Kevin Woodman is the radio professional's worst nightmare.
The path into the radio business generally involves some level of schooling, followed by stints in smaller markets, and the hope that a program director might pick your audio clip over hundreds of others when one of the business' rare live on-air positions makes itself available in a more-desirable location.
Woodman's path? It began when he was asked to occasionally call a radio show.
That show was In the House on KCUB AM 1290, the weekday afternoon sports program then hosted by Woodman's longtime friend Glenn Parker and Dean Greenberg. When Greenberg left the program, and successor Laurence Scott landed a job in San Francisco, Parker pushed for Woodman—a radio novice with no legitimate experience in the field—to occupy the vacated co-hosting slot.
"Glenn called one day and asked if I wanted to do the radio. I said OK. I got off work at 3 o'clock, so it worked out well," Woodman recalled. "I did the show for about a week, and (Citadel Tucson general manager Ken Kowalcek) asked me if I wanted to do the show, and Glenn said, 'Yeah, that would be great.' I did the show for a year and didn't get paid. It was fun. It was easy. I was helping Glenn out, and at the time, I think they were still trying to find someone, but it worked out pretty well, and so we stuck with it."
Woodman isn't the radio professional's worst nightmare because he's a novice. He's the professional's worst nightmare because he's a natural.
"I never grew up wanting to be in radio," said Woodman, who has taken classes and worked odd jobs, some of which are software-related. "Even the very first day, I wasn't nervous. It didn't occur to me. Even now I don't think of myself as being on the radio. I'm just talking," Woodman said. "Maybe I should be more conscious that I'm on the radio, but the fact that I didn't grow up wanting to be on the radio makes it this way. It never occurred to me you could make a living doing this. You can't make much of a living, but all of that never occurred to me that I'd want to be or could be on the radio."
It's also the latest endeavor in a long line of partnerships by Parker and Woodman, friends since they met on a football field in junior high.
"Glenn had his giant 'fro and glasses. He was thin as a rail," Woodman said. "I was fat as a house, with my Dutch-boy haircut and long surfer blond hair. We've been friends ever since."
That friendship carried through Parker's lengthy NFL career as an offensive lineman.
"I was in his wedding and lived with him in Buffalo," Woodman said. "I didn't come out here because of Glenn. I was actually going to go to Bend, Ore. I had rented a house, but came out here to visit and cavort, and I met a guy at a party who was looking to hire someone. I liked Tucson, and it sort of happened."
And he had the opportunity to team with Parker again, on the radio.
"It's fantastic. It's easy; it's fun; it's no-stress. It serves some sort of purpose in today's world where there's so much serious nonsense," said Woodman, who co-hosts the station's 3 p.m. hour with program director Rob Lantz. Lantz and Woodman then team up with Parker from 4 to 6 p.m. "I turn the radio on, because it makes me focus on something other than the bullshit that's going on in the world, or in your life. You can talk about the designated-hitter rule. It's fun. I thank God every day I have this gig. I come in early; I prepare well. It's the greatest gig ever. I'm amazed certain people piss and moan about it. We're not curing cancer."
Woodman, however, did have to cure something else: a weight issue that was spiraling out of control.
"I went to the doctor, and they put me on the scale, but they only had a scale that went up to 400 pounds, so they had to announce over the intercom system in the doctor's office that they needed the industrial scale. My chest was really pumped up with pride that day," Woodman said. "In addition to the industrial scale, you have to be on all these medications. The sad thing is, I was working out all the time. When I joined SWAT Fitness, I worked out there for two years and gained 60 pounds. I have them to thank. They stuck with me when I was getting bigger. I don't even want to think about what would have been without them."
On July 23, 2010, Woodman weighed 439 pounds. By July 23, 2011, he was 237 pounds.
"I just snapped," Woodman said. "I was going to move to California. I had no desire to fight. My first reaction was to go back to where it's safe (and) live with my mom. I'll try to lose the weight then."
But Woodman stuck through it, and the results speak for themselves.
"I was tired of saying I had some bullshit excuse, like my back. I was just tired of talking about it," Woodman said. "It's horrible to talk about not doing it, or worse, you're doing it and actually going backward.
"It's remarkable. I don't recognize myself. I don't know who I am when it comes to food anymore. I don't eat for sport. ... If you told me a year ago this is how I would be in regards to food and lifestyle, I would have said, 'No, that's not going to happen. I'm not going to be that guy. I eat when I'm hungry.'
"I fast on Sunday and Monday, and have no problem doing it. Sunday was my day where I would say, 'Monday, I'm going to start,' so I would eat everything in sight. 'Monday morning, I'm on it.' Now I don't eat on Sundays and Mondays. The first month was an absolute bitch. I was mean and nasty, and couldn't sleep. I hated life. Now I'm going to do this for the rest of my life."
Obligatory disclaimer: I also work at KCUB AM 1290 on pregame and postgame broadcasts for UA football and men's basketball.