The high sheriffs of DFW.com called me back in 2010 and insisted I go down to KTCU/88.7 FM for something called The Good Show, a music program on a college radio station run by people who aren’t attending that college. It has been on the air continuously (give or take a few weeks) since before the turn of the last century.
Since that time I’ve been on the show many times — promoting stories, or just out of morbid curiosity — and I’ve watched this thing go through some changes.
Sunday night, I sat down with the hosts of The Good Show, Tom Urquhart and Chris Bellomy, to talk about the three-hour show — heard at 9 a.m. Saturdays — and about its history and where it’s going.
Urquhart was teaching at TCU in 2000, and he was doing a radio show with Steve Levering called The Tom and Steve Show. But Steve was looking for an exit, and Tom’s childhood friend Chris Bellomy had an idea about a new direction for the show.
“The Tom and Steve Show was starting to sound like two different shows to me,” Bellomy said. “Tom was doing what was largely a punk rock show at this point — he was playing a lot of crunchy two- to three-minute punk songs. Then Steve would roll in with these 12-minute ethereal Godspeed You! Black Emperor songs.”
Bellomy felt that a more cohesive show would work, and with the rapport between the two, they could interject some comedy into Saturday mornings.
“Since high school we’ve had a friendship where mostly we speak with each other in banter. Whatever strange banter we have on the air is pretty much the way we talk to each other in real life,” Bellomy said.
So Levering left, and Bellomy came on board and The Good Show was born — first airing on Saturday mornings (because nobody wanted that shift), and then moving to Sunday nights. Neil Schnell, of the band Velvet Lovebox, joined the show, and Goodwin frontman Tony Diaz stopped by to promote a band but stayed on as producer.
With so many people competing for air time, Bellomy stepped back and started writing pre-recorded comedy routines. The show was picking up listeners and winning awards. Everything seemed to be going great.
But in 2007 KTCU got a new logo, one that bore an unfortunate resemblance to an obscene hand gesture. It was already the brunt of jokes among the students, but Urquhart was oblivious.
“I didn’t know what it was until it was explained to me,” Urquhart said. “They asked me, ‘Notice anything funny about this?’ I critiqued it as a prof — I was teaching infographics. ‘Well, that’s going downhill, the spacing is off — I’d give it a B-.’ ”
While they didn’t mention it on the air, Bellomy recorded a fake commercial referencing (graphically) the gesture. Everyone had a good laugh, and then it was forgotten — until a student found the audio file and asked her professor about it.
“We got this call from [the station manager], ‘What the hell are you doing?’ And I’m going through the Rolodex of all the bits we have done. ‘Too many targets, can you be more specific?’ ” recalled Bellomy.
In the end, the show was off the air for two weeks, Urquhart had to speak to the class about what it means to be edgy, and Bellomy fell on his sword and left the show.
“I’m writing this edgy comedy stuff,” Bellomy said, “and we get tripped up for this thing that never went on the air? I’m gonna cost my best friend his pride and joy — I can’t live with myself if that happens. So I backed out.”
When the show returned, it was moved back to Saturday mornings. Schnell, being a professional musician, wasn’t able to be on that early so now the show was back down to Diaz and Urquhart.
For the newest incarnation of The Good Show, Diaz took a more prominent role. There was more live music on the show and The Good Show Live Music Series went from a couple of concerts a year to a once-a-month showcase at Lola’s.
“It was a different dynamic,” recalled Urquhart. “Chris and I, especially those early shows — Chris was more the dry, and I was the crazy guy. Those roles kinda flipped. Tony started playing co-host, and he’s a natural on the mike.”
“The thing about Tony Diaz is he’s a top-notch frontman,” Bellomy said. “He’s one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen. It kinda left Tom as a supporting character to Tony’s frontman — it’s nobody’s fault; it’s just how things worked out.”
In 2013 Bellomy returned to The Good Show, and Diaz left to do event promotion with Panther City Exchange.
So now we’ve come full circle. It’s once again Tom and Chris on Saturday mornings. The Good Show is still promoting local music, and it’s still introducing fans to artists they would never know existed.
Said Bellomy, “It’s like having our friends over and saying, ‘Let me play you all these great records you haven’t heard yet.’ ”
Tom Urquhart agrees.
“There’s a lot of bands that I love and want to promote,” he said. “The best way that I can do that is to play their songs on the air.”
The Good Show
- 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays
- KTCU/88.7 FM