Cranked Up Live is a syndicated weekly 3 hour hard rock radio show and 1 hour hard rock video show hosted by Curtis McKinney and Brad Hennington. Started in 2009, the show was originally known as The Metal Shop but was changed in 2013 as the format and music genres of the show were expanded. The radio show is a combination of music, comedy, talk, and interviews along with the ‘Advice from the Desk of Mr. Holland’, the ‘Cranked Up Five’, ‘Psycho Picks’, ‘Block of Rock’, and the ‘Joke of the Week’.
Cranked Up Live now has 4 studios (New Mexico, Hawaii, Texas) and a staff that works tirelessly to produce a quality product ever week. The show is now heard on over 65 stations around the world and growing all the time. It has also expanded to a show on MeeMeeTV. – Every week the show is filmed in the New Mexico and Hawaii studios, condensed to a one hour video version and distributed to viewers. It has become one of the biggest shows on MeeMeeTV and just wrapped filming the second season.
To learn more about Cranked Up Live, affiliates or to bring the show to your market, visit www.crankeduplive.com.
Curtis started in radio at age 17 when a local country station asked him to cut voiceovers for $2.00 each. That led to bigger opportunities such as announcing Monster Truck Rallies and occasional “Live” remote from a local business. These days, you may not see Curtis around Southeastern New Mexico as much as you used to, but you definitely hear him. At any given time, you can hear spots created by Curtis on practically all of his local market radio stations, movie theaters and television stations. His voice and personality has become one of the most requested in his area and with Cranked Up Live getting bigger than ever, things are not slowing down.
Brad has always enjoyed entertaining people and even created a website that was much like today’s theonion.com, though he never had the chance to really expand or promote the site. He then decided that he wanted to mix humor and talk, but wasn’t sure how to get it out to people. He thought he would start with some humorous dubs of commercials and then, possibly, a podcast of humorous news and political talk.
As it turned out, Curtis was looking for someone to add something to his radio show and, knowing how crazy Brad’s mind worked, invited Brad to be on the show with him to “check it out”.
1. Lets start with the RadioContraband standard….Give us your three most ‘rock and roll’ moments.
#3 – Having a picture of my Hair Metal Band “Teez” on the front page of the high school paper with the caption, “#1 Party Band!”
#2 – Standing on stage in Austin, TX during SXSW hyping the crowd at The Texas Rock Fest
#1 – Being called on stage by Jessie James Dupree of Jackyl and downing a bottle of Jessie James Bourbon Whiskey with the band in the middle of their set. Awesome!
#1 – After the drag races in Vegas I went straight to a George Thorogood concert…
During bad to the bone, George saw me up front and stopped the concert
He said….”I gotta stop…I gotta stop…I’m sorry…what the hell happened to you before you got here that covered you in black spots”
I told him that I was at the drag races and it’s the rubber from the burnouts
And he said, “I gotta tell ya…(music started)…that’s Bad to the Bone”
#2 – He’s not really rock and roll, but I was at a Prince concert with Psycho Dave (from the Psycho Picks segment of our show) and Prince came through the crowd playing his guitar. He walked over by Psycho Dave and I, Dave hugged him…Dave and I are not small people…the band and security had a look of panic like I’ve never seen before…everything kinda stopped…and then Dave let him go… That’s it. We were hammered, Dave grabbed Prince, and then let him go. I don’t think he ever went into the crowd again after that.
#3 – In college, a fraternity brother and I set up a virtual concert at our house. We put the big screen up on a table, attached 3 stereos with about 12 speakers to it, and watched the video of Queen from Wembley Stadium. I still like watching concerts like that…with it cranked up like crazy…but now I do it with good headphones
2. In an ever-shrinking music environment, what keeps you motivated- what keeps you in the fight to expose great music to the masses?
Since I was a drummer myself, I saw firsthand how hard this business is. I know about the shady promoters and the pay to play bullshit. Now, we have our own venue and a killer radio show and it is my mission to not screw bands on gigs and play bands on the radio that deserve it. There are a ton of great musicians out there who are phenomenal, and I will play those guys every time over some band with a name that is creating garbage and riding on their glory days. The new hungry bands are the future. This isn’t a place for weaklings. I want to say this to the young bands; money can’t buy talent. It takes hard work. If you’re buying your way, you will probably soon be gone. The new hungry talent keeps me motivated.
I don’t think it’s shrinking, I think it’s growing, but that’s cutting the pie into smaller pieces. More bands put out more music than ever before. Technology allows even the little guys to have great production (sometimes). I think Rock can get back in the mainstream if we all work together to get it in front of people. There’s some great music out there. My goal is to make Cranked Up Live THE show you listen to/watch for the best new music before you hear/see it anywhere else.
3. What are the most played songs on your iPod?
Five Finger Death Punch (I really love watching them live)
George Jones (Don’t judge me!)
I don’t really have a playlist outside of Cranked Up Live. I play the show constantly in my car and at work. Since the show changes all the time, I don’t listen to the same songs that much.
4. Who would be your dream guest on your show/band to work with or wish you worked with (living or dead)?
That is a tough one for me. Since we have had so many great, great rock superstars on our show it is hard to say I have a dream guest anymore. I would love to have had the opportunity to work with people like Hank Williams, Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys and Phil Collins, not the one from Def Leopard. Today, if I had an opportunity to hit the road with FFDP or Godsmack I would be all over it! I am a huge fan of Shannon Larkin and Jeremy Spencer.
I don’t get starstruck often, but I’ve always been a big fan of Van Halen, so Eddie might have me starstruck.
5. What are you currently up to?
I am focused on growing Cranked Up Live and expanding our reach. I am usually on the phone or sending emails about the show to radio stations. We have 60ish affiliates carrying the show now, but I don’t want to stop there. I would like to bring our brand of craziness to as many listeners as possible. If you haven’t checked out Cranked Up Live, what the Hell is wrong wi… I mean, please do. I have also been spending a ton of time in our venue. Last December our roof in the main auditorium (2000 seats) collapsed from snow; about 1.2 million dollars in damage and another year to fix. We had to get our back room (we call the Annex) in concert shape fast while the auditorium is under construction. I have been redesigning the Annex (700 seats) in preparation for the concerts we are booking. Building a new stage, installing truss, lighting, PA, etc. That has been a job! Bobaflex will be the first rock act to grace the stage in the Annex on October 9th. We are very excited about that. You can check out our websites at:
I’m working on upgrading the show. We have a production engineer, but I’m always trying to learn that aspect too, as I do a lot of production on my own for the show. We’re also trying to take the show to another level with a video version of the radio show and that is still in its infancy. I think that part could be really big. It’s like MTV when it was actually entertaining and had videos.