In a new feature on my little section of the TSS-Radio blog, I bring you an interview that I did with Jake Fogelnest,Sirius XMU and occasional Sirius XM Alt Nation DJ.
Jake is a regular contributor to VH1’s I Love the 80’s, I Love the 90’s, and I Love the 2000’s, and Best Week Ever. Jake’s work has been seen on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update,” the film We Hot American Summer, The John Stewart Show, Howard Stern, and Late Night With Conan O’Brian. You may also have caught his stage work with the likes of Sarah Silverman when he served as the assistant director for her one-woman show Jesus is Magic.
For us old-school fans, we remember Jake fondly as the kid that interviewed Liz Phair and Cypress Hill on his bed in the MTV show, Squirt TV: SQUiRT TV!
Jake was nice enough to let me ask him pretty much whatever I wanted about his new digs at Sirius XM. I bring you, JAKE FOGELNEST: PART ONE: Behind the Scenes
How did you go from SQUiRT TV to VH1 to Sirius but you’re a writer/blogger/tv personality… How did you get into satellite radio?
In 1996 K-Rock switched from a classic rock format to “alternative.”. My show had just ended on MTV and I was seventeen and unemployed. I called the request line and a DJ named “Sluggo” picked up the phone. I said, “Hey, it’s Jake Fogelnest! I wanna be on K-Rock!” He knew who I was and thought it was an awesome idea! Next thing you know I was having a meeting with legendary KROQ programmer Kevin Weatherly and I was on the air.
I know, I know – I’m a terrible person. I didn’t travel around the country. I got my first job in radio over the request line…
I worked at K-Rock from like seventeen to nineteen. I hosted a weekly new music show called “The Buzz.” Then I quit for some stupid reason. Probably because I was angry they wouldn’t let me play a Sleater-Kinney record or something. I got involved with comedy stuff with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
Around 2004 I heard that same DJ Sluggo back on the air in New York so I called him up just to say hello. Turns out he was being ISDN’d in from LA and that there was an awesome new program director at K-Rock, Rob Cross that Sluggo said I had to meet with. So I met Rob and he was AWESOME. I was quickly hired back at K-Rock and it was so much more fun the second time around. Rob and I have very similar sensibilities so it was a blast.
Then Howard Stern announced he was leaving terrestrial radio for Sirius.
That’s when things got really interesting.
David Lee Roth showed up on Stern and they announced he’d be taking over and they were switching the format to FREE-FM in a few months.
In an act of madness I decided to get in a cab, go up to the station and ask Gary if Howard Stern knew that he’d indirectly just fired a bunch of people with his announcement. During the cab ride up I left a voicemail for Ross Zapin who was already working at Sirius. I told Ross, “I’m on my way up to Stern… And I want a job. Call me later”
I ended up on the Stern show that morning for almost an hour. Howard was amazing. I have the tape if you’d like to hear it. He thought the way management was handling things was terrible and was beyond unsupportive.
Sometime after that Rob Cross, the awesome program director I was working for decided to leave K-Rock and go work for… You guessed it, Sirius.
I was still on the air at K-Rock, but in a few months I’d be done. A new program director came in and didn’t like the attitude I had been using on the air so he suspended me. I had to go meet with him. I figured he’d either pull me off the air immediately or let me back on for a few weeks after giving me a lecture. What did it matter, I was out the door anyway? Instead he didn’t something I wasn’t expecting. He offered me a job. I am the only person in the history of EVER to get offered their own talk show by getting fired by the same person who hired me.
Right as I was preparing to start this new talk show on Free FM I got a call from Sirius. An executive named Walter Sabo called me in for a meeting. He said “You’re amazing, you should be over here with us – how would you like to EXECUTIVE PRODUCE Howard’s new years eve show?” Howard’s contract was going to expire at midnight and it would be the first time he could call in and legally be heard on Sirius.
The thing that sucked was, I had this handshake with Tom Chiusano and CBS to start the new Free FM show in a few DAYS! So I took the gig for the weekend, but kept my name off the air. Instantly I knew after producing that show I had to be at Sirius.
I made a deal with the folks at CBS Radio – I would do the talk show, but if I could put something together at Sirius, I’d like to do that too. At first they were okay with it and then the whole thing with Howard’s lawsuit went down. They went back on their word.
I never signed a contract with CBS which was one of the smartest things I ever did. David Lee Roth was s***canned and they were bringing in Opie and Anthony. I knew I was about eleven seconds from being canceled. So very quickly and quietly, I signed my deal with Sirius XM. Then when CBS called to give me the bad news… I beat them to it and said “Actually, I just signed a deal with Sirius — but I’ll still take my severance since you technically “fired” me.”
It was one of the rare instances of show business where things worked out PERFECTLY and I did stuff right.
Part Two: Coming Soon!