June 17, 2022

Cliff Bennett, Radio Veteran, TV Host, Musician

Cliff Bennett, Radio Veteran, TV Host, Musician
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Have you ever been drafted into a professional wrestling match? Attacked by a chicken?Buried alive? Hear these and more stories from behind the microphone when former Radio personality Cliff Bennett stops by for a chat and find out how he dealt with losing a career after 30 years and finding new life in front of the camera.

Follow Cliff on Instagram - @stepchild1023 

And on Facebook at Cliff Bennett or Cliff Dyches 

Check him out on The Morning Mix on WRDW  


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Let me get my, let me get into my radio voice.

Welcome to another episode of Chewing the Fat. I'm your host, Big Robb. Thank you so much for downloading, tuning in, following the podcast. I really appreciate that. Thanks to the folks that have bought me a coffee at chewingthefatbr.com. I am always appreciative of you putting your dollars to where your passions are. It definitely helps me to spread this message and you're a part of that and I really, really do appreciate that. What I also appreciate is the guests I'm allowed to have here on the show and I say allow because they...

They say yes when I ask. And one of my longtime friends and fellow radio cronies is in the house. Please welcome Cliff Bennett. Hi. Hi. I was gonna bring you a coffee. Oh. But then I realized that's not how this works. I mean, you could have brought, I literally, I'm all about some coffee. You could have brought me a coffee. I could have done that. You could have brought me a coffee. Cliff, welcome. Hi, man. How are you? I haven't seen you since before COVID. Yes.

Yeah, that's kind of like everybody. I always forget that there were these two years that everybody was kind of in their house. Is that missing time? Is it like being picked up by aliens or something? You just don't know? Yeah, it's kind of like the blip in the Marvel, in the MCU. It's like, it's set of five years is two years. That you always have to add on when you're like, how long has it been? It's like, oh, it's like, no, I saw you last year. No, it was like three years. Crap, yeah. It's good to see you. It's good to see you too, man.

Cliff and I have worked together in radio back in the old, well I guess it started as Cumulus Days and then they got bought out and became Clear Channel and now they're iHeart, but back in the old, the double wide as we called it. That place is still sort of standing. I don't even know what's in it anymore down on Carolina Springs. I wanna say I think at one time Tony Powers had bought it. He did, yes. For his radio empire. Yeah, he did. But I don't know what's there now.

But good times, good times down there with Eagle 102 and all of the personalities and stuff that we did. We had raccoons in the engineering room. Yes, or snakes, those were the exciting days when the snakes would get in. So Cliff, you from Augusta, or North Augusta, Aiken? Yeah, I'm just from this area, born and bred. I was born at university. Yeah.

now Piedmont. But yeah, grew up in Williston and in Aiken, moved to North Augusta in 96, and living the dream. Yeah. And by the way, this is great. I was listening to the podcast. You had Allie on a while back. I guess, are we the first father daughter? Well, I guess first father daughter. I mean, I've had my mother and my son on here. Yes, I saw that. And actually both sons, because Jeremy played a song at Christmas. But yes, I can believe you're the first father daughter that I've had episodes. And by the way,

who in the hell wants to talk to me about me? When there are so many other atrocities in the world. Well I've picked you as an atrocity, I mean as a guest. You can use this as a teaser. No, I mean look, I think people wanna know more about the people behind.

The microphones are on the screen now as you're hosting a morning show on WRDW. Apparently they were running out of people. Richard Rogers can only do so many shows. I know, yeah. Give them a break, give them a break. Exactly. But yeah, I mean, I think being able to find people's backgrounds and their passions and stuff like that, I think that's important, that's important. And that's something we never really had a chance to do on the radio, you know, because it was music. You're talking...

into intros and whatever promo that you had to read on the air, so it's putting a whole lot of time to really expound on your own personal life or anything. So you have a theater background, correct? I do, yes. Went to USC Aiken. Uh-huh, yeah. Because I see your posts all the time, when folks that you went there with and old pictures and stuff like that. Oh yeah, and you know, I stay in touch with all of them, as a matter of fact.

I'm a fan of the Etheridge Center. I still stay in touch with the people that work there, the people that went there, talked to one of them the other night, as a matter of fact. I don't do as much theater as I used to do. I kind of hate that. Along the same lines as I don't play music like I used to do either. Just getting old.

Too much other things to do. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, the thing is, as I've said before, you get these 24 a day. You decide what's gonna be important. Sometimes sleep is important. Sometimes not doing something is important. Ain't nobody got time for that. Right. I'd love to see you back up on stage. I know I've invited you to some Augusta Players auditions before to come.

be a part of that, especially when Ally was in town. Oh yeah, absolutely. You know, it was a special time for me and Jacob and Jeremy getting to perform together, you know, in something like that. There's just- Christmas Carol? Christmas Carol, yeah, yeah. And I think Ally may have been in that production as well. I think that, yeah, was that 17 or 18? Something, yeah. All those years ago, before the blip? Exactly, exactly. But yeah, yeah, it's, is that-

kind of that theatrical background, was that something that kind of directed you to go into radio as a career? Was radio always the end game? I think, I knew that entertainment was always, or media was always going to be in front of me. Growing up with my mom, my mom was pretty much in the entertainment business. She did 30 years at SRS, but...

