Issue 101

Cover Story, Dave and Chuck the Freak from 101 WRIF by Jenn McMullan. Thank you to Bill Nuvo from Nuvo Entertainment for the use of the straight jacket.

Dave and Chuck the Freak from 101 WRIF

If you’re interested in a radio show that discusses the effects of the political agenda and damaging stereotypes through a PG13 appropriate tone, then this show is not for you. However if you want to laugh until it hurts you may have found your morning fit with Dave and Chuck the Freak on Detroit’s 101 the WRIF.

Unless you live under a rock or have a tendency to change the channel when you hear the word P3N!S, you’ve probably heard the show. The show which originally began in 2001 on the 89X station in Windsor with host Dave Hunter and Chuck Urquhart, later moved to the Detroit station in 2013. They’ve continually shattered any illusion that us polite Canadians can’t get down and dirty with the best of them. It’s this raw, honest and nothing off limits attitude of the show’s personality, that has struck a cord internationally. Not only resulting in making them the number one rated morning show in Detroit, but also gaining them fans worldwide. Urquhart said they’ve received calls from all over the world, everywhere from China, Ukraine, England, Japan, Ireland, Greece and so on.

Their appeal is universal, which explains why they’ve been so successful on a large scale. Hunter said he thinks it’s the authenticity of the show that resonates with so many.

“We discovered pretty early on doing the show together, that we couldn’t fake it,” said Hunter. “For us it had to be genuine, the reaction has to be real. We would try and work out some stuff in advance and when we did it on air it was obvious we were staging it. We want it to be fresh, we want to be as surprised as the listeners are with what’s going to happen, because that’s when the true funny happens. Those are the best moments of our show.”

Urquhart said creating those genuine moments and fiding the humour in everyday is the backbone of the show’s substance.

“I really think Dave kind of nailed it, what you can expect from the show is for it to be real,” said Urquhart. “We’re really a bunch of friends sitting around [and talking] in the same way your friends would sit around and talk to you. Maybe not everybody’s friends, we have some dirty friends.”

“I’m sure you can expect at times to be a little shocked, possibly appalled, but I guarantee we will make you laugh if you listen to us,” he said. “This area, it wants a show like ours.”

The show’s bluntness and unapologetic observations is a prime example of the modern dialogue audiences are looking for in the media.

“I do think it’s a time where people are kind of sick of all the political correctness stuff,” said Hunter. “We’re not a mean spirited show, we don’t attack people, we’re not out to shock you. We’re simply talking how people would talk and having truthful discussions about things, and we don’t hold any punches. Sure we’ll make fun of people, but we’re looking for a laugh, we’re trying to fid humour in everything. No matter how horrible a situation might be or how dark, we’re trying to pull the funny out of it. I think really that’s what people want at the end of the day. They want to forget what’s going on around them and laugh at anything and everything.”

“That’s the goal really, is to put a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “We all face the daily grind, we’ve all got to be driving or getting up at an hour that we don’t want to be getting up at. Truly the best messages or text we receive, are people saying I was having the worst day and the only thing that made me laugh today was your show. Or I’m going through something pretty horrible at work or home and it was amazing that you guys put such a smile on my face, those are the greatest messages we receive.”

If finding the silver lining with humour is the backbone of the show, then the heart of the show is that the hosts genuinely crack each other up. Urquhart said their both aware of how lucky they are to have found the symmetry they have together.

“I think it’s been there from the start,” Urquhart said. “Dave and I just clicked together, he kind of knows what I’m going to do and I know what he’s going to do. When Dave and I fially got to do the show together I remember sitting downstairs and saying ‘ok from here on out, its me and you’. A lot of times in radio people are just looking for their next job, but me and Dave I think we knew, we fit together. Now forever, good or bad, we’re together forever.”

Hunter agrees one of the reasons the show hits a note with others is that people can tell it’s not fake.

“I’ve done some other shows and the one thing I realized is you cannot create chemistry,” said Hunter. “You can’t make it happen it just has to be there, and we instantly knew we made each other laugh. There are moments I can’t catch my breath because Chuck has made me laugh so hard. That’s one of the things that might surprise people is how much we laugh off the air too.”

Whether it’s trying to make each other laugh or the audience, Urquhart said using humour as a way of life is something that’s always been a part of him.

“The best advice I ever got was from my eighth grade teacher who was really hard on me,” said Urquhart. “I was the class clown and I was always trying to make people laugh and getting into trouble for it. At the end of the year at graduation he came up and grabbed me and said Chuck your whole life people are going to try and tell you to stop. Stop being funny, stop trying to make people laugh, and he said don’t ever stop, because in life that’s what’s going to set you up. He said you’ll make people laugh and you’ll be ok, I’m not worried about you. This was coming from a guy who would send me to detention, make me sit in the hallway. It really hit home and I really took that to heart, I just never stopped trying to be funny.”

“We realize what we got here,” said Hunter. “We’re so lucky to be able to be doing what we’re doing each and everyday. To sit around this table and just laugh for hours at a time, and the best part is making others laugh. Putting a smile on someone’s face or making their day a little bit better is a hundred percent the best part of this job.”

“Honestly it’s like lightening in a bottle fiding all the pieces you need to make a show successful, and to have the players on it all get along and genuinely like each other,” he said. “That is unbelievably rare and we found it, we kind of struck gold and we’re just going with it.”

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