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An Interview With Dave Warren & Al Butler of Acres of Diamonds
By Clayton Ruley

GeoClan.com: We are here with Dave Warren and Albert Butler of WHAT 1340 AM's Acres Of Diamonds program. Please tell me what the show is about?

 

Dave Warren: The show is basically you name it we talk about it!  Since WHAT is a traditionally conservative African American radio station focused on issues in the African American community.   We have two show that would be considered middle of the ground at this time on WHAT.   In the red/blue state scenario we would be the blue state focusing on democratic issues.   We try to focus on topics that are light yet informative.   The show is intended or people between the ages of 25-54.

 

GC : How long has the show been on the air and tell us the significance of the show's title, Acres of Diamonds?

 

DW : We are in our fourth year of doing the show and our fifth year anniversary will be in September of 2005.   I used to have a show on WDAS and my co-host was a Temple University graduate; Temple's founder came up with a parable which he phrased as ãAcres of Diamondsä where there was two guys who went off looking for fame and fortune, one guy went looking for gold and oil and he was killing the ground with no success except for finding coal and suffice to say he died penniless. The other guy brought the land from him and found the coal, compressed the coal and found diamonds.   So it's just a contrast in how you look at things: So the show's focus is to find the good things beyond the bad things and focus on that instead of always looking at the negative.

 

GC : How did you and your co-host Al Butler come together for the show?

 

DW : Al was my producer when I first got the show and when I first got offered the show By the third show Al was here, came in and he was laying on the floor and we have been cool ever since. He told me he liked the way my show was Al liked the humor and we just kind of meshed and grew from there. It was all serendipitous.

 

AB : I had some serious back problems at the time and I was laid out on the floor and he walked in and I said: ãwhat's going on you doing the show tonightä He said: ãyeahä and I said: ãI'll be a producerä.   I love that Dave allowed and continues to let me do me   and bring in the different characters and stupidity on air.

 

GC : I hear you have some special guests on the show. Tell us about them!

 

DW : We have people who lend their talents to the show. We have one person who sounds a lot like Mike Tyson, we hav a special guy by the name of Tyrone who does our movie reviews, we have a guy named D'Andre, well I don't know if you want to call him a guy he's more like a person who is really into fashion industry and things that are diva.

 

 

 

GC : What do you guys do besides the show to get the AOD word out there?  

 

DW : What we try to do is build the Acres of Diamonds brand as more than just the radio show. Some other things we have done include the Acres of Diamonds experience where we actually do the show live and we feature live performances, African American businesses, non-profit organizations, etc.   It's like a big party except it's live so you can dance and even curse! Another event is the Mojito Moments, which centers around mojitos , which is a Cuban drink made with rum. We center the event on drinking the mojito beverage and we talk about things and topics important to the people of our ilk. We also actually host other people's events like an event called Maduro. We have done fashion shows and other events all in the name of gaining more listeners and getting the A.O.D. brand out.

 

GC : Any particular topic you have discussed on the show that you were really proud to present to the people?

 

DW : We did a whole show focused on the African American youth and what their responsibilities are and should be. We also focused an entire show on Hip Hop music and how its culture has impacted things we do on a daily basis. So we have done several events and shows that we feel as good for establishing dialogue and informing people as well.

 

GC : Now Al Butler (said as he walks in the room) has been one of the Philadelphia Daily News   Sexy Singles for the past couple of years: Any comments on that Al?

 

Al Butler: I don't have a comment but I will comment. It's cool, I do get a lot of good-natured ripping (saying this as he looks at Dave), and I'm still getting over that Speedo comment he made in his weekly emails. We are known in more circles than we were years ago and there is no such thing as bad publicity right?

 

DW : No there is. Just ask Michael Jackson that question and he will say as much.

 

GC : So both of you are Philly natives?

AB : Center City and Mt. Airy

DW : West Philly

 

GC : What do you think about community?

 

AB : Community is important but I think what community is, is important to define÷to   me community is not necessarily what happens in this or that neighborhood but whatever your group of people is; in our case our radio audience is our community, those are the people we try to reach. I want our community to be as inclusive as possible.   When we construct a show we try to make it as accessible to the community and not one particular community but community on a larger scale.  

 

DW : Like I said before WHAT traditionally is for an older audience and people who are younger who may not be interested in talk radio don't think about talk radio. Some don't realize how important politics are or that things besides the insides of the entertainment industries mean a lot and need to be discussed.   Like December is World AIDS Month, where the importance of HIV/AIDS is supposed to be reflected upon and acted on and it's taboo to talk about in most of the African American community.   This leads to young people not taking the proper precautions to protect themselves from this disease which can be prevented. So when your talking about the radio and the professional community being inclusive in letting people know the information out there to be had that what I believe community means something.

 

GC : What do you enjoy about working on the radio and do you have aspirations on moving to the other forms of media?

 

DW : Radio is my first love since college and I want to stay in talk radio. If the radio allows me the opportunity to branch out and do television and other things of that nature then fine but I love to have a dialogue and talk over issues better effectively. You know we have the ultimate goal of being nationally syndicated.   My main focus is the radio; pretty Al may have plans to model for K-Mart!

