By Mark Carpenter
Familiarity. For those people in Adams County who religiously turn their radios every morning to C103, the voices they hear have grown quite familiar. One of those voices belongs to Brad Rolfe, who has been part of the morning show at C103 for two decades now, recently celebrating his 20th year with the station and on the morning drive.
“I feel old, but I’m not,” says Rolfe, who now co-hosts the morning show with Rosie Young, making the team of “Brad and Rosie” perhaps the most recognizable radio duo since “Marty and Joe”. His first day at C103 was on April 10, 1998 and he remembers that day well.
“I was scared to death,” recalls Rolfe. “I started alone in the morning and then later teamed with Ted Foster in the old barn studio. You usually don’t start off mornings in a new place, but I did. We were using CD’s at the time, playing country music. I was on the farm pulling tobacco plants when I got the call that I had the job and a week later I was in the studio and I can remember it was right about the time that the Peebles girls basketball team was playing in the state tournament.”
“The first thing I read on the air was the weather and I didn’t blow anything up too badly as far as I can remember. I also did ‘Trash and Treasure’ on my first day, which is certainly a good way to break in.”
Growing up, Rolfe had aspirations to be in the broadcasting business and recalls a picture from his youth where he is sitting in front of his mother’s home stereo with his headphones on and a microphone in his hand.
“I either wanted to get in radio or be a pilot in the Air Force,” says Rolfe. “I almost went to the Air Force but when the recruiter told me it would be six or seven years until I even saw a jet, I threw that idea out. I went to school at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting in Cincinnati and interned at Channel 5 for six months, and it was so demanding, but I decided I had a face for radio. My radio internship was at WPAY Power Country in Portsmouth, where they put me on weekend overnights. Soon after this job opened and I have been here for 20 years on the morning show.”
Though it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, Rolfe was teamed for a few years with Penny Lewis, making it “Brad and Penny”, but 13 years ago Rosie Young came along and the team has been together entertaining morning listeners ever since.
“Brad is the easiest going person you will ever meet,” says Rolfe’s long-time morning partner. “He is so easy to work with and we have certainly had some adventures together, such as those ‘Scared Spitless’ tours every October. Even though I am a Republican and he is a Democrat, we’ve never really had any disagreements and I have heard some people say some awful things to him on and off the air, but never did he respond in a negative way.”
Rolfe also speaks glowingly of his morning comrade, who he says he is “stuck” with every morning from 6-10 a.m.
“Anyone can get along with Rosie,” he says. “Before we ever went on the air, we practiced for like three weeks with recordings that no one has ever heard, secret tapes out there somewhere. They decide to put us on the air together and if you can’t work with Rosie Young, you can’t work with anybody. She is a bubbly, fun-loving person and you never know what she is going to say which makes live radio great. If she says it. she lived it.”
Thirteen years together in one job obviously will lead to some memorable stories.
“We were on the air in a remote from Manchester during the Old Kinfolk Landing Days,” Rolfe recalls. “There was a bug in the air and it went right in Rosie’s mouth and she never missed a beat. When we went to break, she spit that bug out, drank some water, and went right on. One of the most interesting things we ever witnessed on the air was in a remote from Ripley when a plane crashed into the river behind us. I remember Rosie getting booted in the backside by a goat at the Adams County Fair a few years ago and the ‘Scared Spitless’ tour is always good for craziness. Rosie is just Rosie and the two of us are always connected, whenever I am out people are asking me where Rosie is. Everywhere we go, people just love her.”
“I can’t forget the time I got in trouble for making a comment on Valentine’s Day about flowers being a waste of money,” Rolfe continues. “I had to do an hour show the next day to appease the National Floral Association.”
Luckily, Rolfe claims that he hasn’t had too many embarrassing episodes on air, stating that he has never let a curse word slip out. “Probably the worst thing is when you burp on the air because it just happens so fast and you can’t stop it. We even got a call once where a woman wanted Rosie and I to autograph her backside and we don’t think it was a prank call. There is a station in South Dakota that calls other radio stations on their morning show and somehow they got our name. They called here acting all serious, telling us that we owed them all kinds of money and they got us good.”
“One local prank that got me good was on April Fool’s Day, I got a call from a Commissioners’ meeting saying that I owed them all this money in taxes and that my home was going to be seized. Finally, a couple of them busted out laughing and gave it away.”
With his job as a broadcaster, Rolfe has had the opportunity to interview a number of celebrity guests, still saying that his favorite interview was one he did along with this reporter at the 2017 Adams County Fair, talking to Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman. Besides Brennaman, Rolfe can rattle off names that he has had the opportunity to interview- Taylor Swift, Restless Heart, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Reba McIntire, Garth Brooks, Sammy Kershaw, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Little Texas, and many other 90’s country artists, an era he refers to as “the heyday of country music.”
Don Bowles is the President and GM of C103 and DreamCatcher Communications and the man who brought Brad Rolfe aboard two decades ago.
“Brad is an integral part of our company and without him the personality of our radio station would be completely different,” says Bowles. “We value him highly and in the radio business the morning show sets the tone for everything else at the station.”
“I have to thank Don and Venita Bowles for letting me have this opportunity 20 years ago and sticking with me,” says Rolfe, who also serves as President of the Southern Ohio Youth Baseball and Softball Leagues as well as father to two childen, Hayley and Tanner. “I will stay here as long as they will have me. I just want to be remembered as the guy people woke up with every morning, a funny guy, a great guy, and a good person.”