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U92 pitches reality show

Published February 15, 2008 12:00 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The people behind KUUU-FM, best-known as the hip-hop station U92, are now the stars of their own reality show, which they hope will be picked up eventually by a network like VH1 or MTV.

The success of reality shows often hinges on oddities, and U92 just might qualify. It's a successful hip-hop station in conservative white Utah, playing music by predominantly black artists.

Part of the show, says music director and afternoon deejay Kevin Cruise, will focus on how U92 breaks new music in an unlikely place.

"This show will not only be entertaining, but illustrate the dynamic between an innovative hip-hop radio station and the conservative city it's based in," he said.

A trailer for the series, available on YouTube and on the station's Web site, was created by Cruise and a friend of his, former "Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" reality star T.J. Bates, a Summit County resident. Local videographer Chris Rognan helps edit and film.

Bates and Rognan normally handle the cameras and have filmed more than 800 hours of footage.

The nearly four-minute trailer provides a sample of what the show might include: an in-studio visit from legendary Public Enemy frontman Chuck D and a tense on-air interview with rapper Gucci Mane, who had earlier canceled a meet-and-greet at the last minute.

Besides showcasing artists who normally aren't invited to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Bates said the show will feature a common element of any well-watched reality show: co-workers under intense stress.

"There's so much drama," Cruise said. "We're a close-knit family, and we fight like a family."

The trailer features some of that staff infighting, like station promotion director Sergio Flacco complaining to the camera, "Kevin came down here, trying to get in my face!"

The cameras were rolling last week when up-and-coming rapper Dolla visited. Ant Rich, A&R manager at Jive Records, was with him.

"This is a great idea to do a reality show," Rich said. "There are a million reality shows out there, but none about radio."

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* DAVID BURGER can be reached at dburger@sltrib.com or 801-257-8620. Send comments to livingeditor@sltrib.com.