When I was a kid, we would do stuff at the Yakin community playhouse when it was behind Odell Weeks. I think my first show, I was 10 years old. So I'll give you an example. Allie gets it honestly, because not only does she get it from my side of the family, she gets it from Heidi's side of the family, too. But yeah, it was always, whether it was clogging. Wait, wait, you know how to clog? I know how to clog. Oh my god. I can double step, rock step with the.

It's the best stuff. That's awesome. And that's why I've got a brace on my knee right now. It's an old clogging injury. Let me tell you about it, got a minute? Yeah, but from that and singing and theater, acting, I always knew it was gonna be somewhere in front of me. Yeah, yeah. Did you...

pursue acting as a career? Did you try to leave Augusta, leave Aiken, and go do that? You know what, I actually did. You're a fairly good looking guy. I'm confident enough to say you're a fairly good looking guy. I'm still paying for the work. Thank you very much. You have a good back here. Don't I? Actually, I left, I had started working at RXR in May of 93, and the summer of 94, I took that off and left,

professional outdoor theater in Snow Camp, North Carolina. Oh wow. And we had two shows there for the summer, so it was three months.

we were atrociously paid, I mean so low. It was room and board and it was barely board. But I was the understudy for Joseph, and Joseph and the amazing technical dream coach. I played Zebulon in the show. And then there was the staple show that was there at snow camp called Pathway to Freedom. And I had these huge side...

not a mullet, but- Mutton chops. Mutton chops, thank you. I had these huge mutton chops and long hair and I was a slave runner. Oh wow. And I got to use a whip. Oh wow. And I got to use bad words. And people hated me. Oh wow. And I loved it. Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, you get to pour yourself into a role like that. There is something, you know. Oh yeah, absolutely. You know you're doing it right if people hate you off stage. And you know what? I still stay in touch with some of the people that I worked with there.

As a matter of fact, one of them, he's the costumer for Blue Bloods up in New York. Oh wow. Yeah. That's really cool. I know, I think he was in your class, Casey Johnson. Casey, yes. Yeah, Casey went on to New York and did some acting and did some touring and stuff like that as well. But. I'm not sure if you've ever heard of Casey Johnson. He's a very famous actor.

but from snow camp, it just kind of, was it a bad experience there with the low pay that you're like, yeah, I gotta do something better than this? It wasn't, I mean, I graduated, I graduated USC Yakin in 95, and after snow camp, I came back, finished classes, went back to work at RXR, and I kinda had a, this was one of those, hey, which fork of the road do you go? I had the opportunity to go to graduate school in Virginia.

for theater. And it was going to be taken care of. Thanks. But radio was filling up my wallet at the time. And I really enjoyed that. And so I took the road more traveled, I guess, is that way, and stayed in radio. And there are times when I look back on it, there's no regrets. Right.

Never any regrets, but you know kind of like oh what could have bitten yeah, because if I had done that I probably would have never met my wife. Yeah, I'd have never had my daughter or my son yeah You and I probably would have never met right right or we might have and it would have been completely different Different different circles. Yeah, that's yeah, but you know it's funny that RXR I think I was there in 8990 interning so so yeah, you were there before me. Yeah, because I

I think I was there before Chuck Williams, but it was intern. I think I was like 15, 16 in high school at Richmond Academy. There was some announcement about, hey, we're looking for interns at this thing. And I was surprised that nobody else went to go be part of the radio session, because I was one of those kids that like, oh, you've got a good voice, you've got a good voice. She used to do radio, she's getting out of her voice. And I'm like, okay, well, I guess I'll try it. And it's one of those things when you get in there,

and you feel like you're at a home that you didn't know that you needed. Exactly. With these just weirdos that are just amazing, carrying people off the air when the mic comes on, they're completely different people. So there's something psychotic about that, I appreciate it. I remember the very first time those elevator doors opened on the 14th floor, which was really the 13th floor, but you don't have a 13th floor in a building. That's right, right. But those elevator doors opened.

And I was going in to do the first Saturday overnight gig. And Dangerous Dave was in the studio. Dangerous Dave looked like Jerry Garcia from 1982. He had the Magnum P.I. Hawaiian shirt. He had the parents sticking out of his sleeve. And you opened up the studio door and it smelled atrocious. Yeah, yeah. Little skink, little skunky. Yeah, yeah. Little skunky, let's just call it that. Yeah.

Well, you know, the thing is, is radio stations have a smell, period. Oh, that's true. Even new. It's weirdest thing. There's that mystery stain on the carpet. There's mystery stain in the corner. There's the smell of burnt coffee from a break room where it's just cooked all day. A faint smell of cigarette smell somewhere, even though it's a brand new building. You know, it's a no smoking building, but there's a faint smell of cigarette smell somewhere wafting in. 96RXR Studio, 14 floors up, and you could literally open the windows.

anybody could have fallen out. So, fun fact, that's how I got my first radio name. When I was interning, I would sit in with the midday guy and I would sit in the window with my feet out the window there over Broad Street and so I became Rob Overstreet. Oh Jesus. So that was my first like radio name. All right, I did not know that until now. Yeah. I am today old. Yeah, today years old. Yeah, but.

