Five Questions for … Randy Baumann
I grilled Randy with questions, and his answers solidified his place in my heart as he proves himself to be one of the funniest Pittsburghers around.
Photo courtesy of Randy Baumann
I have to admit: I have a tiny, little crush on Randy Baumann of WDVE. Partly because I’m a sucker for a guy that can make me laugh, and partly because of his generosity toward and passion for sick children. By my math, sense of humor + dedication to sick children = CRUSH. Every time. My husband understands this.
Pittsburgh kind of went postal earlier this year when Randy disappeared from the DVE Morning Show with no explanation, and there was a collective sigh of relief when he returned once his contract negotiations were finalized. Not that Jim Krenn or the rest of the morning show team who aren’t fantastic in their own right, but Jim Krenn without Randy Baumann felt like Ernie without Bert, or Statler without Waldorf, you know?
I posed five questions to Randy, and his answers solidified his place in my heart as he proves himself to be one of the funniest Pittsburghers around.
Question: You were gone from the ‘DVE Morning Show from January 18 until February 16. Can I just tell you, it was surreal. People were emailing me. No one knew anything. For a while I seriously thought you were abducted by aliens and they did that time suck thing. I mean, the Bring Randy Baumann Back to DVE Morning Show group on facebook still has 4,600 members! So my question is this. What did you do with yourself all that time you were gone and working out your new contract? Did you hide out? Did you go out of town? And what did you do when someone recognized you and asked you what was up?
Answer: On the day that it happened … that day, for no particular reason, I ran to the end of the driveway, and then to the end of the road. I just kept running. And when I got to end of the county, I thought maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. But then I looked at a map, and I saw that it would be a really, really far distance to run. Like, I don’t think very many people could ever do that. Right then my agent called me and said I had all these job offers pouring in, which really surprised me because I don’t have an agent. But I told him in no uncertain terms, “Steve”, and he said, “My name is Hank”. I said, “I don’t care what’s being offered, I want to stay in Pittsburgh at DVE.” Stank got it done. (we’ve since met in the middle on the ‘Steve/Hank thing)
Seriously though, I went to New Orleans almost immediately. Seemed an appropriate distraction. New Orleans is my happy place. I was under contract the whole time, never fired. The whole thing was ultimately a misunderstanding of epic proportions, and the support of the listeners really meant so much to me. Actually, It blew me away and played a big part in my returning to Pittsburgh. And I full well know they weren’t just supporting me but everyone on the show. Jimmy, Val, and Mike were put in the awkward position of having to pretend nothing was different which was terribly unfair to them. BP handled the oil spill with better tact than my thing was handled. It was completely unfair to everyone involved and luckily it’s all far behind us now. And my relationship with Clear Channel is better for it all.
Q: Welcome to Twitter! If you could snap your fingers and one local celebrity, sports hero, media personality, or whatever would have a twitter account that they personally updated, who would it be? Mine? Easy. Bob Nutting. Oh, to be inside that brain. I can’t decide if it would be chaotic or completely empty.
A: I think it would be awesome if the guy who plays the sax outside after Pirates and Pens games would have a twitter account. I think he would just always type the Lyrics to the ‘Adams Family’, ‘Spiderman’ and ‘The Flinstones’ every day, over and over and over.
Q: I hate that I do it, and I get that it’s par for the course, but sometimes I take criticism I read about myself personally. Do you ever take criticism personally or does it always just slide off your shoulders now that you’ve been in this game for so long?
A: With notoriety comes critique. You gotta be able to deal with it or apply for a job in the Pirates front office where they’re completely immune to it. I just wish people’s critiques would be phrased a little more constructively than, “You think you’re funny but you’re not. You’re a mush mouthed half wit! Don’t forget to bring home some Mancini’s bread. Love Mom.”
Q: Who is your celebrity crush? Don’t say Steely McBeam.
A: I have a series of crushes on girls in commercials. For a while I had my eye on a couple zit cream girls. Right now I have a big thing for one of the chicks in the Activia commercials. There’s such a sexiness about her bowel relief. And Aunt Penny. Always Aunt Penny. She’s always in my bank.
Q: I have searched the Internet high and low and could find no interviews with you, save for one in 2001 with the Post-Gazette in which is was revealed you once worked as an accountant. Really!?
A: True, I was an accountant with KPMG Pittsburgh right out of Penn State. But I decided to quit when they fired me. That was really the last straw for me—being terminated and escorted out. I thought, “Who needs this? I’m outta here!”
Actually it was that time that I started listening to Scott and Jim on DVE and really dug what they were doing every morning. I swear on my dog this is true. I’ll microwave it for you. One morning, while spraying Right Guard on my suit to get the bar smell out of it, I told my roommate, “That’s what I should do! Morning radio!” And he was like, “Good idea. You should’ve thought of it when you were 18.” So I go back up to Erie, get kicked out of a Celebrity Pro Am for playing the piano in the clubhouse and taking requests, (The late Erie Mayor Joyce Savocchio pleaded on my behalf to the club security. She’s not dead; she’s just always tardy.) Radio station guy watches it happen. He invites me on show to discuss the scene, I meet owner, owner says, “You’re funny!” I offer to work for $50 a week until he figures out if he wants to hire me or not. He does. Three months after getting fired, five months after wishing I could do radio, I’m doing my interpretation of the Scott and Jim format for four years.
Meanwhile I was playing in a semi-successful Jamband on the Homegrown Circuit the whole time thinking THAT was how I’d make a living. Then, upon returning from Boston with an offer to join a prominent R&B band signed to Warner Bros, I planned on quitting the radio gig. That very day, DVE called, and it just seemed pre-ordained. I mean, the station that inspired me to get into radio in the first place! The very show! I had to give up music and do radio full time, and start paying off all of the loans I had defaulted on. I figured if it didn’t work out, which everybody including DVE employees at the time told me it wouldn’t (replacing Scott was not seen as do-able, which I understood because I have a tremendous amount of respect of him and I was and remain a huge fan), I figured I’d just go back to playing music and at the very least I’d have a good time for a year.
Ten years later and I’ve had 20 years worth of fun. I’m an extremely fortunate person to have been given this opportunity and I’m very thankful for it. Now, if I can just get them to start the show around 8:30, 9 o’clock …