Larry Wachs resurrecting the Regular Guys with a new cast

040305 - ATLANTA, GA -- Larry Wachs (cq- bald in grey) and Eric Von Haessler (cq -brown shirt)have been at the helm of 96ROCK for five-plus years and are consistently the top-ranked morning show for men 25-54. With the FCC on the rampage on indecency, we explore why the Regular Guys succeed, skirting the edge but rarely skating over the edge of impropiety. Larry is pictured joking to Eric about the DUI recording they are listening to. (Becky Stein/Special)

Larry Wachs in 2004 when he worked at 96rock with Eric Von Haessler as part of the original Regular Guys. (Becky Stein/Special)

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, August 29, 2016

Larry Wachs, who has been off the FM dial since late 2014, said last year that he had put the Regular Guys behind him, that it was dead and buried.

“It was a legendary show for 20 years,” Wachs said at the time. “And it’s time to move forward and do new things.”

But in 2016, he has changed his mind. He has decided to resurrect the name Regular Guys with only Wachs an original member.

He told All Access last week that the show will not be based on politics but focus more on sports and pop culture. (Sports talk has become more commercially viable in recent years over political talk.)

His agent John McConnell said he continues to fish for opportunities nationwide. “I have fingers crossed for him,” he said. “Something will happen soon enough. He’s not sitting around waiting for it to happen.”  (I saw Wachs schmoozing a couple weeks ago at Morning Show Boot Camp, which happened in Atlanta.)

Wachs, who has been doing his own podcast he dubs a “modcast” while he’s been off terrestrial radio, is seeking cast members “with a track record of performance who are funny, likable, curious, and modern.” If you feel you have the right stuff, email him your material at wachsmodcast@gmail.com.

He said since he sent out that missive via social media and All Access (which is read by radio professionals), he has already received dozens of inquiries from both old-school radio and the burgeoning podcast world and is about to test a couple of promising candidates. He thinks he only needs two other people to make the 2016 version of the Regular Guys work.

“The Regular Guys is a nationally known over a huge period of years,” Wachs said. “There’s no reason to think it won’t be successful again. I’m the originator and I’m at the helm.” (He always owned the name.)

Wachs said he has been refining his style on his modcast to be more personal with greater storytelling. He believes podcasts need to be more polished, not off-the-cuff live like traditional talk radio. “Audiences crave context,” he said.

At the same time, he plans to design his new Regular Guys show with minimal politics, which he sees as too divisive. Getting into that muck, he said, didn’t help the most recent iteration.

He has used this time off to study the business, to prepare himself for a combo digital and traditional AM/FM existence. “I’ve had a blast making all these discoveries,” he said, “making good decisions based on the information at hand, adjusting and adapting. If you don’t adapt and insist on doing things the old way, you won’t succeed.”

He and Eric Von Haessler originated the Regular Guys in the late 1990s in Los Angeles taking a bit of the Howard Stern formula, then moved the show to Atlanta at 96rock, where they had their greatest success in ratings. After a segment mocking the Janet Jackson Super Bowl controversy went awry, they were let go. They did come back for a couple more years on 96rock, then Wachs got in trouble again over recording a sister station Hispanic morning duo gabbing in the bathroom.

Rock 1005 then picked the show up in 2008 and had some success. “Southside” Steve Rickman and Tim Andrews became official full-time cast members of The Regular Guys” at that point. But the atmosphere soured over time. In 2013, an increasingly disgruntled Von Haessler was cut. Fifteen months later, Wachs followed.

Andrews left last November. Rickman is the lone survivor of the Regular Guys at Rock 100.5 co-hosting with Wachs’ replacement Jason Bailey. Andrews is currently working with Von Haessler at News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB on his Sunday show and his podcasts.

Although Wachs is not exactly buds with his former castmates, Andrews, Rickman and Von Haessler in separate texts all wished him the best.

In case you may not have known, Wachs and I go back more than 31 years. He was the very first person I ever interviewed – for a 10th grade English assignment in spring of 1985 – when Wachs was a night jock at top 40 station WBLI on Long Island using the name Larry Addams. (You can read my speech here.)

Wachs subbed for a week on NewsRadio 106.7 for Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson but was not able to parlay that into a gig there.


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