I’ve been listening to the Ron and Fez show since they joined XM. My first car (I mean, it would be mine eventually) had XM installed and the salesman flipped the channel to good ol’ 202 (its now on channel 152). Instantly, I was a fan. I don’t know if it was the really quick banter or the fact that they made even the most boring topic interesting, but I felt like my radio had found a permanent home.They sounded so natural talking about football, then switching to politics, then movies, then music, then books. I felt like I was missing out on so much entertainment after one show.
Over the years the Ron and Fez show has changed drastically. I have to say, the roots of Ron and Fez start out in the Ron and Ron Show. In those days, Fez was a mere intern and the show was very shock jockish. Ron frequently speaks about his drug filled radio days, where lines of cocainebought air time. There are stories of taser-roulette and nude girls doing unmentionable things in their past. That was then. Now the show has matured. Fez is co-host, Ron is clean and sober, They still have fun, but they primarily stick to really intelligent conversations on up to the minute topics.
Ron and Fez don’t try to speak down to its listeners (unless they’re trying to make fun of the fact that they don’t). The show has essentially become an amazing showcase of known and unknown artists. Ron Bennington is probably the best interviewer in the business. He doesn’t just ask question, he has legitimate conversations with the guests. Often times they will genuinely thank Ron on air for talking about something that would not be brought up in other interviews. In an interview with James Cromwell, Ron brings up the actor’s civil rights activism and “Black Power Mix Tape” and “Her First American”. One of my favorite moments is when Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox has such a genuinely fun time in the interview that Ron invites her to come back and meet Ronnie Spector. Lennox does indeed returns and geeks out, turning into a little girl in front of Spector. His skill at getting the real person behind what the public sees has gotten him additional shows on XM: Unmasked, which focuses on comedians and RBI (Ron Bennington Interviews).
One of the strange and interesting aspects of the show is Fez. During my first few listens of the show in 2005, Fez was an over the top hilarious guy, whose knowledge on football was incalculable. A few months later, Fez had a heart attack. Since then his role on the show has slowly diminished, in part due to emotional and physical issues. Despite this downturn in airtime, Fez is still incredibly funny. He is beloved on the show and recently came out of the closet. However, that closet might as well have been made of glass. You see, Fez is parody of a gay character. Over the years he slowly came to grips with his sexuality and understood that he was more like the character than he originally thought. He came out on the air to a lot of fanfare.
The show also incorporates it’s producers and interns into the show. The era of “Black” Earl Douglas and “East Side” Dave McDonald as producers found a balance between the crazy antics of the past (Dave was and is crazy) and the more intellectual aspects of the show. Both are amongst the longest running producers of the show, which is renown for chewing up producers and spitting them out. The current producers Christopher “Pepper Hicks” Stanley and Mark Zito have come into their own, adding a really interesting dynamic (Hicks is cool, Zito is hated).
Ron and Fez are probably the best thing going today. You should visit their official unofficial website, The Interrobang?!, listen to ronbennington (hint hint nudge nudge) interviews at RBI or listen to the show on SiriusXM Channel 105 (XM) & 206 (Sirius) 10am to 2pm or download their shows on Audible.
Also, you can go to Molly’s Cupcakes located at 2536 North Clark Street Chicago, Illinois 60614 and get yourself Ron Bennington’s “I’ve got my own cupcake” Cupcake.