After three-plus decades in radio, Blair Garner is still jazzed about coming to work every day, where he broadcasts America’s Morning Show to 36 country radio stations in 31 markets every weekday morning. After work, the divorced father comes home to 11-year-old twins Ava and Braxton and five dogs, as well as an extensive car collection that includes a 1968 Pontiac Firebird convertible he calls “Prozac on four wheels.” We recently caught up with the Canyon, Texas, native and 2013 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee.
What was your greatest accomplishment in the ?past year?
Being part of the development of the [Cumulus Media] NASH brand, and how it is extending our reach beyond traditional radio into a full entertainment brand.
What’s the biggest misconception about country music?
The same conversation has been there for so long: Whatever’s contemporary seems to be held in this [negative] vein by some who have been around for a longer time. I happen to love where country is going, and I think that the future is bright for the format. We have to continue to embrace it as an ever-evolving, dynamic format. That’s what art is.
Who has been your mentor in radio?
Bob Kingsley is the man that sets the bar, as far as I’m concerned. He and [wife] Nan have been so gracious in offering me guidance throughout my career, and I just aspire to a small bit of what Bob has achieved in his career and what he has done for our format.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in radio?
I’d probably be somehow involved with cars. I bought my first car when I was 11, and I mowed lawns to pay for it. It was $50, and since then, there has been a parade of nearly … I think, we’re right at 190 cars now that I’ve owned. [I currently own] 12, and, as I’m talking to you, I’m sitting at a dealership parking lot ordering a new one.
You can’t help yourself.
I just can’t. Far better it be cars than some of the other things people get hooked on.
Do you have a favorite?
I have a 1968 Pontiac Firebird convertible. I’ve done a full restoration on it two times. The first time it wasn’t fast enough, so we went back and it was completely redone again. That car is instant happy. If you could put a prescription for Prozac on four wheels, it is that car.
Where do you store them all?
It’s funny. If you have a car that needs some work done on it and you tell the mechanic, “Take your time,” they always do. So I’ve got a few that are spread out across different shops at different phases of restoration levels, and they all know that they [can] just work on them when they can. It keeps my costs lower and also helps me to keep them stored, but I do have a place where I store about eight or 10 in Columbia [Tenn.].
You do some of the restoration work yourself, right?
I have. I don’t do nearly as much anymore, simply because I don’t have time to. If I do have available time, I like to get out with the kids. Also, I’m pretty particular, and I can’t do the work necessarily to my own standards.
Does being particular extend to your professional life as well? ?
Oh, absolutely. God bless the people that I am lucky enough to work with [which includes morning team members Terri Clark, Chuck Wicks, Erika Grace Powell and HLN Morning Express’ Robin Meade] because they do — day in, day out — work at a level that is something I certainly wouldn’t be able to do.
Where do you hang out on the weekends?
We ended up buying a second house out in Columbia, and it’s on seven acres, which for us is huge. It was built in 1965 and was, architecturally, a really fascinating house. It was designed by the editor for Architectural Digest … and it is literally like you’ve walked onto the set of Mad Men. It’s just beautiful. So every Friday afternoon when the kids are done with school, we hop in the car, grab the dogs, head out to Columbia, and we stay there until the last possible second.
This article first appeared in Billboard’s Country Update — sign up here.