Tony Fly

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WATCH VIDEO of C.J.'s interview with Tony Fly

Q&A With C.J.: Tony Fly talks about radio pranks

  • Article by: C.J.
  • Star Tribune
  • January 12, 2013 - 6:07 PM

Former KTWN deejay Tony Fly was brimming with insider info when we got together to videotape this Q&A.

I interviewed Fly (that feels so silly) at a Men's Night trunk show held by J. Hilburn, custom clothier, in conjunction with St. Paul's Bin Wine Bar. Fly has done some spokesmodeling for J. Hilburn while he's between jobs. He hopes to land another gig in the Twin Cities, although he has interviewed elsewhere.

The question of radio pranks was top of mind when we talked because of the U.K. hospital employee who committed suicide after a jape by Australian deejays seeking information on Duchess Kate's stay. The insight Fly provides about radio pranks, in which he's been involved, was an ear-opener.

Q Why aren't you on the radio in the Twin Cities right now?

A I guess because my services on the radio cost more than my last radio station was willing to pay for that service. My position was eliminated. That was the official on-paper [reason].

Q How do you feel about that? You spend years at the helm of this station and then they change it around, bring in [KARE11 staffers] Eric Perkins and Rena Sarigianopoulos?

A I love all those guys. It's the nature of the business.

Q How do you talk that way?

A Are you talking about my poor grammar?

Q I'm talking about your voice.

A I just speak. I think of what I'm going to say and the air just pushes through my vocal cords and this is what comes out.

Q Can you not speak in that voice?

A No. This is my voice.

Q Do you hear anybody on the local radio station trying to sound as though they have a deep voice because they think it gives them gravitas?

A [Laughs] I think a lot of guys speak quieter -- more quietly? I see you on Twitter correcting peoples' grammar, so I've got to make sure. People speak more quietly and then turn the volume up so it sounds deeper. I think that's the trick.

Q You seem to worry about irritating your Twitter followers.

A Yeah, that's all I've got. I don't have a radio show. I don't have a TV show. All I've got are my Twitter followers.

Q How much trouble do you stay in with your wife because of stuff you post on Twitter?

A None. My wife is the most understanding woman on Earth. She knows who she's married to, what she was getting, and she got it.

Q What's the name of the local radio personality you hate the most?

A I don't hate anyone. I'm currently unemployed. I could work with anyone, and I would be glad to. Where's the camera [into which he looked to reiterate]: I would be glad to work with anyone. I love all of you.

Q Should radio stations have "no pranks" policies?

A Like prank phone calls, like the station in Australia? No, no. When I used to do prank phone calls, you would call the person afterwards and say "OK, that was a joke. Can we air this?" And if they said no, you didn't air it. The legalities have changed since I did prank phone calls. You're legally not allowed to air anything that someone didn't give you permission to air. You hear any prank on the radio now -- that's all actors. Those aren't real pranks anymore.

Q Much like radio stations fooling us for years, giving us the impression that a personality is in our city when they may be recording from some other place?

A Correct. I've been in that business. I know that. I was in Texas and recording back to here. That's how it used to be. That's how it is with some people now.

Q What are you trying to communicate with this facial hair?

A I've had this for a while. I don't know. My wife's a hairdresser, and this is really the only coloring practice she gets on me.

Q Will you invite me and my camera to record the removal of that ridiculous facial hair, when that happens?

A If I do get a job somewhere and the requirements of that job have to do with shaving this off, you're there.

Interviews are edited. Reach C.J. at and see her on Fox 9.

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