It takes a special breed of person to be funny at 6 in the morning, but Jenn Bailey and Michael Dean somehow find the way to deliver laughs from 6 to 10 a.m. Mon.-Fri. as hosts of “The KLAZ Breakfast Scramble” on 105.9 FM. Their wacky mix of useless information, funny stories, games and other assorted hijinks carries across Central Arkansas, from their home base in Hot Springs, to entertain listeners as far as Little Rock and Conway.
“I can’t think of a better way to wake up at 3:30 in the morning than knowing I’m going to come in here and make people laugh,” Dean said. “We genuinely have a lot of fun here and try to crack each other up as much as we possibly can, then we try to bring that to the airwaves without the all the profanity and material the FCC frowns upon.”
Dean is a 30-year radio veteran who started in Chicago and made stops in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Taos, New Mexico before landing at KLAZ four years ago. Bailey has been with the station’s parent company US Stations for 15 years, hosting all types of shifts on the company’s four other stations before its purchase of KLAZ wound up teaming her with Dean two years ago.
US Stations keeps them busy: Bailey also is the voice of KLAZ from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays, while Dean hosts the same shift on sister station KOOL 101.5 FM. They also handle some of the business side of the stations, with Bailey managing the posting on the group’s social media as digital director and Dean handling all the stations’ ad placements and production as the production director.
“We both have a sick, twisted sense of humor, and neither of us has such a huge ego that we can’t at least temporarily be a sidekick or support the other person,” Bailey said. “We’ve just got a really good balanced chemistry between us and we’ll take turns actually running the actual on-air board.”
To generate enough material to carry them through 20 hours a week together, they subscribe to a show-prep service like most morning shows coast to coast. The key is to find topics that will spark listeners to call and chime in on-air with their own opinions and funny stories.
But Bailey and Dean’s favorite way to fly is by improvising together, using hand signals to alternate taking turns with delivering the news, deciding who jumps in whenever the mic is open and if they’re taking a call or talking.
“If the break is happening live on the air and one of us comes up with something funny to end the break with, we’re like ‘Ooh! Ooh!’ and the other one will know to shut up at some point and pass it off to the next person,” Dean explained.
The dynamic duo especially enjoys taking their act to the streets of Hot Springs, as they deliver a six-pack of confections from Smallcakes to groups of listeners each Wednesday and regularly host plenty of area events. They did livestreams from the World’s Shortest St. Patrick Day’s parade this year, mixing it up with grand marshals Cheech Marin and Danny Trejo, and emceed the Garland County Literacy Council’s Rubber Duck Race.
“There’s no real challenges for us that I can think of, other than that I’m a real ray of sunshine at 6 in the morning,” Bailey said with a laugh. “In radio in general, there’s usually a clash between sales and programming, but our sales team has been here a really long time and is fantastic. We have fantastic bosses and great co-workers, but most importantly, it never stops being fun.”
“The KLAZ Breakfast Scramble” is heard from 6 to 10 a.m. Mon.-Fri. on KLAZ 105.9 FM.