with Allison Miller

This Radio Couple is 'Rockin' Down Under' in Unique Show

Well, they've gone from being humble KVMR 89.5 FM phone volunteers to the hosts of what may be the only "Down Under" music show of its kind in the country. 

Bronx Bob and Kiwi Annie -- the on-air monikers of Bob and Ann DeSanti -- represent their geographic origins as well as their distinctive accents, coming from New York City and New Zealand, respectively.

Together, they now produce "The Rockin' Down Under Show", which airs every other Monday with a mix of Australian, New Zealand, Maori and Aboriginal music (10 p.m.-midnight, 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).  Their next regular program is Monday, May 29th, although they'll do a special "Sunday Showcase" this Sunday (May 21) from 5 to 7 p.m.. 

"We spent a lot of time researching what radio stations in the states played music from Down Under," explains Annie. "We were surprised to find that ours was the only show of its kind in all of America, especially promoting unknown and unsigned musicians."

"In fact, it seems like we have a bottomless pit of good music of all genres," she says. "All in all it's pretty exciting to find so much more talent than we expected."

 

ON PACIFICA NETWORK

Not only that, but the show was recently made available through the Pacifica Radio Network, with stations in California, Oregon and Oklahoma already picking it up.

Before settling in the Nevada City area a few years ago, the married couple had spent 12 years in the U.S. "traveling and working all over America" and 3 years in New Zealand, where Bronx Bob recalls "the only thing they were playing there was American music. Musicians in New Zealand were getting very little backing from radio stations." 

"So it was Annie's idea to start 'Rockin' Down Under' to help promote musicians from New Zealand and now Australia," according to Bob. 

"We have personal contact via Facebook with a great many of the artists we play," adds Annie. "It really helps to have this cooperation, and most of them get a real kick out of being played over here."

Anni and Bob connected on a freelance writers forum in 1998, and nine months later Annie jokes she came to the U.S. to meet Bob "armed with a hatchet, just in case."

Bob had written a novel, "In The Company Of Arrogance," about an old time police department from the '70s based on his experiences as a New York City cop. He's also worked as a chef, a construction worker and a vending machine job. 

Meanwhile, Annie had worked 18 years in the hydroponic business and has written about her travel experiences in New Zealand magazines.

When they ended up working at the Rollins Lake campgrounds in 2008, they heard a request from KVMR for listeners to answer phones during, yup, an on-air membership drive. 

 

DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS

That began a whole series of dedicated volunteering at the station. 

"They'll volunteer for almost anything at the drop of a hat or an e-mail," says co-volunteer director Sue Lunsford. "They're wonderful people, very helpful and willing to be there for us."

Currently, their volunteer roles include coordination of the station's "Red Eye Radio" shows from midnight to 4 a.m. when it can be most difficult to schedule volunteer hosts. 

Smiles Bronx Bob of the duties, "a little less begging would be great but we are getting more participation."

They also have spent three years volunteering at the Center For The Arts, where they were once named "volunteers of the month."

 

DRUNKEN STALLONE?

And Bob recalls that Tuesday Music Magazine host Johnny Gallagher once told him that "you'd have a great radio voice."

"I told him I think I sound like a drunken Sylvester Stallone," Bronx Bob says with a smile. 

But that got the bug going about taking the broadcaster class and  developing their own radio show.  "We rehearsed a lot," he says. 

That Rollins Lake gig, though...

"We just fell in love with the area and the radio station," notes Bronx Bob. "After all our 100,000 miles of traveling, it says something nice about the town that we chose to stay here."

 

DRIVE BEST IN 6 YEARS

Buoyed by its first and last days, KVMR's "Summer Of Love" on-air membership drive raised over $93,000, the station's highest total since May of 2011.

Over $18,000 was raised on May 4th when the station coordinated with the "Big Day Of Giving", and nearly $19,000 came in last Saturday during the station's popular roots music programming. 

 

CLASS DEADLINE EXTENDED

The deadline for applications to the 2017 Broadcaster Training Class has been extended to Monday, May 22nd.

Application information about the class -- which will be held during the day on Saturday, June 3 and 10  -- is available on the station website.