Starting Friday, March 17, WLUM-FM 102.1 will have a couple new voices filling the airwaves weekdays from 5:30 to 10 a.m. Brian Kramp, formerly of WLZR-FM (now WHQG), and Jon Adler are "Kramp and Adler," the DJ duo replacing the Indianapolis-based "Bob and Tom" show as the station's first local morning show in six years.
As young, local, music-minded DJs, Kramp and Adler say they are ready to give Milwaukee morning radio a new voice. With a fresh focus on music in the morning, as well as a renewed commitment to the local music scene, the DJs say they're dedicated to making mornings on WLUM what they should be: Not just music intensive, but also Milwaukee intensive.
OMC: How is your show going to be different from Bob and Tom's syndicated show?
B.K.: First of all, there are two local guys doing it. Our news reporter, Marianne Green, is also local, young and tied into the scene. We know our 18- to 34-year-old demographic -- we've been living it for the last 12 years. We're going to give you Milwaukee info, entertainment and comedy, but no obnoxious, wacky, stupid humor. There will be no slide whistles.
J.A.: I think the concept of the morning show has changed. There are certain shows that have changed the way it works -- things like "The Daily Show." The humor's quicker, faster, smarter and that's what we're aiming to be. I mean, crank-calling people used to be funny -- The Jerky Boys did a pretty good job of it -- but we're all past that kind of humor now.
OMC: What's the benefit of having a local morning team on WLUM?
B.K.: We're deeply tied into the community that our listeners live in and care about. We're going to try make this station what it should be, and give more attention to the musical talent here in Milwaukee. Every Friday morning we're going to bring in local bands to play.
OMC: Which local bands do you guys like?
B.K.: I just had The Box Social in on Sunday night (Kramp previously hosted the "Alternative Nation" show from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sundays). I like Crazy Man's Basement and Good Luck Joes, who are in position to be the next Gufs. If they're not signed and popular by 2006, it's crying shame.
From the indie side of things, it's still hard to get some of those (indie) bands to want to commit to coming into 102.1 because they don't see it as opportunity for them. I had Steven Hawley from Codebreaker in, but prior to that he had stance of, "Well, I didn't think you'd play our music." But if you never take the chance, you'll never know.
J.A. That's a stigma that we have to get people in those bands over. We just have to invite them in because this should be their station. I think back to the college radio days -- not that I'm comparing what we're doing to college radio -- but it's that kind of feel. In the '80s the music we played was called "college rock," which is now what a lot of mainstream music is, but back then it was very accessible and that's what we want to do. We want to help connect our listeners with this music.
OMC: How are you two going to change things for the station?
B.K.: We're going to be the most accessible morning jocks in the city that I've ever known. You have to make a connection with your listener, and if you're not doing it on the air, you need to make it in public. It's intriguing because we're both young, we're both 31 years old and we've both been in this business for about 13 or 14 years. Jon started WSUW at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater when he was 18 and I got in when I was 19 and we've been friends ever since. You can't buy that. You can't ask for a better situation than for two guys to start fresh with a new morning show with the same goal to succeed.
J.A.: I came down to the station a few weeks ago to do our demo, and we hadn't been in the studio together since we left college, but it just hit. It was like, "Wow!" It was fun and it was natural and conversational.
B.K.: We're just really excited because, let's be honest, this is commercial radio and they usually set you up with teams, like, "Here's what people want, and we know they've been successful in this market." WLUM is taking a chance by having us on the air, and that's exactly what this city needs. Our show's going to be music intensive -- good alternative music being played in the mornings for people who are driving to work and haven't heard it in a long time because there's been no local morning show in this building for six years.
OMC: What wasn't working with the "Bob and Tom" show? What wasn't working with syndicated morning shows?
J.A.: I think some cities need local and I think Milwaukee's one of them. On top of that, Bob and Tom weren't right for the age group. It was weird -- the people who were listening to them were the ones turning off when the music came on and vise versa. We want this to be a much smoother transition.
B.K.: We want this to be more of a smooth, 24/7 cycle where people are constantly listening whenever they can, whether they are in the car or at work. One of the things we've lost with "Bob and Tom" and with "The Mancow Show" in the morning is not having an at-work, on air presence. Mancow is extremely successful in the 18- to 34-year-old age group, but he didn't work (at WLUM). Bob and Tom are extremely successful in the 25- to 54-year-old group, but that didn't match this station's demographic. "Kramp and Adler" has the city and the demographic right.
J.A.: It's going to be a ton of fun. With this morning show, there's going to be so much music per hour that all our breaks are going to be pretty quick.
B.K.: As far as interviews, we've got every comedian coming in town with Jokers Comedy Club coming to the station on Friday mornings at 6:50 a.m. We have one of "The Sopranos" actors lined up for the first week, we've got Pete Schwaba, the director of the new movie "Godfather of Green Bay." It's local ties with a little bit of national.
OMC: So which bands are you going to play?
B.K: New music from bands like Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Death Cab For Cutie, and She Wants Revenge to core artists like Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam -- and yes, that includes their new music as well.
Kramp and Adler are kicking off their WLUM-FM morning show on St. Patrick's Day, Friday, March 17. Operation Shamrock launches the DJs out in the street and bars of Milwaukee for a 15-hour inaugural St. Patty's Day party. Here's where you can catch them:
6-10 a.m. -- Mo's Irish Pub
10-11 a.m. -- McGillycuddy's
11 a.m.-12 p.m. -- Track's Tavern & Grill
12-1 p.m. -- Paulie's Pub & Eatery
1-2 p.m. -- Murphy's
2-3 p.m. -- Cafrey's
3-4 p.m. -- BBC
4-5 p.m. -- Flannery's
5-6 p.m. -- Rascal's
6-8 p.m. -- O'Brien's
9 p.m. -- Better Than Ezra @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino
WLUM-FM's Web site is milwaukeesalternativestation.com.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”