For me one of the most traumatic memories I have from that is Tony Powers actually was the morning show is Tony and Anita man with the morning I need Anita man. Yeah and there was a for somebody thought I forgot who the promotions person was thought a great idea because somewhere up in New England there was a Rhode Island red rooster that had attacked a child and they were gonna put down this rooster because it attacked a child

Well, he thought it'd be great if we bought the rooster and brought it to Augusta as the mascot for the morning show. So, so I remember running the board and the chicken, the rooster is sitting in this oddly enough, a wife savers box top, you know, like one of the crate tops that they give you your order sitting there with newspaper in it.

on the other side of the plexi board where all of the copy is and everything like that. And we had just got a couple of Denon CD players, all the commercials are on tracks and we still are queuing records. And it's sitting there and I'm running the board for the remote because they're out live and the chicken just looks at me and he keeps staring at me. And at some point, I don't know what it was. Maybe I looked away, a broke eye contact and he thought, this is my chance.

and he jumped on the back of that plexi and it fell over and it just turned everything off. And I've now jumped, yeah, yeah, and I'm back at the window like, holy, what is going on? And we've got silence, and that's the worst thing you get every is silence on the air. Dead air. Yeah. See, people will never understand what live radio was like. Oh, yeah, being attacked by chickens at like seven in the morning, it's so good, so good. And of course, like the sales people are coming in, it's like, what's going on, what's going on?

chicken is attacking me. It's like, well, you gotta put something on the air. So I'm like trying to, it's like scooch past. At that point you're putting Frampton on, the long songs, Skittered or Manford Man or something, Meat Loaf. Yeah, just put it on, I don't care, get me out of here, get the chicken. So yeah, that's my traumatic 96 arcs are memory. I remember calling Jeff Sanders, I saw the ad in the paper and it was weekend overnights.

and I always wanted to try it and I was scared to death. I remember I had an orange in my hand while I was calling him. I couldn't even tell you why I was gonna eat an orange. And I didn't call him Jeff, I called him Steve Sanders. Oh no. Which was not the way to start this conversation. I don't even know why I did that, but they still hired me. You know, it just, you and I, we were in it, like, right when radio was at its peak,

That was 1994, 1995, and then it just kinda started going downhill. Started going downhill. You still had the kind of mom and pop stations, you still had the local companies, and then it got very conglomerate. Very corporate. Yeah, that was Jeff Wilkes at the time, I believe. Wilkes. Wilkes broadcast. I think I went through four or five different companies in the same station. It was Wilkes, SFX, back to Wilkes, Cumulus.

to Clear Channel and Clear Channel became my heart. All in one station. Yeah, well one frequency. Yeah, you've worked somewhere that that frequency has been. You've worked at a cluster with that frequency because that frequency ended up becoming Kiss 96. Now, you know, a friend. From RXR to X to Kiss, I was the guy that was doing the.

Production and making all the imaging when they flipped 96x to to kiss remember we all got called in that Easter Yeah, yeah, hey congratulations. You know what today is mm-hmm your last day. That's it. Yeah Wow Wow, it was that was bittersweet. Yeah, and then then that's did they move Fats and share immediately from power over to kiss when they flipped to kiss Oh, is it a few I can't remember what that transition. I think they did I think they did cuz

There were so many other people that were there too. Deanna Brown was there. Iceman was there. Michael St. John. Michael St. John, yeah. Selena. Yep, Selena. So, yep. But good time. And that's the thing, it's like, and John said this on a previous episode, it's the people you remember. Really is. It really, really is.

You mentioned Chuck earlier. Chuck's one of my best friends, Chuck Williams. And we get together, we see each other at least once a month.

you know, Dale, Dale Thomas. Yeah, one of my best friends. Yeah, exactly. That's family. Yeah, absolutely. And that's radio family. Yeah. And it never won't be that. Even John Patrick. Yeah, even though he won't tell you that. He likes you, you know. Yeah, exactly. But he'll never tell you though. Although he said the very sweet things on his Facebook post about being on this program, so which I thought was amazing.

But yes, radio family, it's deep, and I think it's because of those situations that you're in that nobody else would understand really, outside of that industry. And being able to, yes, you may go to a different station, but that relationship never breaks. I may not want you to win ratings because we're competing or whatever, but I still want you to win at life. You know? And you know what this...

That actually brings up a great point. Chuck left and went to Wilmington for a while and then he came back and they created 95 Rock. So I was program director of Eagle at the time. Chuck comes back, creates the station. We're literally head to head competitors, but we're also really good friends. Neither of our bosses wanted us to get together.

And we literally would have to hide. No lie, we would go down to Joe's Underground, we would sneak in the back booth, and we'd both have a beer and commiserate with each other. Bitching and moaning. Stupid, ridiculous. Yeah, but that's because I think the relationship that the people that are doing the work, the people that are in production, programming, the ones that are making the product.

they have a completely different viewpoint of that compared to the salespeople and the ownership and the management folks. They don't get it. They're looking at spreadsheets and dollar signs and things like that. And we're looking at community and empathy and relationship because that's how you do get ratings is you build a relationship. How many times you were at Beasley?

I was at Clear Channel or I Heart. How many times would we be in front of the James Brown arena? You got two separate stations set up. You and I walk back and forth to each other and give each other a hug or a handshake. Who the hell cares? You know, we're all in the same boat. Exactly. It's ridiculous.

But it's, like I said, those kind of trials by fire out in front of the JBA is, you know, that's what builds those bonds of friendship. So, golly. Do you have a favorite story, or a favorite something that really... Favorite radio story? Favorite radio story, whether it be just something that just struck you as terribly funny, or... Well, since we're talking about...

the JBA when it was, I think it was the Civic Center at the time. Yeah, it was WWE, WWF, wrestling was at the Civic Center. And we got a chance, I'm doing a live broadcast out and Jimmy Hart came out and was able to interview him. Now you see Jimmy on TV, he's just spastic, you know, he's, woo, and all that stuff. I'm on the mic.

