The voice of "Rick Dees in the Morning!" has spoken to a generation of Southern Californians during their drive to work. After putting himself on the musical map by selling 6 million copies of the single "Disco Duck," Dees came to Los Angeles in 1979, and two years later he began hosting the top-rated morning show on KIIS-FM (102.7). During his 22-year stint at KIIS, it became the top revenue-generating radio station in the United States. He left KIIS in 2004, replaced by Ryan Seacrest. After a two-year hiatus (due to a non-compete clause) he returned to L.A. radio in August on KMVN-FM (93.9), owned by Emmis Broadcasting Inc. With Dees' arrival, the station changed to a "rhythmic pop contemporary" format, silencing the last country music station (the former KZLA-FM) in the market. Besides his morning gig, Dees produces the syndicated show "Rick Dees Weekly Top 40." Every weekend more than 70 million people around the world listen to his countdown of popular songs. His company Dees Entertainment is building a new studio in Burbank for radio and TV production. Dees has won a People's Choice Award, a Grammy Governor's Award, and the Radio Personality of the Year. He has recorded several albums and appeared on TV and in films, often playing a disc jockey or the host of the show.
Question: The radio industry seems under siege right now from iPods, satellite and the Internet. What's your take?
Radio is such a personal medium that it will cut through all the clutter. There will come a time when people will say, "I'm tired of listening to just my iPod. I want another human to talk to me." That's why talk radio has thrived. On my show, it's not all music we do a lot of bits and features. So radio, with great personalities, will always be in demand.
Q: So much for iPods. What about the others?
The future for radio is in your car and on your computer. Notice I didn't say satellite radio. I think satellite radio is inferior quality because of the lack of bandwidth. The real medium is broadband radio on the computer. Most computers now have external speakers. Those speakers will get bigger and bigger. And you can use the machine for television, computing and broadband radio. At rick.com, we have 25 channels and the advertising comes up as video ads. You get the best of both worlds.
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