There is no mistaking that cool English accent…One of the most recognizable voices in radio is RICHARD BLADE’s; Los Angeles first heard him on KROQ’s wildly popular morning show back in the 1980s. The UK native also parlayed his British good looks and charm into a very successful and unique career branching out to television and film. He hosted ‘MV3’ on KCAL-TV and went on to create, produce and host KTLA’s ‘Video Beat’ throughout the ‘80s. Blade also landed acting roles during that time and worked with Sarah Jessica Parker on numerous occasions, including the hit TV show ‘Square Pegs’ and the feature film Girls Just Wanna Have Fun along with Helen Hunt. He has also become a successful screenwriter; his work has aired on national cable channels including Lifetime.
Blade hit the national airwaves in 2004 and never looked back, on Sirius Satellite Radio’s 1st Wave, the go-to station for 1980s New Wave music. He currently hosts ‘1st Wave with Richard Blade’ weekdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (all PST) on Sirius 22, XM 44. Somehow he also finds the time to host Jack 93.1 FM’s ‘Flashback Lunch’ locally Monday through Friday and remains in demand to deejay special events.
The animal lover (he has cats and dogs – all rescued) was kind enough to allow The Tolucan Times to visit his stunning San Fernando Valley home on the hill for this interview…while his canines swam in the pool!
What brought you over from England to Los Angeles?
Radio in Europe was very limited and there were very few outlets. I had done clubs and some radio in England, Austria and Vienna, but I wanted to break into radio big time and knew I’d have to go to an English speaking country to do that. So it was America, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Canada. One day I was on an American Air Force Base 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Norway in January. It was 50 below and pitch black 24 hours a day…We were watching this cowboy movie, ‘They Call Me Trinity’ and it looked like California…I didn’t realize it was shot in Spain with an Italian actor, otherwise I’d be in Rome right now!
You went #1 in the Arbitron ratings within months on L.A. radio.
I was turned down for nearly 4 years, so I went to Bakersfield for a year then to San Luis Obispo where they were trying to get #2 in the market. When the ratings came out, (the competition) K-SLY got a 5 rating, we got a 27! So I went back to L.A. and did overnights at KNAC. I could feel the energy in L.A. was all about New Wave so I went to KROQ, worked for free for a few weeks then did weekends production and two weeks after that I had the morning show. It was amazing!
You were also on the air at STAR 98.7; which did you prefer?
KROQ was fantastic and exciting; they are all about the audience! Star and Clear Channel did not care at all about the audience, only the bottom line… It was my worst experience in radio.
Do you prefer doing local radio or satellite?
When I was on KROQ at its peak it was amazing; everyone was listening…then the internet came along. When I started with Sirius Radio in 2004 we had 234,000 subscribers total; now we have 25 million paid subscribers.
What radio stations do you listen to?
Howard Stern, 1st Wave, Electric Area, Jack FM and Kevin & Bean on KROQ are as good as it gets.
Have you met Howard?
I still have not…I was at Sirius headquarters in New York interviewing the Pet Shop Boys and Howard walked by, looked through the glass and waved at me. I felt like saying to Chris (Lowe) and Neil (Tennant), “Hang on, I gotta say hi to Howard,” but of course I couldn’t because I was right in the middle of the interview. I pride myself on being a good interviewer, but I think Howard is quite possibly the best. I really want to get a picture with him so when someone asks me for a photo I so understand; I am a geeky fan!
What was it like taking over Casey Kasem’s TV show?
I was honored when I took over ‘America’s Top Ten’ which he had done for many years as a spin off to his [radio show]‘American Top 40’. 50 years from now when you look back at Countdowns you’re going to look at Casey Kasem and Ryan Seacrest, but Casey really started it…with his own style and what a nice guy!
You wrote and co-starred in ‘Long Lost Son’ with Gabrielle Anwar and you discovered Chase Crawford.
Once we saw him read there was nobody else. I actually want to use him on another project I’ve got. We all did a table read and the director wanted to change one of the characters and asked me to play him! At first I wrote [the movie]to take place in Yugoslavia, rewrote it for Alaska and then was asked to rewrite it to take place in the Caribbean so that’s where it wound up.
Rescuing animals is very important to you.
Yes and I couldn’t not have animals. After I got my first dog, Angel, it changed me – having an animal made me a much better person. They teach you compassion, patience, understanding and absolute unconditional love. The love I get from an animal I have experienced from very few people… My wife and I go out of our way to help rescue. A lot of them we get are from the hill behind us because people dump their animals there and we have rescued a lot and adopted them out, many to our neighbors. People can be horrible; I prefer animals to most people!
Besides your radio shows on Sirius and Jack FM, what are you up to now?
I do a lot of private gigs: parties, weddings, reunions. They have taken off and been enormous for me, which is very flattering. I only have one Saturday left until December!
I’d like to write another script, about the ‘80s – the whole decade. And everyone keeps saying, “Write an autobiography”…