And here comes Jimmy Hart and he's just very casually, very just slowly casually walking towards me going, hey, how are you? No, no, no, no, I'm Jimmy. I'm James, James Hart. And soon as I handed him the mic, and I had never seen somebody transform so quickly, suddenly James turned into Jimmy. And he set his piece, handed the mic back to me, he went, all right, thanks, I'll see you later. Walked away.

And I was speechless on live radio, going, I have no idea what to say, I can't follow that. But not only that day, Montana Taylor was our midday jock. We had had this set up, and I don't even know how they agreed to do this. She was gonna fight Jimmy in the ring. Oh, goodness. And she had her Native American.

She had an outfit on, she had moccasins, and that was her character. And we got to go backstage. And by the way, ladies and gentlemen, I hate to tell you this, it's fake. Let's not call it fake, let's call it staged. You can cut that if you need to. Let's call it staged. You can bleep that out if you need to do that. There's a button over there, I'm sure. Right next to the cough button. So we're backstage, we're figuring this out. I'm playing the manager, Montana's manager, and we're working out the moves

with Jimmy and he's gonna put Montana in a headlock. Well, I'm gonna sneak out, I'm gonna slide under the bottom rope and I'm gonna have a folding chair. So it's the wrestling. And I'm gonna beat Jimmy with the folding chair. So we had to figure this out and we had to do it piece by piece and make sure everything was good. And Jimmy was like, okay, you hit me.

this part of the back with this part of the chair, you can hit me as hard as you want, it's not gonna hurt. And we did it a couple of times. And I'm like, okay, this is gonna be fun. Thousands of people in the arena. Montana gets out there and she's fighting and I'm running around the ring like the manager going, yay! And we get to the point. He's got her in the headlock.

It's my moment to shine. I'm gonna beat the shit out of Jimmy Hart. And I slide under the roof and I grab the chair and I rear back with it and I lightly tap him on my back. What? And I'm like, I can't do it, I can't do it. And the place is just erupting. And so nobody can hear us in the ring and Jimmy's like, hit me. I'm like, what?

Hit me. So I'm like, okay. And I wallop him in the wrong spot of the back with the wrong part of the chair. I damn near broke his back. All I hear is slam. Ooh. Boom. And Montana turns him over. You get the three count. Pins him. She wins. We sneak out. He literally.

hobbles back stage. Oh my God. And I'm back stage and I'm like, Jimmy, I am so sorry. He's like, no, it's okay. And thus ends your wrestling career. And scene. Yeah, this ends your wrestling career. That's probably, oh, and then there was that time we almost killed Dale with a live bull. Yes. We did the bull poker. Yeah. Never do that, never do bull poker. Yeah. You know, there were, you know. This was before insurance. Yeah, I was gonna say, is I remember when we were,

when I was on Y105, I think we buried Michelle Mitchell alive. Or it was either we buried her alive or put her in a block of ice. It may have been the ice. I think it was ice, because I think Chuck was buried alive. That's right. Chuck was buried alive in front of Mercedes of the Tents of Augustus. That's right, that's right. Holy shit. And we put Michelle in a block of ice. Yeah, and you know what?

We were glad to do it. This is why we can't have nice things anymore, ladies and gentlemen. Why you don't see these things in radio anymore is because we broke those things. Yeah. Oh my God. Yeah, you know, but like I said, no, we didn't care because it was fun and it was entertaining and it was like dumb as balls. Stupid. Yeah, real stupid, but gosh, those were some good times. And that's what I'm saying, that shared experience.

You can't explain that to somebody else. Were the ratings really worth it? Right. No. Well, I mean, it's like Dale and I dressing up in drag when Martha Burke was here. Martha Burke. You know, and we're out at her rally, you know. You don't see that anymore. No, no, you just don't. You know, it's, it was a different time in Radio. It was a different time, it was a different place. It was a different place. We were different people.

Some of us survived and got out. Yes, slightly different people. So yeah, speaking of surviving and getting out, so what are you doing now? We both were kind of victims of some rearranging and we were kind of, I know I was forced out from a reduction in force. Yeah, you know, the riff, because I had started back in radio in September of seven, came back to Eagle, you were there. Yeah, I was doing marketing. Marketing and digital.

I think I did mid days on cue at that time. And you were a victim of that riff in 2008 when the recession hit. And I remember. 3,500 of us in that day, by the way. Yeah, yeah. I remember the new GM and our operations manager walked into my office and said, you're going to take Rob's job. And I said, where's Rob? And Rob's not here anymore.

I'm like, well, I don't know a thing about what he was doing. What if I say no? And they said, well, you'll have three weeks' separates. And I said, when do I start? So that was not a good thing. And then, of course, I was a victim of the RIF in January of 2020, along with 2,000 other people. Yeah, yeah, right before the world's about to shut down. I was in lockdown before a lockdown happened.

And that was a gut punch. I mean, nobody saw that coming. And I tell everybody when we talk about this, the local staff had nothing to do with this. This was a corporate thing from way up on high. Ivy Elam is probably one of the best journal managers I've ever worked with. Love her to death. I need to call her soon, say hi. Cher, Fats, everybody there. I mean, she was visibly.

