Randy Malloy is the sole owner of CD102.5 – one of the last independent alternative-rock stations – and has nothing to hold back.
His narratives become even more animated when it comes to talking about the Columbus radio station.
For the 83rd podcast episode by In The Record Store, Malloy shared his humble, bewildering beginnings as an intern in 1991 when the station, WWCD 102.5 FM, still was CD101.
"I get to hang out with rock stars and other people pay for the drinks. I'm like, 'I'm cool with that,' " Malloy said.
After an impressive internship, Malloy was hired full time. Years passed, and Malloy eventually purchased the station. In 2010, an accidental drowning took the life of longtime program director John Andrew "Andyman" Davis, which led Malloy to put more money into independent radio.
Although not much has changed since Malloy became an intern and went on to buy the company, his room-filling sense of humor shines through when he points out the one thing that has changed for him: Now he pays for the drinks.
"So I don't know if it was a good deal or not," Malloy said, laughing. "I was like, 'Wait, wait, wait. Shouldn't I have more prestige than less now?' "
But why stake your claim in independent radio just to work more arduous hours and seek fewer perks? Why trade 40-hour weeks for 80- to 100-hour marathons of what Malloy calls "weird existence"? Why attend every CD102.5-sanctioned event when you could be sitting at home on the couch?
Because someone had to be doing it.
"The fun just doesn't happen; someone has to plan it," Malloy said.
And the fun that Malloy has been planning for almost three decades is the cultivation of a platform for unsung independent heroes. Just like Malloy had to earn his worth as an intern, every big band has to start somewhere.
Malloy shared how CD102.5 has championed artists and helped them break through.
When CD102.5 held "music meetings" to rate new music a few years ago, bassist Kevin Ray of Walk the Moon would show up every week, trying to get the band's music played. Persistence eventually paid off.
"That to me sort of said it all because he had to start somewhere," Malloy said. "Someone had to give him that opportunity."
So let's just say for this In The Record Store installment, Malloy is the teacher of Alternative Rock History in Columbus 101.
Zak Kolesar is executive editor for In The Record Store. ThisWeek publishes a weekly feature from the organization, which focuses on central Ohio music discovery and involvement.