too many of their players were drafted during World War II. They didn't have a team anymore. So my grandfather took the remaining players on this barnstorming team, added it to his team, and immediately improved the team to a level where they won the league championship, like, four or five years in a row. But that's what that picture is. My dad's the bat boy, and I love that picture because my grandfather is really a pioneer that he did that, that he added those players to his team.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:29

I also love the fact that you yourself, you were inducted in the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2020.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:42:35

You know what the real honor to me is that I got inducted a few years after Terry got inducted, terry Dorsey. And then I'm in there with him. And unfortunately, Terry passed away right after he retired, like, six months later. Not even that. Like, three months later. And I would have loved for him to be able to share that honor with me because he was so instrumental. He really taught me everything I know about morning radio. I thought I knew a little, and then I saw the way that Terry did, and I thought, wow, this guy is everything is open.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:01

How much different was the show compared to yours? You mentioned you got 16 breaks and you like to segment a little time, but how much different was his show?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:43:09

It's kind of funny because I feel like I kind of became him. And what's different is, on his show, I was kind of the renegade, the young guy. He was the dad, almost like an Everybody Loves Raymond type character. And now if you listen to the show today, michelle's like the young person that keeps me in line, and I'm the bumbling dad. Everybody Loves Raymond character. And so sometimes I say, man, I'm just doing Terry's act. I'm just doing what he did. I kind of assume that character of the everyman the dad. The show is different in the fact that radio is different. And we talk about different things that are more topical, but kind of the structure of the show. I feel like I've just taken over his role.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:43:56

How'd you get the name Hawkeye?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:43:57

I got it in San Antonio. When I started there, I did traffic for a short time, and so I was Mark Lewis on one station, and they wanted to put me on a second station, which is pretty normal for traffic guys to be on multiple stations. And they said, you have to have a different name of the other station. So the program director came up with Hawkeye because something like Eye in the sky, and it just stuck, and I was never able to get rid of it. And now that's what I'm known for.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:44:21

How hard is it to work in Dallas if you come from afar and move from another market? How hard is it to succeed in radio? Because there's a lot of established people who've been doing it for a long time and are doing it well.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:44:37

Well, that's the hard part. I see so many talented people who come to this market, and just like you said, there are so many shows that are established. Okay, I've been on the air here for 35 years with Terry Dorsey. After he passed, I continued on. So I've been on for 35 years. You have kid cratdock. He's been on now. Kid obviously passed away, but his ensemble has been there for well over 20 years. You have the other big morning show in our town is Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket. They have a show called The Newsers, dunham and Miller. They've been there since the mid 90s. Hal J at Wbap, he just had a heart transplant and he came back to work. Yes, he's upstairs. He's in the same building as ours. He's part of our cluster. He was in the market when I came here in the 80s. So he's been here, like, 40 years, and then you have Bo Roberts, who does classic rock on KZPs. He's been here for over 30 years. So it's not that it's hard. It's not that we're the most super talented people in the world, and there's nobody can be as talented as us. Sure, there's other really great talented broadcasters, but in an era where nobody really has promotion and marketing budgets anymore, it's really hard to break in against established shows when you don't really have a way to do it except via social media, which everybody has. Everybody has the same tools. So everybody who's been here for decades has listeners that literally grew up with them. They're five steps ahead of you. When you the very talented broadcaster who came here from Kansas City, come to the market and you're trying to create buzz and so forth, and everybody's else is listening to people they've known. It's really hard to separate yourself or move up with the pack. Like I said, we're not the most talented broadcasters in the world. We've just been here a long time, and it's very hard to separate yourself from the pack.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:38

Is there anything you can see on the horizon for radio or your show that you're curious about? We don't need to talk about AI, because that's silly. But is there anything else that you're interested in to go, you know what? I think that's coming in the future, and I'm looking forward to it.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:46:53

