R.A.P. Clubs are notorious for placing ad orders at 4pm to start the next day. How are you able to turn out the quality of spot you do in situations like this?
Dennis: What works best for me is to create some kind of generic spot for the club and to tag it. So if on Thursday at 4 o'clock they change the drink special for Friday, it's just a matter of me typing up the new information and doing a live tag.

R.A.P. You won a Clio in 1984. Tell us about that.
Dennis: The spots than won the Clio were 3 commercials I did for Dr. Charles Ross (a local dentist). The Clio was for best local campaign. The spots were based on voice impressions that I do. The first one was with the actor Jeffrey Holder, who's known for the Seven-Up commercials. The second one used Edith and Archie Bunker. The third one was a Star Trek parody where Spock has a toothache.

After I won the Clio, I remember standing in the elevator with Dick and Bert; they were holding their Clio, I was holding mine, and for one brief shining moment we were equals, which was pretty intense for my 24 year old mind.

R.A.P. You were up against not other radio stations, but major adver¬tising agencies, right?
Dennis: Right. And I'll tell you something else, and I don't know if this will be to my detriment or not, but after I won the Clio in '84, I won the International Radio Festival in '85, again with a Dr. Ross spot based on "The Honeymooners." That was a thrill because this award was an international award. I also gave a lecture at that particular show to advertisers around
the world. After I gave the lecture, which was called, "Radio Production as Theatre of the Mind," I got all these business cards from all over the world; but I found over the years that I don't like putting my stuff into competition any more. I don't like having my stuff judged on a first listening basis by a bunch of people, sitting in a room with pens and paper, listening to 50 commercials. It's not an ideal judging situation. I haven't sub-mitted anything to any awards ceremony since 1986 because I'm a much happier person knowing that I feel good about what I'm doing, rather than worrying about what other people think.

R.A.P. You must have received several phone calls and job offers from ad agencies during this time.
Dennis: I have been interviewed by many ad agencies in New York. I don't like the atmosphere. To me it's not conducive to good creativity to feel that your job is on the line with every job that you do. You have people wearing suits and ties standing over you who have probably no idea about creativity. They just rely on their creative people, and they're passing judgment on you.

One of the most disturbing things to me was finding out that the copywriters in ad agencies are the low men on the totem pole. They're the scum. They're the most expendable; You screw up, you don't do a good job, you're out on your ass. What happened to the guy that did the Herb campaign for Burger King? He's probably working at a Burger King now. I can't work under those conditions. I can't work under that kind of pressure.

R.A.P. What about career advancement?
Dennis: I'm not hell bent on becoming a very rich man. I want to feel that my work is appreciated by the people I'm doing it for, that I myself love what I'm doing, and that I'm making a good enough living to have the things that I want and be happy. That's probably why I stay at WBAB and probably why I'll never leave here. I'll probably never open my own production company because then you get into that competition with all the other production companies. You see, at BAB, the clients come to me. BAB is like a billboard for my work. I get agencies and production companies calling me up and saying, "Are you the guy that did this? Are you the guy that created that? We want to do something with you." It's a cozy situation because I can charge anywhere from 200 to 300 dollars for my work, and I have no overhead. I don't pay for telephones, or a studio, or studio time. It works as long as it doesn't affect my job at the radio station, and it never has.

(WBAB) is also conducive to good creativity. You cannot create in a hostile environment. You can't create in an environment where you feel you are as good as the last thing you've done. Here, I can say that I'm appreciated. I'm almost loved by the people that I work with. They'll pat me on the back. They'll say they appreciate me and that I'm doing great. A creative person needs that kind of support.

R.A.P. How long have you been with WBAB?
Dennis: I've been here 10 years. I started with BAB when I was 19.

R.A.P. How did you land the gig at WBAB?
Dennis: I've been involved in acting, stand up comedy, and things like that since I was about 15 years old. I found out that I could do impressions and just started doing them all the time. I was managing at a Taco Bell, and one night a traveling manager came in. When he came up and introduced himself, I imitated Columbo and said, "I'm sorry sir, I never met you before. This is really embarrassing, I don't really know who you are...Pardon me if I sound blunt, but you've got sour cream on your shirt!" The guy thought it was hysterical and said, "My wife owns an ad agency. You ought to give her a call." So I went down to the ad agency and put on a show for them, doing all these imitations and stuff. They hired me to do a series of commercials for them, and the place where the commercials were recorded was WBAB. So I walked in to BAB with the owner of the ad agency, and she said to the Vice President of the station, who still is Tony Michaels, "One day this kid's gonna be working for you." I'll never forget that she said that, and it turned out to be true.

I worked for the ad agency for awhile, then went to work part-time at WBAB. After awhile I went to do part of a morning team show at WPBH in Poughkeepsie. It got to a point where I wasn't happy there any more, so I left. I caught wind that Brian Battles, the Production Director at BAB at the time, was leaving; so they hired me, and I've been here ever since.