Shaken. Yeah, I mean she was crying like stupid crying tears. Yeah when they had to tell me about April letting you go. Yeah Yeah, so then I had the next four months off yeah, you know trying to find something yeah The the reaction online was humbling. I mean, I I appreciate everybody that was reaching out to me There were a couple of job offers and I kind of wanted to stay here right in the area. You know

That's the thing about radio a lot of times is to stay in it you have to move all over the country. You have to kind of go where the work is. And it's hard to stay where you've put down roots since you were born. And you know, there's one end of the spectrum. You're very nomadic or you find a dream job here. We can't all be Dickie Shannon and Mark Summers and things like that.

But yeah, you and I, for instance, you and I were both fortunate. We were able to stay in it for as long as we did. Yeah, yeah. So the world has shut down. You've been pushed out of, what was your career for a long while? Yeah. What are you doing now? I mean, you're something here, you've been at WRDW for about a year now? I started, yeah, I started in May of 2020.

Oh wow, okay, so I didn't know it was just the four months? It was four months, but I tell you, I mean I had the severance package, which was nice. But, you know, we had to bring Ali back from New York in March, and it was me and Heidi and Ali, and God bless them, they had to deal with me during that time, because I was in that case. I seriously probably stayed drunk most of those four months, because I had no idea what to do.

But yeah, I started working at RDW in May of 2020 as creative services director. And then right after Labor Day this past year, they said, hey, we're going to do a morning show, and we want you to co-host. I had no idea this was coming. Yeah. It was a shock to me. Scared to death about it. And now we've been on air now for about four weeks.

Yeah, because you guys started as kind of a streaming, we started Facebook livey kind of thing. We did, we started in late January of this year and it was online and streaming. So even though we've done like 15 shows live, it's actually like our 75th show. And Zaina, my co-host, love her to death. We have, I think, a good chemistry together. She's half my age, so there's that generation gap.

that I love to play with. Yeah. So we have a lot of fun with that. And what time is that on? It's weekdays on 12 on Channel 12 from 9 to 10. 9 to 10. Matter of fact, our very first negative review was, where's Drew Barrymore? Because we moved the Drew Barrymore show to NBC at noon. Wow. Well, maybe you should put on like a blonde wig or something like that, just a piece. I have an ET mask. Oh.

That's close. Would that help? That's close. Okay. Firestarter, you could just use that as your theme song or something like that. Oh, that's great. That's great. And I've seen the show. You seem very comfortable with it. I think probably the transition from radio to television, it's probably easier, I would think, than people if they ever had to transition from television to radio, because we're used to being in a room talking to ourselves. And now you're just in a room talking to cameras.

but it's great having a co-host that you can bounce things off of. So that's the conversation. Absolutely.

Sound egotistical when I say this. I've done radio almost 30 years now. I'm used to it. When I first started, I was fine talking to the public. I was fine standing on the stage in front of 5,000, 6,000 people introducing Leonard Skinnerd. I'd be shaking in my boots if I had to read a piece of paper in front of 10 or 12 people. That difference. So.

Yeah, after 30 years or so, it's a lot easier to just be on, just do it, have a conversation. Yeah, absolutely. You know, it's, and people still, there are still people out there that think, you know, you introduced me as Cliff Bennett. My Facebook page, you know, people know my real name. I'm Cliff Bennett, and I'm a fan of your videos. I'm a fan of your videos.

Right. You know, for the longest time, if you were on the Georgia side of the Savannah River, I'm Cliff Bennett. If you're on the Carolina side of the Savannah River, it's Cliff Dykes. Right. And people still call Heidi, Heidi Bennett. Right, yeah. So is, so on the show, cause truthfully I don't remember looking at the Chiron, I don't remember, are you Cliff Bennett or are you Cliff Dykes? It's Bennett.

It's Bennett because most people know me as Bennett. And that was my radio name. We started in radio at the time where you had a different DJ name because there was this thing called the phone book that was out. You don't want them calling you. You don't want them saying, hey, you didn't play my song. I know where you live now. Exactly. So you had a different radio name. That's what I picked. Yeah. And it stuck. I think it's one of those things that also it just.

Definitely the privacy, I think, is the overarching why. Sometimes things just roll off the tongue easier. But I do notice that in reporting and news, you almost never see, you know, Noam de Bloem's for anchors or reporters. I love, I know it's not your station, but Sean Cabbage-Stalk.

one of the greatest names I've ever heard. I know he's over at Six, he's one of the reporters. But I'm like, that is one of the best names. It's memorable. Exactly, exactly. You know, but, well, and the only reason I introduced you is Cliff Bennett's, because that's the way you signed the waiver. So, I mean, you know, I guess, does that mean it's not valid then? Because, I mean, you know. Let's see how the rest of this conversation goes. I'll let you know.

So anything coming up anytime soon is I'd like some time off. Yeah. Yeah Tell me how do you know I will be 50 this fall. Okay, so me too. We are the same age I turn 50 in September and Then you're older than me. I am older than slightly but I tell you what I Didn't think it would but it's starting to like really weigh on my mind. Yeah

We're 50. Yeah. It's 50 years old. Mm-hmm. Have you done everything you wanted to do before 50? Yeah. I don't know. I'm getting the AARP emails and calls now. Yeah. It's, and I don't mind those now either. Right, right. I'll take the discounts. Thank you very much. Yeah. But, you know, it's, seriously, have I done everything I wanted to do by this time? No.