 

AB : JC Penney, JC Penney, nah seriously I love radio and I fell in love with it when I was a little kid I always enjoyed being in radio whether it is sports radio, or straight talk radio and I would want still be in radio despite any other endeavors.   I have some characters and if I tried to do them on TV it wouldn't be the same. On radio it is completely different because it is left to the mind. The person's mind forms what the person's face and body looks like based on how I use my voice and that's a lot of fun because of the endless amount we can do.  

 

DW : It takes a lot of imagination and radio helps you do that more anything else. I think that is something we have lost as a society with television.   You look out and everything is there for you. It's the difference between reading the book and the newspaper. Your getting the information with the newspaper but your brain isn't given the opportunity to expound on what you are learning like you would with the book that bring you slowly along the story.

 

GC : yeah that's real because everyone is used to see things quickly and being told what it is instead of searching for it themselves they often aren't thinking on their own. Being taught to think independently.  

 

DW : And what does this mean to me. How does it correlate to what I'm doing or what's happening in my world.

 

GC : Let's get some background Dave said he love radio since college?

 

 

 

DW : I said I fell [in love] with talk radio in college.   I mean I always wanted to do radio but college is when I think I got hooked because there was this guy when I first got to Cheyney University. He had a show called the Bull Dollar Holla and he had the best voice ever. I give any success I have to him because he was the first person I heard that I could actually touch.   I later graduated from college. I got a part time gig at WCAU as a producer overnight.   I worked overnight with this one guy, I forgot his name, but he used to sing and tell these corny jokes and he was fascinating but he could also get serious and I got this Acres of Diamonds concept.   We could talk about important things but we can also talk about funnier aspects of life.  

 

AB : For me it started really early. I was living on Greene Street in Germantown (Philly) around 8 years old and I started to listen to KYW-- I remember listening to KYW when I heard of hostages came back from Iran and they had just landed in Germany.   I remember hearing Doctor J's 30,000-point game, his last game ever. I went to Hampton and I knew that broadcast journalism would be my major so after a semester of semi-successful football I hooked up with the college radio station and did the football games for 41/2 years. My first paid gig was a Hampton game versus Florida A&M that went 5 overtimes which was then a NCAA record. WHAT is a natural transition for me into talk. Sportstalk was always big for me but focusing on one subject wasn't enough.

 

DW : Well you can't talk about some things there are regulations.

 

AB : There are things you can't say but any topic is available. You can say double penetration on the radio.

 

DW : Yeah that's true!

 

GC : What would you say to those trying to get on the radio business?

 

DW : I've been in this business since 1986. I've always been involved and you have to follow your dreams and know that nothing is easy.

 

AB : Internships are important, I'm here today because of one. The three things to remember are: get internships in whatever you want to do, be a sponge÷soak up everything, network and follow up.

 

 

DW : Realistically you're going to have work for free! I can't tell you how many years I worked at WDAS and didn't get paid. It's the nature of the beast. The greatest example is Puffy albeit in a different game.   Puffy interned at Uptown records and blew up shortly after.  

 

GC : In 2004 the Philadelphia Tribune nominated you guys as the best radio show.

 

DW : Actually we were nominated best radio personalities but we recently were named third place for the best radio show behind Wendy Williams who won and Tom joyner which are both syndicated so technically we are the best show based in Philly!

 

GC : What is the AOD Blessing?

 

DW : Probably one of the most unique things regarding our show is that anyone who comes on the show, better yet the majority of them who come on the show does something wondertasturful after coming on the show. A good example would be John Legend who came on our show as John Stephens about 11/2 years ago and now he is big.   There are other people too and I think its because every September the pastor of my church comes by and blesses the show for all we do on the show and also for our ultimate goal.

 

GC : Name some of the guests you've had drop by or call.

 

AB : Jill Scott called, Paula Jai Parker, Rob Hardy (creator of Trois and Pandora's Box), Marcellius Wiley of the Dallas Cowboys, Marlon Jackson, Congressman Chaka Fattah, State Senator Anthony Williams and Vincent Hughes, Mayors Wilson Goode and John Street, Zane, Mayorial assistant Sean Fordham, numerologist Jerome Carter, CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien, local broadcasters Christian Farr, Carla Eboh, Tasha Brown, Tracey Humphries, official AOD news jawn Alicia Taylor and Don Lemon. Lemon is another AOD success story.  

 

DW : We do have a curse though and Sharon Reed knows about it.

 

GC : What's the curse?

 

AL : The curse comes if we try to get you on the show multiple times and you flea us some adversity will come you way.   We tried to get Reed on the show several times and she said she was coming but never did and later the whole scandal with the other woman reporter happened.  

 

GC : So overall the show has been well received?

 

AB : It has been good; not the overall goal but I'm happy with the progress made. I've heard people talking about hearing the show and that's good.

 

GC: So when is the program and on what station?

AB : Saturday evenings, 6-10pm on 1340 WHAT and the website is www.thebigtalker.net.     

 

For any questions, inquiries or comments please email Clayton at clayton@geoclan.com



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