"Old marrieds": 3WV's morning duo, Max and Rick
They are an irrepressible duo, and even off the air Rick Daniels and Max Hoecker are still "on," ribbing each other and cutting up to their own and others' amusement.
As the Big Greasy Breakfast on 3WV, this morning team is close to celebrating a decade together, a veritable lifetime in the turbulent radio world.
"We're like an old married couple," laughs Rick.
"We're just doing this for the kids," jokes Max, not missing a beat. And from there the banter picks up to a pace far faster than this reporter can write.
Though Rick moved to Charlottesville hoping to attend medical school, while Max was pursuing dreams of rock stardom, it wasn't long before they ran into each other working for AM station WCHV. They became fast friends, but it wasn't until the AM station was sold and both moved over to 3WV that they began working together. Max initially hosted the morning show with two consecutive female hosts. When the second co-host moved on in 1994, a search for a replacement partner for Max began.
Rick who was then doing a night show for the station attended a variety of lunchtime "interviews" to help find a candidate who might have chemistry with Max. ("I was just there for the free lunch," he now jokes.) But the candidates were "left in the dust," they both say, by the natural rapport between the two men. It took management a few months to catch on to the fact that they had Max's co-host right under their noses.
Nine years later, the duo says it's that same chemistry and the fact that 3WV is still locally owned and operated after 25 years that keeps the "BGB" going. And while talented hosts at other local stations have lost their jobs one after another because of the syndication of radio by industry giants– especially Clear Channel, which owns six stations in Charlottesville alone Max and Rick say they can't imagine the station's current management ever selling out.
Features like the "Friday Freakout," in which Rick spouts gripes faster than an auctioneer, keep local listeners laughing, and a cast of regular characters like Highway John who's sent out on humorous assignments like interviewing the "carnies" at the Dogwood Festival create additional fodder.
Keeping the show "irreverent but smart" and clean is a challenge in the Charlottesville market, they say.
"People here are 'milquetoast,'" Rick says, explaining that raunchy humor just doesn't fly in these parts. But that's okay with them. "It's a good challenge," Max explains. "We don't resort to cheap humor."
Which isn't to say they never make anyone mad. A joke about Shiffletts living in "hollers" didn't go over well a few years back– the two say they took angry calls for days.
Other callers to the show aren't angry, but many are bizarre. "Rich the Red Sox guy" calls every morning at 8am after his wife leaves for work– to say nothing but "Gooooooo, Red Sox." Big Greasy Ed, a high school English teacher in Madison, calls in with "the world's worst jokes," Max says. And then there's Chimmi Mao (an alias that no one knows how to spell), who calls in and talks utter nonsense.
It's certainly never boring, and though they say the early hours (the two arrive at 5:30am) are rough, both are quick to add, "We're not complaining."
Max and Rick agreed to be the first team in the paper's history to take the Hot Seat, but as it turns out, Rick actually sat in the Hot Seat, and Max just sat on his lap.
What brought you here? Most humans would call it a "Spaceship."
What's worst about living here? The cost of living
Favorite hangout? Anywhere with live music and beer
Most overrated virtue? Frugalness
What would people be surprised to know about you? Once dated Julianne Moore.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My delusions of grandeur
What accomplishment are you proudest of? Being able to stay in radio so long without losing my sense of humor
What do people find most annoying about you? See Answers 6 & 7
Whom do you admire? Anyone with a big heart
Favorite book? This Much I Know Is True by Wally Lamb
What subject causes you to rant? People who are unkind to dogs
What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Them flyin' cars from the Jetsons! I mean, come on! Why aren't they available yet?
What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? The fact that humans haven't evolved much
What do you drive? A yellow 1971 Pinto Hatchback with the original eight-track tape player
What's in your car tape player right now? A Three Dog Night Greatest Hits cartridge that got eaten back in '83 that I can't get out.
What's your next journey? Back in time, if all goes accordingly
What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? Let's just say I'm no longer allowed back in Canada.
What do you regret? See above. It really is a beautiful country.
Favorite comfort food? Dark chocolate in any form
What's always in your refrigerator? Beer
Must-see TV? C.S.I. (both incarnations) and The Simpsons
Favorite cartoon? South Park
Describe a perfect day. Waking up well rested with a big smile on my face
Walter Mitty fantasy? To get invited to play with the Rolling Stones
Who'd play you in the movie? Peter Sellers
Most embarrassing moment? It involves a Mountie and a Zamboni in the Province of Quebec.
Best advice you ever got? My Grandfather always said, "Never leave the house without your rubbers." I always thought that was hilarious.
Favorite bumper sticker? 3WV Rocks!
What brought you here? School. And a girl.
What's worst about living here? The crazy people who run this place
Favorite hangout? Home
Most overrated virtue? Frugalness
What would people be surprised to know about you? Dr. Phil is my uncle.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My golf handicap
What accomplishment are you proudest of? Finally learning how to use the iron and ironing board
What do people find most annoying about you? My apparent "lack of seriousness," since I enjoy joking around about almost everything
Whom do you admire? Benjamin Franklin
Favorite book? Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
What subject causes you to rant? Can I list the ones that don't cause me to rant? It'd be much quicker.
What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Jetson cars!
What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? Genetically altered rhesus monkeys!
What do you drive? A Jeep and a 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT
What's in your car tape player right now? The new Widespread Panic album
What's your next journey? To Roanoke
What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? What exactly do you mean by "trouble"? Dear Lord, I'm turning into Bill Clinton! Hey. How you doin'?!
What do you regret? Nothing. Everything that I've done and experienced has gotten me to where I am right now, so I wouldn't change a thing.
Favorite comfort food? Macaroni and cheese
What's always in your refrigerator? That box of baking soda that's been there since the early '90's. What does that do, anyway?
Must-see TV? Insomniac
Favorite cartoon? Scooby Doo this month
Describe a perfect day. Sleeping late. Leisurely breakfast. A round of golf. Then spending the rest of the day with my girlfriend and my cat. Just hanging out.
Walter Mitty fantasy? I am Tiger Woods.
Who'd play you in the movie? Peter Sellers
Most embarrassing moment? I'm not saying. But it involved a giant mouse costume and a bunch of my friends. I was young. I needed the money.
Best advice you ever got? Be excellent to each other (from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)
Favorite bumper sticker? "Beer... Helping White Guys Dance Since 1842"