Categorized | Entertainment

106.1 The River

The Station That Supports Local Music

From left to right: River Morning Show Host Bruce Patrick with local musicians Denver Stevens, Kimber Cleveland, ‘J. Luke’ Cochran, Brad Blackwell (seated), Stephen Hunley

It takes a special dedication to rearrange your entire life to wake up at four in the morning to do anything, let alone become bright and cheerful. But for 106.1 The River’s Program Director, Production Director, and Morning Show Host, Bruce Patrick, his alarm rarely goes off before he wakes up on his own. (He still sets two alarms to go off, JUST IN CASE.) Let’s find out what drives Bruce to wake up in the darkness of early weekday mornings to bring East Tennessee information, lots of smiles, AND lots of great music on 106.1 The River.

Everything Knoxville: Bruce, what sets The River morning show apart from other morning shows?

Bruce Patrick: Several things, I think. Whenever you start a business, you want to establish things that set you apart from competitors, things that you do that are “different” and will appeal to your target consumer or customer, or in radio’s case, the potential listener. First and foremost, The River morning show is not a talk show, it’s a music show. I play at least 10 songs an hour, every hour, from 6 am to 10 am. Our musical format plays the best music from the 80s, 90s and today, and there are not any other stations in Knoxville that play our kind of music mix during morning drive time. Yes, the show has local news with Frank Scott, traffic from Pete Michaels from Metro Skywatch, sports with Mark Packer, and a celebrity entertainment feature called “The Daily Dirt” with CJ. Nevertheless, I do my best to make the show an escape from the gloom and doom of the world, focus on playing great music and having fun with events happening within the world of pop culture. I also play contests with listeners to give away prizes, too. During the morning show, I also interview and showcase local artists’ music and have them in-studio to do live performances during morning drive, also something else that is relatively unique in the Knoxville radio market.

EK: 106.1 The River is locally owned by Jeff and Cindi Alpert. They have said that showcasing local music has been a progression of their broadcasting philosophy.

Bruce: I’ve always loved live music and local artists trying their best to make ends meet by “singing for their supper” while trying to achieve regional success. I have to admit, I wasn’t as aware of the depth of the local Knoxville music scene as I should have been before I came to work for The River, but what I discovered is such an amazing pool of local talent that really wasn’t being recognized or heard. Yes, other stations do local music shows at night or on the weekends. But, after discussions with Jeff and Cindi, we agreed that showcasing local talent within our 80s, 90s and NOW music mix 24 hours a day was something we wanted to do. It adds a unique flavor, and a local flavor, to the radio station that people have caught on to, and we’ve found a significant amount of people have gravitated to the station because of our local music programming element. Not every local artist makes it on the air, because I have some relatively strict guidelines I adhere to in order to make sure that all the local music we play blends in well and sounds nationally produced. If the quality of local music stands out as “sounding” like it doesn’t belong next to Katy Perry, Bon Jovi or Nickelback, it doesn’t get on the air. With the number of local artists we play, I think that speaks volumes about the depth of the talent pool that East Tennessee has. We want to support the artist, not just a single song. Their music deserves to be heard.

EK: You wake up every weekday at 4 am. What drives you to work hours that aren’t typical?

Bruce: I love the creative aspects of working in radio. It is my job to keep myself informed about everything going on in the world, so I can present it and relate it to the listening audience. I get to write and speak creatively; I get to hear music performed live in front of me, and find out the stories behind their songs, which listeners relate to. I get to utilize my personal sense of humor to make people smile. I get to play 40 songs every morning between 6 and 10 that I enjoy immensely. AND, they PAY ME for all of this! It’s truly a labor of love for me.

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