By Craig Michaels
While recently talking with radio personality Clarence Barnes about his long and illustrious career, it was hard for me to keep track of the numerous radio stations he has worked at over the years. Currently he is the afternoon drive personality and program director of U 92.7 FM in addition to filling the mid-day slot on Crush 103.9, both of which are part of the Desert Radio Group. Clarence admits he has been blessed to get paid for doing what he loves. A much grounded individual, Clarence doesn’t mind if people laugh with him or at him, “I love to make people laugh and have a good time and if it’s at my expense, so be it!”
In 1986 Clarence was attending Cape Code Community College where he got his first taste of radio on the college station WKKL. Eager to get into the business Clarence also took an intern position at a cross town adult radio station WCID where he would write news for the morning show before class. Like most people in the business, he got his first paying gig by being at the right place at the right time. Clarence recalls, “My big break came when the station owner came into the station while the afternoon host was smoking in the studio while on air. The Station owner and the afternoon drive person exchanged about three minutes of four letter words before the afternoon drive person looked at the owner and pointed to the control board and said, your song has three minutes left – F-you and have a nice day! The owner looked at me (I just happened to be there that afternoon by total chance) and said ‘you have headphones?’ That was my first day of paid radio.”
Looking to supplement his income Clarence began working as a bouncer at a night club in Cape Cod. It didn’t take him long to figure out that the DJ was making a lot more money and he did have to get into brawls at work. The owner of the club, Johnny Wright, taught Clarence how to be a club jock. Clarence and Johnny spent the next few years hosting weddings and every other type of event you can think of. While Johnny would eventually go on to work with boy bands such as New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, Clarence got his next big break while working at a club in Boston Called Celebration. Clarence was playing a song by a group he had found as an import named Milli Vanilli when an executive from Arista Records approached him and asked if he wanted to work with Clive Davis to promote an album project by the duo. This opened the door for him to work as the nation Director of Promotions for labels such as, Elektra, Chrysalis, and MCA records.
After a stint at Z100 in New York (it doesn’t get much bigger than that) Clarence found himself working on air at KIIS 102.7 in Los Angeles, CA. It was here Clarence would work with Famed DJ Rick Dees and would become the Executive Producer of the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown. Clarence would come out to the desert and spend a week at the La Quinta Resort producing the Rick Dees show (I presume during the Bob Hope Classic which Dees was a regular player in) and made contacts at the Desert Radio Group in Palm Springs. Clarence began making trips back to the desert and started consulting for the Desert Radio Group part time. After having traveled to every state at least once, Clarence decided to make the Coachella Valley home after being offered a full time position at DRG.
With a busy schedule that has him hosting events in LA and voicing shows for stations in San Francisco, Clarence knows his most important job is acting as the Program director at U 92.7 FM. Clarence was brought in to fine tune image and the programing for the DRG’s hit music station. His philosophy is to connect with the people in the community by getting involved instead of being just being a big IPod player. You can find the U Crew out broadcasting live at many local events in the Valley giving their audience a chance to meet the people behind the microphone.
Clarence is happy hosting his show on U 92.7 for now but says, “the sky is the limit.” He also has some previous news reporting experience and would like to find a way to get back into TV in addition to his radio duties. If you would like to contact Clarence you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By: Craig Michaels
Musical Affair Entertainment