“Island Time” Trop Rock Radio Show Wins TRMA Award
“Island Time” is the longest running Trop Rock radio show, celebrating 15 years on the air this month. Just the name conjures up all the ideas of the perfect beach lifestyle, which is exactly what Dennis King’s AKA “DK the DJ” radio show is all about.
Dennis’ talent, creative direction and dedication were recognized at this year’s annual Trop Rock Music Association Awards held in Key West, FL, winning Trop Rock Radio Show of the Year!
DJ’ing and Trop Rock music are life long passions for Dennis, thinking of the idea for an all beach theme radio format even back in his high school days. Majoring in Communications in college, he thought he would begin his career in radio, but soon realized he would need to spend years moving amongst the small markets before landing a more permanent home. And who knew where that might be?
Instead, Dennis opted to begin his career on the technical side of the TV industry, where he’s been now for almost 30 years. He still followed his music passion with a side business as a mobile DJ, bringing music to parties, weddings and a steady gig at his favorite bar for well over a decade.
Then Dennis’ long-time dream hit reality at WBWC 88.3 FM in Cleveland, OH. A local university radio station at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, OH agreed to let Dennis have his own show (focused on whatever he wanted) if he would first do 6 months Modern Rock, the radio show’s format. He readily agreed and after a few other short lived “specialty shows” and a couple 18 hour Beach Boys radio marathons later, Dennis launched his dedicated three-hour weekly Trop Rock music show “The Island Time Radio Show” in January 2000. In the beginning, Dennis took the only time slot available, 1- 3 AM on Sunday nights. The station broadcast at only 400 watts. This would later boost to 4,000 watts and the internet stream.
“Island Time” has evolved over the years. In the beginning, mostly focused on the big names of the beach style, such as Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley and the Beach Boys with a few smatterings of independent artists of the same style. “Trop Rock existed, but it didn’t have a name yet” Dennis recalls. “There were a handful of known artists, like Hugo Duarte, Sunny Jim, Jim Morris and Mark Mulligan.”
Dennis saw the genre grow with new technologies. Internet Radio brought a boost to independent music and the “Island Time” show. “We discovered each other. The fans and the musicians.” By 2006, Dennis thought, “We’ve really got something here.” Then Facebook changed everything. “The musicians, Parrot Head Clubs, radio stations and fans really began to connect.”
Along the way, Amo Bennett became a big fan of the show and in 2009 Dennis brought him onboard. “Amo was already interacting and communicating during the show almost every week, bringing him into the studio would add another great element to the show.”
What is the best thing about hosting a Trop Rock radio show? “Just getting to meet so many of the musicians, local and national” said Dennis. He remembers his very first musician interview was with Hugo Duarte. Hugo called in from Hogs Breath in Key West and a year later came to town and recorded an hour interview/performance session with the whole band at a friend’s makeshift studio. These days “Island Time” is open to any Trop Rock acts who may come through town. Over the years, Howard Livingston, Peter Mayer, Rob Mehl, the Calypso Nuts, the Whaleshark, Dani Hoy, Kevin Johnston & more have all made in studio appearances.
For the future? Dennis plans on attending as many events as possible, might add a few remote shows to the mix, keep the “Island Time” show going strong, and focus on staying healthy in the new year.
Every Monday night you can catch this award winning Trop Rock radio show from 10pm to 1am EST on WBWC.com or on the Tune in app. The show encores on four other stations during the week. Listen in for a weekly artist interview, news about upcoming events, local updates from the Put in Bay area, drink recipes, a sprinkling of Jimmy Buffett, maybe a Zac Brown song and Trop Rock music, of course.
He’s humbled by the recognition of the Trop Rock Music Association award. “Winning the award was pretty cool and having something to show for all this work is really awesome.”
Congratulations to Dennis and “Island Time” radio show for an outstanding year.
Saturday 7th of February 2015
Great stuff. I'm a 1000 miles away in Wisconsin and appreciate that I am not the only trop rock head in the world. I feel the calling!