Changing one’s perfectly good name is a weird tradition in radio. I was christened as “Hoss The Boss” in 1992 by one of my radio bosses. By the time I got fired from my final “real” radio gig in 2006, I had a decent little following as “Hoss,” so it just made sense to use that name for this site. (It was either that or try to come up with a few extra thousand dollars to pay to promote the thing at the beginning.)
I often wish I wasn’t Hoss, though.
Having matured greatly since 1992 — and therefore rejecting almost everything about the culture of “real” radio — I am self conscious about being “Hoss.” The name is as goofy — and therefore corporate — as you can get. And I have more or less devoted my life to being anti-corporate. The irony is delicious, of course. But newcomers are to be forgiven for not catching it right away.
Most people, when they hear that my name is “Hoss,” probably expect me to be some simple-minded, semi-racist, “Larry The Cable Guy” type of character.
Instead, I majored in English in college, spent a lot of time as a newspaper reporter, almost became a university journalism professor, and am very concerned with the state of ethics in American media today. Also, I don’t own a cowboy hat, have only ridden a horse twice I think, and have never been all that caught up with most country music. Jazz and Blues is more my style most of the time. (Although I have VERY eclectic musical tastes as you can tell from my station.)
I’m too far into this Hoss thing to change it now, though. I’ve come to terms with the idea that Hoss The Boss will probably be on my tombstone.
So I just have as much fun with this name as I can, and, on that note, a lot of people think the story of how I got the name is funny:
I got the name from Catfish (real name Jim Prewitt), a semi-famous DJ who has worked at stations across America and was the program director at KOUL radio in Corpus Christi back in 1992. When Catfish hired me to be the station’s night guy, he gave me 24 hours to decide whether I wanted to be “Rawhide Ron” or Hoss the Boss.
I think I took less than a minute to decide.
I got lucky: other DJ’s Catfish hired for the station included Bo Weevil, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, Phil Inn (the weekend guy), and Miss Chievious. We never did end up with a DJ named Rawhide Ron.
Hoss hasn’t been the only name I’ve used on the air, by the way. Here’smy history: I was “Don James” at K.99, Corpus Christi and KGULF, Lake Jackson from 1987-1989. I was “Don Brady” on KIOX, Bay City for a few months in 1989. I became “Bill Brady” when I returned to K.99, Corpus Christi and then ended up at KIBL, Beeville in 1989 and 1990. I was “Don Cox” (yes, I gave away Cox Suckers) on KQTX when I returned to radio, after a two year lay-off, in 1992, and then, finally, I arrived as “Hoss the Boss” on KOUL. Once Hoss became the most popular night time DJ in Corpus Christi in 1993, the name just stuck
As much as I have grown to hate the corporate radio world that spawned Hoss, I suppose I’ll have to allow this name changing thing to live on with HossTheBoss.com. Several others involved with this site have assumed names as well, and I’m sure future contributors will follow suite. My friend (and trusty sidekick) Travis Hopper is the most notable example right now. His real name is Trevor Hopkins. Travis has never worked in radio before, so he doesn’t have the same reasons for changing his name as I did. He just thinks it’s funny to have a different name.
On most other operational issues, I will insist mightily that HossTheBoss.com not follow radio tradition if the tradition is corrupt and/or stupid. But I will make the name changing entirely optional. Real names are not required on HossTheBoss.com. But, then again, they aren’t prohibited either (as they are at many real stations). Whatever a HossTheBoss.com DJ wants to be called, well, that’s what we’ll call him (or her).
In may case, you can call me Don or Hoss. I’ll answer to either.
The most important thing I hope everyone remembers about my stupid name “Hoss The Boss” is that I use it ironically to mock the “real” radio industry, which is filled with (and even run by) people who fit the silly “Hoss-like” stereotype precisely — both on the air and off.
I admit to being silly myself at times, of course. And I doubt if I’m always worth paying attention to. But at least I’m honest about that. The corporate-style “Hoss The Boss” wouldn’t have even thought of being honest about anything.