The interesting thing to me is there's so many shows that are syndicated now, and in our market, the local shows really do the best. Kid Cratdock is here viewed as a local show because they're based here. They were here for so long, even though they're syndicated. Most people who listen to Kid Cratdock here, the Kid Cratdic show here have no idea that's a syndicated show. They think that they just do it in Dallas. But what I think is actually and I kind of interested in this and I'm surprised it hasn't happened more is our show gets listeners now from really all over the world with people who want to hear country music, who live overseas. And where do they want to hear country music from? Two places, nashville, because they've heard of that, and they've also heard of Texas and Dallas. People all over Europe know Dallas from the TV show that still airs in Europe. And so we get people all the time who listen from overseas. Even though you're a local show. I think it's kind of cool how you can cultivate a streaming audience nowadays. And our sister station, the sports station that's right next door to us, marconia award winning station, I think their streaming audience now is over 40%, and they have people all over America that listen to it. So I think the cool thing is you could be a really unique brand and be very local, and people want to hear people will seek you out still as if you were a syndicated show, but you could remain local and different and talk about things that are very particular to your area. I'm excited to see more of that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:48:24

Did you hear that? Odyssey. We'd really like to hear the signal leave America. It's my beef with the Odyssey app. It just can't get it in Canada.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:48:36

Right. Not on the smart speakers.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:48:37

It says, I can't listen to any Odyssey station.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:48:41

I think a lot of that has to do with they just don't have the rights to the music to be played outside the US. I think that's what it mainly is. Yeah. People find ways to get around it all the time. We have a bunch of listeners in Australia, but one guy, he listens every single day from Australia and comments. I love people like that. We have people all over Europe. One of our michelle and I, we've talked about this before. Our goal is to do our show from London someday. We'd love to do it from London and take listeners with us.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:07

See, you can actually just call somebody in London and maybe they'll fly you up. You just got to reach outside the station now just to make that happen. Don't go to promotions. Just go past them.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:49:19


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:21

I think that'd be great. And Australians do love their country music. They are fascinated by it. They are country with funny accents.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:49:28

Yeah. I mean, Keith Urban is one of our biggest formats, biggest stars. And he's Australian. And there's a couple of other guys, morgan Evans, another one that's from Australia. So yeah, we talked to Keith Urban once about that. He said, yeah, people would come from Nashville all the time to do festivals in Australia. And that's how I found out and fell in love with country music.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:46

What's your wish list for radio?

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:49:48

I kind of feel radio for the industry. We're at a point I kind of compared to where newspapers were in the early 1960s when television came and started sapping away their ad dollars. Like, New York City had a famous newspaper strike in the early 60s. They had like twelve newspapers. At the end of the strike, I think eight of the newspapers folded and they only had four left. And I kind of feel we're in the same area now for radio where we have like 70 stations in Dallas. And probably the large signals, if you take those, there's probably 20, and of those 20, there's probably ten that really put out a full effort. And the others are, as I said earlier, are taken off the board for my station. It's great if you've got a station that doesn't really put a lot of effort into it and you're putting a lot of syndicated programming or voice tracking and so forth and you don't do local promotions, that's great for me. But for the industry, for radio, I wish more operators would see value in their station. And I know you maybe can't. Afford to have someone on every shift anymore. Maybe that's not possible, but have more of a local presence in your community than just a station where you're trying to sell national spots.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:51:01

Hawk, I thanks so much for reaching out and offering up to be a part of the show because I think it's important, because I think people think I know they exist, but I don't. Last time I was in Dallas, I glazed past your show because I don't know what to listen to there's. Yeah, there's 50 signals in the market.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:51:16

There sure are. They really are. Yeah. Well, I've been a fan of your podcast for a long time. I love to hear different people from the industry talk about what they've got going on. So yeah, that's true. I did. I reached out to you and I said, I listen to your podcast all the time. I'd love to be on it and just kind of maybe I could pass a thing or two along to people.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:51:33

I think it's important. By the way, if you do reach out and you do want to be on the show, I'll just send you back a link and we just sort of set it up and we just do it like this. It's pretty easy.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:51:40

It was very easy. Yeah. I reached out to you like, yeah, here's the link. Can you do next Tuesday? Yes, I can. Yeah.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:51:47

Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Hawkeye (Guest) 00:51:49

All right, Matt. Thank you.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:51:51

The Sound Off podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill, produced by Evan Surminski edited by Chloe Emond-Lane social Media by Aidan Glassey Another great creation from the Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page