We had the good fortune of connecting with Len Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Len, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
It wasn’t really about starting a business. Rather, sharing an experience with others regarding a love of music – in particular, “old school” music (70’s and 80’s R&B). I’ve done many different formats on air during my tenure, so to have the ability to play music that appeals to my actual demographic is the ultimate benefit. The potential to turn what I love into a business venture is icing on the cake for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I host a show is called Gnarly Grooves on Gnarly 101.3 FM in Colorado Springs. It’s a 3 hour radio show where I get to play “The Very Best of 80’s R&B”. I love the fact that I have creative freedom within the time frame and an incredibly diverse music library. There’s no set playlist, so every week is like painting on a blank canvas, and the challenge is to make every show better than the previous show. It’s a challenge that I look forward to every Sunday. One of the many lessons I’ve learned from radio is to appreciate the platform you have and remain humble. In 2011, I had it all – sports radio show, good friends, even fame (having my voice being recognized and being thrusted into various sports debates at the local drinking establishments counted as fame for me). Then one day, I had a meeting with my boss. 5 minutes later, I was fired. I lost everything (apartment, car, sense of self-worth, etc.) and ended up in a spare bedroom of a friend’s house with my wife. Fast-forward to 2019 – a much better time! My wife and I have our own house, great jobs, stable income, and enjoying life without a single thought about coming back to radio. All of the sudden….a phone call… “Can you do 80’s R&B?….” Funny how life works. To be honest, I’m just happy to have another shot at doing what I love. Second chances don’t come around a lot in this industry, so I’m truly grateful. Furthermore, I’m playing music that I actually listen to in my free time. Makes the job that much more fun! What do I want the world to know about Gnarly Grooves? I’ll put it this way….. It’s an all inclusive and interactive radio show that brings back the days where you could call the radio station, request a song, and the DJ ACTUALLY PLAYED IT! These are songs you heard on the weekends when mom had you helping her clean the house. Admit it – you HATED cleaning, but you LOVED the songs. So, I’ll make you a deal: I’ll play the songs. No cleaning necessary! The WAYBACK MACHINE is ready every Sunday from 3pm-6pm. Jump in! Let’s go for a ride!!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Colorado Springs is “Olympic City USA”, so you have to visit the Olympic Museum or tour the US Olympic Training Center. Fitness buffs can always try their luck on the Manitou Springs Incline or walk through Garden of the God’s Park. My wife and I don’t go out as much as we used to (age and grandkids will do that to a person), but every now and then, we’ll go to Frankie’s Bar and Grill on a Friday for great wings and trivia night or Rhinos Sports and Spirits to have a few drinks and dance.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
None of this is possible without 2 people. Paul Scheidler – Gnarly 101.3 FM. He started the station in 2019 with the thought of bringing 80’s music back to the forefront. He gave me the freedoms to continue to build Gnarly Grooves into the show that it is today.. I’m grateful for the opportunity he gave me to bring Gnarly Grooves to the airwaves in my own vision Huge shout out goes to my wife, Rhonda. Radio has not been kind to her as I bounced from company to company, and eventually, being bounced out of the industry altogether. She never wavered, constantly reminding me to trust the process and that the right situation will present itself to return to radio. Rhonda believed in me at times when I did believe in myself. Rhonda is and will always be my #1 fan.