I've done stuff I like to do. But you go back and you go, all right, if I wasn't me, would I be proud of the person in front of me? Yeah, sort of. Well, I mean, you know, I tell everybody, it's never too late, you know what I mean? Like I said earlier, it's all on how you...

Spinger 24 and what's important, you know, and you know, if you, if you've got a passion project and something that you want to do, I know you, you're an amazing guitar player, you know, if that's something to pick up the guitar that you, we have this thing now. And it's like, you can play guitar, you could play it for yourself, obviously, but with the invention of like Instagram and, and reels and Tik TOK and things like that, if you wanted to pick up your guitar and play something and just put it out into the world.

to say that, hey, here's another part of me, here's another side of me. If you wanted to do a monologue, you know, and just record it and put it out of the way, you know, you don't have to wait on somebody else. You don't have to get all of this expensive equipment to do this stuff anymore. You know, there's so much stuff that you can do with your phone. The camera on your phone, the microphones on your phone. There's just so much stuff you can do there. And, I mean, I used to play all the time, and I don't. I used to say to everybody,

Once Ali started playing, my daughter Alice, I mean, and she's just, she's skyrocketed now, doing so much, it just kind of sucked all the talent out of me and she took it, you know? But that was actually one of my New Year's resolutions was to pick up the guitar and start noodling around again. And I'm getting back to it. I don't have nearly the chops that I used to have, but if you'd ask my old drummer, Andy Farley, he's contacted me once a week going, we gotta get the band back together.

put the band back together. And we're talking about Red Headed Stepchild. Red Headed Stepchild, yeah. And one day we might. I gotta get John Colbeck, my bass player. We were the oddest trio. Oddest band you never heard. We get the reunion, we'll probably bring it back down to Joe's Underground and play to nobody. I doubt you'll play to nobody, for sure. But yeah, that's probably gonna happen before my 50th, I think.

Good. You should do that. I'm gonna go spend a week at the beach and Enjoy number 50. Take an acoustic with you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's awesome. So we'll see. And you spoke of Ally. I am a huge fan of Ally. And I told her when she was on the show, and I say that she will 100% be a Broadway star. And I mean she will be a star because she has the talent.

And she has the drive and the passion to do it. But also she has the heart. And she has this empathetic, loving heart about the craft and what she does and what she puts into it. Do you guys go, of course now that things are open up, do you guys go see her perform or anything like that? Well, we try to get up whenever we can. Heidi gets to go up north more often than I do. She's available to do that.

I will say this and it's probably the only thing I'll say, but Allie, we, how to put this, she's up there because everything you just said, she's got the drive, she has the talent, she has the ability and we see that, her mother and I. And we.

did everything we possibly could to make this happen. And she's on her own up there now. And she's 22 and she's doing it. And you know, it's, she's a working actress. She's doing whatever job she can to keep it going. She's got a good roommate, she's got a nice place. She's just off of Broadway, just happens to be 30 minutes away from Broadway. But very proud of her.

Very proud of her. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, you did good, Cliff. I mean, and I hope you feel that. I completely screwed up and you've got the kids. I spent way too much time at work when she was little. Didn't pay him as much attention. And...

We'll always, you know, you always work on that. So, but yeah, I'm absolutely proud of her and everything that she's done.

Alright Cliff, this is the second segment of the show where we dive a little bit deeper into you, talking more about mental health. Everybody has down days or days of anxiety or right out depression. Everybody kind of deals with them differently. But one of the things that depression always tells you is that you're alone. You're the only one that feels that way. But that is a lie. You're not alone. Everybody has those days of darkness. How do you keep the darkness at bay?

Medication, no. That's fine. No, and actually, no, I'm half joke. I got to a point, and it was a conversation between the wife and I, where I got to a point where I was not happy. It had nothing to do with her. It had nothing to do with the house. I just, and I think a lot of people have gotten this. You can blame so many things on it, but.

I got to a point where I just did not feel right. And I did not, I abhorred the idea of taking a pill to make me feel better. And then I finally realized, it's worth a try. And went to my doctor and talked about it. I take a medication down and it kinda evens me out. It's not one pill makes you larger, one pill makes you smaller or anything like that.

But yeah, and a lot of that had to do with January 2020, after being let go. Because I was just in shock. I was like, well, I had done, I've done all this, all the work that I had done. And the years that you put in. And by the way, yeah, and it wasn't just me. There was 2000 other people that got sacked that day or later that week. And then of course, COVID hits.

You've got demonstrations going on, you've got deaths left and right to you. You know, it takes its toll after a while. But then you have to turn around, you have to look at what you have. And what you have is quite a bit, you know? So you have to weigh it back and forth. And I'm always so thankful with what I have, and sometimes I have to remind myself to take a look.

and see that. You know, and kind of evens it out. Yeah, it's easy to get busy with kind of the minutiae of life and all of that, you know, technical stuff. Very much so. And you're so, you know, it's very much, you can't see the forest for the trees because you're so close and you're so focused on this other thing. Sometimes you have to step back and take that, you know, 100 yard view of.

