Radio show unites three Roswell talk personalities
Familiar voices of the region come together in the morning
Radio station W105 launched the morning show B and the Breakfast Club in January, featuring host Kevin Bonner, journalist Tom A. Ruiz and longtime radio personality Will Rooney.
Bonner and Ruiz previously worked together at KBIM 94.9 in Roswell for six years, and together they put the station at the top of ratings in southeastern New Mexico.
During his 40+ years in the industry, Bonner was hired to turn around struggling radio stations, and that’s exactly what KBIM was before taking it over under the Noalmark Broadcasting banner in 2008, a- he declared.
âI learned a lot of what I know about this business from my father who was himself a radio man,â Bonner said.
His performance made him a rising radio executive in markets such as Louisiana, his home state, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas and now in his second stint in New Mexico.
Bonner said his formula for success is simple, bringing together the best talent with each piece fitting like a puzzle.
âI hope they have the same vision to be successful,â he said. “After all, if you’re broken down, there’s only one way to go, and it’s all right.”
This is what happened in Roswell.
âI was in Big Spring, Texas when I got a call from Kevin,â Ruiz said. âHe was the former regional manager of our broadcast company. At the time, I was the play by play announcer for the Howard College basketball team, we were scheduled to watch a game against New Mexico. Military Institute (NMMI) in Roswell and we both agreed to meet.
Bonner presented the station plan and the role of Ruiz has served as a morning show co-host, reporter, and sports presenter for NMMI and the Goddard Rockets.
âI was so nervous and excited at the same time,â Ruiz said. “Nervous, because I’ve never been on a morning show and excited to keep doing what I do best, doing news and sports.”
In just over a year, KBIM went from ratings slump to number one and stayed there for the next six years. Bonner did his research and found that the market lacked a format that conveyed the views of a conservative audience. He also changed the format of music from classic hits to top 40 country.
âWe would start our show with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, and turn on the phone lines,â Bonner said. âAnd the phones rang and rang and rang. Our audience wanted to talk and we let them do it.
The same formula is used at W105, he said.
Ruiz said he had perfected his role as “Tom A.” the stupid diva.
âI have been playing this role on W105 to this day,â he said.
He left Roswell Station in March 2014, but returned as a midday announcer.
But things were changing with the parent company, and Ruiz learned from a friend working at KWES at the time that a press position was open at Ruidoso. He was hired by station manager Juanita Jones.
In the meantime, Bonner left KBIM a few months later. For the next three years, Bonner and Ruiz did not see each other, but kept in touch. Then came the call for Bonner to offer him the post of Managing Director of MTD Radio.
His first hire was Will Rooney.
âI actually called him,â Rooney said. “I heard he was hired at MTD, and to have the opportunity to work with a game changer like Kevin, I wanted to be there.”
Rooney was hired as a sales manager, and just as importantly, MTD needed a tech guru and Rooney fit the bill, Bonner said. He brought 25 years of experience to the table.
âMan can build a radio station from the bottom up, it’s a track record that impressed Bonner,â Ruiz said.
Rooney would become the third man in the pit. Ruiz was still with KWES in the middle of the Ruidoso Warriors’ football season.
âKevin made me the offer to put the morning show together,â Ruiz said. “I was already on cloud nine with the Warriors winning state and then the opportunity arose to do the show with Kevin and Will, it was like the icing on the cake.”
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When the next round of radio hearings is released, W105 and other MTD stations hope to be # 1 in their respective markets, Bonner said.
Last year at the New Mexico Broadcast Awards, W105 won the Morning Show of the Year with Rooney, Bonner and Ruiz. Russ Black, the midday announcer, took home the DJ of the year award, and Ruiz took home the newscast of the year. Its award will be on the shelf with several wins in 2010, including Station of the Year.
âIt takes everyone on the MTD radio team to make it happen, from sales to engineers to data entry,â Bonner said. âI am proud to work with these professionals.
âWe cannot rest on our laurels, which is why we continue to encourage our listeners to stay with us,â Rooney said.
MTD stations hold contests to win car trips, cruises and cash. The station also featured a text line, where listeners can text their thoughts to 877-396-W105.
B and the Breakfast Club can be heard from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday to Friday on W105.1 FM and 99.1 FM in Ruidoso, also streaming on MTDradio.com.
MTD radio company operates radio stations KRUI 1490, KIDX 101.5, KNMB 96.7 The Mix, KTUM 107.1 The Blaze in Lovington and W105.1.
Journalist Dianne Stallings can be contacted at [email protected]