Hall of fame radio personality Bobby Rich, legacy station manager Jim Arnold and local downtown champion Fletcher McCusker have joined forces to launch the only locally owned-and-operated commercial radio station in Tucson.
“I am now officially un-retired,” said Rich, a 25-year Tucson talent who anchored the top-rated morning show on MIXfm since 1993. “This is a dream come true for all of us: a chance to select our own music and manage content that matters to Tucson-not some corporate office in Dallas, LA or New York – and have incredible fun while making great radio.”
The trio of well-known Tucsonans recently acquired the former AM/FM signals from Family Life Radio after its move to 104.1 FM and have converted the format to music and local, live personalities.
“Bobby is responsible for the format and music collection,” said McCusker, chairman of the new board. “And there is nobody better than Jim when it comes to media management.”
Identified as “The DRIVE” with new call letters KDRI, the station originates 24/7 broadcasting from McCusker’s old headquarters at Scott and Broadway downtown. The station is designed to appeal to baby boomers whose radio options have become overlooked and underserved by local radio. With a catalog of over 2,000 songs, the distinctive presentation will be unlike anything in the region and maybe in the country.
Joining Bobby on the morning show is Hill Bailey, another local radio veteran and a Tucsonan since 1987. She grew up on the Eastside and graduated from Tucson High. She attended the University of Arizona to study media arts and got her first taste of radio on the U of A radio station KAMP. After a decade of radio in Colorado and California, she returned to Tucson, joined KHYT, married and welcomed a daughter in March 2017.
Middays will be hosted live by Ken Carr, a media veteran who started his career in Nebraska. In 2001, he fell in love with the incredible people and beautiful weather of Tucson and has lived here ever since. You’ve heard him on KRQ, Z104.1 and MEGA, and you’ve seen his work as executive producer at KGUN 9 TV. Since 2009, he has run a Twitter channel @WhatsUpTucson, which is 100% local content featuring up to the minute Tucson news and info. The profile has nearly 100,000 followers.
During afternoons, The Drive welcomes the famous (or infamous) talent from San Diego known as “The Mikey Show.” Mikey Esparza is a 30-year radio professional who started his career here in Tucson. His years on the air have taken “The Mikey Show” to Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego and now back home.
To host the evening shift, KDRI will introduce to Tucson well-known California personality Tyler Russell, currently at KX 93.5 in Laguna Beach and a veteran of the LA radio scene. Tyler grew up in Tucson, is a graduate of St. Gregory High School and started his career as an intern for Bobby Rich before gigs at K-EARTH, KIIS, and KCLB in Southern California.
Automobile listeners can hear the AM signal from the Mexican border to Phoenix and the new management is enhancing the AM broadcast to improve the sound. The stereo FM signal can be heard all over the Tucson valley, allowing for traffic reports wherever you are driving. The music will be recognizable without playing the same 40 songs over and over, and you’ll be able to connect with local, live DJs.
“It’s crazy to start a new radio station, but we are just crazy enough and have the passion to make it work,” said Rich.
The DRIVE launched the new format at 6 a.m. on Aug. 5 after a few days of signal testing that had many Tucsonans wondering what the heck was going on with the former Christian stations!
For further information, contact Bobby Rich or Jim Arnold at 520-815-KDRI (5374).