What you actually have and what's going on and I think everybody does that you get so Tunnel vision. Yeah. Yeah, you don't like you said you don't see the forest for the trees. That's probably and I Stay so busy. I Pro I need to pull back a little bit. I need to take a little time and do some theater need to play some music Need to have some me time. Yeah Yes, the self-care is not selfish exactly

And I think there's a stigma and people think that. They think if I take time for myself, I'm just being selfish and he's like, no. How dare you, sir. Yeah, how dare you. Good day. Yeah, but being able to take care of yourself, you have to be there for yourself to be able to be there for other people in your life. Right. You have to be able to be reset and be the best version of yourself so that because your family deserves that, your friends deserve.

the best you, you deserve the best you. And you know what, if you don't feel like you're delivering, that just puts you farther down the rabbit hole, you know? Mm-hmm. Which is why you have to be self-forgiving.

Mm-hmm. You know, I have I have a wonderful wife I can't tell you how many times we want to kill each other. I said this on our I said this a while back on Her birthday, we don't like each other We love each other, right, but we don't like each other, right? Yeah, and that's in she and I are both fine with that Yeah, we know exactly where we stand with each other and we've done that now for 24 years Yeah, so but that's important though. You like said those those

Knowing those boundaries, you know, as much as you don't like each other, I guarantee you, you both are there for each other and you have each other's back. Try to separate us. Yeah, I dare you. Yeah. Yeah. That's not gonna happen. Yeah. And I think that support system is very important, whether it's a spouse, a close friend, somebody that you can know has your back. Right.

to be able to have those conversations with, when stuff's not right, when you're not right, either they recognize it before you do, and so they can bring that to your attention, or that when you recognize it and you tell them, hey, something's not right. And I've had to do that before. I've gone to her and I'm like, hey, watch out for me. Just, if I don't seem right, tell me. Pull me off to the side and say, hey, you're not.

You're not you. You need to be you again. And she keeps me sane. She keeps me steady. That's the best way to put it. Absolutely. And I know that like when you had gone through being let go and the world shuts down, and you've got Ali and

she's up in a hot spot of all the COVID stuff and racial unrest and things like that. The whole George Floyd demonstrations were going on. There was rioting in the streets. Yeah, and it's like, how do I get you back? How do I handle all of this that's going on? And you know what we did, and bless her, she was on her own, her roommates had left.

But she had to be there by herself and her cat for a couple of weeks. And we ended up getting one of those transit vans, taking the back seats out. And it was a Smokey and the Banjo run. It was 13 hours up, three hours to pack, 13 hours back. And then she was back here for a year. And now she's back to, quote unquote, stay. But yeah, it was tough. And what was that like when it's like, okay, things are opening back up?

You know she's got to go back there because that's, because that's what you want for her. I got to imagine that's tough too. Coming out of everything. She is a, and I said, I wasn't going to talk a lot about, about her. I don't know if she'll appreciate it or not, but, um,

Like what we said before that's where she needs to be mm-hmm. She is Absolutely set for that could I live in New York hell no mm-hmm But that's where she needs to be and that's where she's gonna stay Yeah, you know that she's she's gonna follow that dream so the very end. Yeah, I mean, but I I know for a fact that You'll be there to see her win her first Tony Award

You know, you'll be in the audience, I'm sure. You'll be okay walking that red carpet. What's that old Bill Cosby joke? You know, you raise your son, you play football, you throw the ball with him all the time, and he gets through high school, he gets to college, and then he's winning the Super Bowl, and they put the camera in front of him, and he says, hi, mom. Yeah. That's what that is. And I'm fine with that, absolutely.

All right, Cliff, this is the third segment of the show. It's time now for the Fast Five, Fast Five. It's time now for the Fast Five, Fast Five. Has Mike Myers not called you yet about that? I don't know what you're talking about here. There's no end type of infringement or anything like that going on here. It's the Fast Five. It is powered by PodDex. It's an app created by my friend Travis Brown. Great conversation starters. It's built for podcasters, but.

You know, as radio people, we understand asking weird questions for prizes for 10th callers and things like that. These words you say, I know not what you mean. Yeah. I... But if you go to chewingthefatbr.com slash pod decks and use the promo code chew, you can get 10% off of your physical decks. Take it back around with you. Ask folks some weird questions. I'm actually very nervous about this. Everybody gets nervous about this.

I don't understand why. There's no wrong answers. There's no wrong answers. There's no wrong answers. So it's just first thing comes off the top of your head. Where's the delete button on this thing? There's no delete button on this. All right, so are you ready? As ready as you can be? All right, here we go. Hey, question number one.

It's a classic toilet paper over or under. Oh.

This is the question that actually people tell me there is a wrong answer to. Okay, here, all right, here's, I'm gonna just lay it out for everybody. This is, across the board, the correct way to answer this. If you don't have animals, over. If you have animals, under. Really? Think about it. Okay. Especially if you have cats. Really? It's gotta be under. Because? Because you will have toilet paper all over the bathroom if it's over, because that cat is just gonna go.

Okay, so you're saying it's easier to hide the flap if it's under? Under. Because it's not gonna hang out? Animals under, no animals over. Okay, all right, that's apparently. I think I said that right. That's the definitive answer apparently, you know. I don't have a clue. Question number two.

What did your 15 year old self imagine you'd be doing right now?

That's the question that you gave my daughter on the podcast. That's funny. What was the question again? I'm sorry. What did your 15 year old self imagine you'd be doing right now? God, my 15 year old self. Do you remember that guy? Yeah, he was fat, freckled, and buck-toothed. My 15 year old, you know what, probably being a DJ and acting.

