No More Mr. Nice Guy? Country Radio Host Launches Interrogation-Like Interview Series

DO NOT REUSE
Courtesy Photo
John Pardi

The video is dark, the flashlight casts ominous shadows, and the mysterious soundtrack is loaded with X Files-like tension.

Leading into Halloween, KNUC Seattle host Cory "Fitz" Fitzner retooled an element of his morning show by posting an "artist interrogation" video to Facebook. Jon Pardi was the first on-camera subject, fielding random questions in uncomfortably tight quarters. The underlying attitude is ultra serious, though both interviewer and interviewee break frequently into the kind of laughter morning hosts crave.

"If someone is in there and maybe they're not amusing for the interview, then I'm not doing my job," says Fitz. "The interrogation is going to be entertaining no matter what if I'm really doing my job with the question."

Revising and reexamining the interview is a minor obsession for Fitz. Though ideal for video streaming, the interrogation started as an audio-only idea when guests like Runaway June, Brantley Gilbert and Riley Green received crime-show treatment during call-in Q&As. Fitz has tried other techniques, such as the dice-roll interview, where a die determines the number of words in a question; or the incorporate-a-word interview, where an odd term — such as "muffin" or "chili pepper" — has to be inserted into the question.

"We completely let the audience know about it before going into the interview, so the audience is just cringing a lot," says Fitz.

The Pardi interrogation, conducted on the artist's bus, is likely the start of an online series. Fitz says that reps for Luke Combs and Kane Brown have reached out about taking part, and he has been asked to consider visiting Nashville to gather a ream of episodes in a short window.

"It's all in complete, ridiculous fun," says Fitz, "and at the same time, we're going to learn some very interesting stuff about the artist."

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