I mean I was along that way. I had picked up the guitar back up at that time. So yeah, I was gonna be performing. Yeah, that's awesome. So a little bit of both. Yeah, question number three.

When is the last time you cried?

You know, I used to not say, you gotta be a manly man. I'll cry at the drop of a hat. And it's like the stupidest thing. I can't watch Mr. Holland's opus. The last scene. Yeah, when they play his opus. Mother of God. Richard Dreyfus just drives me out driveling. I'm the Clemth, you know. Last time I cried, I think I cried last Sunday. I saw something on TV and it literally just,

Cheer. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think your feelings are valid and there's a range of emotions. You need to experience all of them to have a full life. So I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'm serious. An episode of The Love Boat could probably make me cry. Wow, there's a throwback right there. The Love Boat. All right, question number four.

If someone made a movie about your life, who would play you? Danny Monteducci. Okay. No, I'm kidding. I always say this is kind of two-parter. Who would actually get the gig and who would you want to play you? If somebody was making a movie about me, direct to video. Streaming only. Netflix original. Only if my look changed. God, who would play me?

Well, I'm pretty cheap. I'd probably pay me. He's just like, can I audition for the role? What do you mean I'm not good enough? Who would play me?

I don't have an answer for that. I really don't know. We're gonna have to go with Danny Bommaducci. It's your first answer then, I guess. Tom Hanks, he plays everything else. That's... He's got the range. He's got, yeah, yeah, hey, whatever. He's got the range, that's awesome. Color his hair. All right, hey, question number five.

If peanut butter wasn't called peanut butter, what would it be called?

Who the hell comes up with these questions? Travis Brown, that's right. Okay, yes, thank you Travis. I need to talk to you later. If peanut butter wasn't called peanut butter. What would it be called? What would it be called?

Jelly's Other Half. I like that. That sounds kind of fancy. Yeah. I'd like some chunky Jelly's Other Half, please. Jelly's Other Half, please. Jelly's Other Half. I mean, who would? Actually, that sounds like a great jazz band name or something. Jelly's Other Half. Yeah.

That's good. Whoever came up with that bottle with the mixture of peanut butter and jelly, that's a damn genius. They deserve the Nobel Prize. Yes, I've had the jar, I've not seen the, yeah, I've seen the jar, the Goober's, where it has the, yeah, it's got the peanut butter and the jelly in there, that's delicious. You wanna start a fight in my house? I'll use the same knife in the peanut butter jar and then put it in the jelly jar. Oh, okay.

it's like a smack in the back of the head, the eyes that I get from my wife. And she doesn't even use the jelly, so I don't even know why we're arguing about it. Mm, mm, yeah, all right. But I like that jelly's on her half. All right, Cliff, that's your Fast Five, and that is the show. Thank you so much for being here. This was, it's a whirlwind. You know what, it's worth it to see you. I'll do this, but no, it's good to see you and talk with you again. Absolutely, and if folks want to keep up with you,

Cliff Dyches slash Bennett.

What's the easiest way for folks to do that? The jail report. Ha ha ha! No. Page six. You're the centerfold. Page six? Yeah. I'm just a bit higher up than that. You know what? I have two Facebook pages. You can find me at Cliff Dyches. You can find me at Cliff Bennett. And then of course the new show, Morning Mix, it's WRDW.com slash Morning Mix. And yeah, hopefully a lot of people will like it.

Absolutely. So please who thought I would be 50 years old on TV. Hey, not me. There you go But you put here yet. There you are mom would be proud. Yeah, absolutely I'm proud of you, man. It's so good to see you here and thank you so much for agreeing to be here This has been a blast. We're gonna have to hang out outside of the podcast More often is that the delete button under that is not the delete the shiny red button. Nope. Nope. That's the record button But again, thank you Cliff for being here, of course, you can find Cliff

links in the show notes and you can always check out the guest page at chewingthefatbr.com. If you would like to support this podcast, I'd appreciate it if you bought me a coffee at chewingthefatbr.com. But until next time, I look forward to the chance we have to sit a spell and chew the fat.

Cliff BennettProfile Photo

Cliff Bennett

Host, Morning Mix on WRDW

A lifelong resident of the CSRA, Cliff grew up in Aiken. Throughout his childhood to the present day, he has been very involved in the arts, specifically music & theatre, and has worked in area media for 30 years.
A nominee of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, Cliff graduated from USC-Aiken in 1995 with a double major in Theatre Arts and Broadcast Journalism, and was the first Fine Arts graduate from that school. While in school, he began his radio career at WRXR-FM (96RXR) in May of 1993, filling every position on-air until becoming Program Director with WEKL-FM (Eagle 102.3) in 1999, and later adding Program Director/Afternoons on WBBQ-FM in 2013. Cliff began working with WRDW-TV in May of 2020 as Creative Services Director, and is co-host of the new morning show "MORNING MIX".

From starting work with Wilkes Broadcasting, Beasley Broadcasting, iHeartMedia Augusta and now Gray Media, Cliff has been very active in the community; hosting numerous concerts and festivals, conducted hundreds of live broadcasts on radio and TV, performing onstage both theatrically and musically with his band “RedHeaded Stepchild”, plus 15 years supporting the Children's Hospital of Georgia as radio/TV host and 18 years performing in the annual week-long Aiken Women's Heart Board Event benefitting the American Heart Association.

Cliff resides in North Augusta with his wife of 24 years, Heidi. They have two children, Alice Rose and Christian.