This week in Nashville, I spoke with radio personality, Ty Bentli of The Ty Bentli Show. Ty has been a strong supporter of independent artists, and recently his show is being broadcast on the UK’s first nationwide country music station, Country Hits UK. Tune in 5-8pm Monday-Friday on your drive home!
Q: How did you first get into radio?
My induction to radio is totally credited to my best friend’s dad when I was in high school. Reid Holsen was THE radio guy in my hometown of Sioux Falls, SD. He got Ben and I jobs at his building, and I was the less-talented in the pair (Ben is hilarious and has a booming voice like his dad). Ben pretty quickly became the weekday evening DJ on the local rock station…I was the guy that pushed a button to start commercials during baseball games on an AM station. My big claim to fame at 17 years old was that I did get to crack the mic at 6am Sunday mornings and read five minutes of news off the AP ‘wire’ – basically I printed out stories from the Associated Press, tried to sound cool…and no one heard me.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your job?
The reason I love radio, is because I believe it can impact people’s lives in an incredibly cool and positive (and sometimes life-changing) way. On the simplest level, I get to be a friend to someone who may feel a little lonely. When I was a kid, I slept WAY down in the basement and was kinda nervous to be two stories away from my parents and sisters at night…so I listened to 101.9 KTWB, and hearing the DJ made me feel like there was someone alert and out there in the world..
On a grander scale…I have been able to create fundraisers and campaigns that bring thousands of people together to raise diapers (Radley’s Diaper Drive last year raised over 200k diapers for families in need), Thank You cards for deployed military members (we have received over 300,000 in the first two years), presents for military families at the holidays, clothes for women and children in shelters, money for Children’s hospitals, and so many other important causes that could be affected because of the opportunity this job allows me. I can push a button, and if I do it right, I can express the importance of a cause, or the love of giving back…and people join in to help each other! It’s awesome.
Q: You’ve had a busy year this year, merging from your previous show Ty, Kelly, & Chuck to your own Ty Bentli Show, stationed in Nashville. How has that transition been for you?
We are all really excited about the things that have happened since 2019 started! The name change on the show is kinda the smallest piece of that – it was more strategy than ego, because we were seeing that the audience and guests didn’t know who to look to for guidance on what was happening during our talk breaks…there is so much fun, energy and chaos that sometimes they needed a quick-reference to know what was going on! The management of the behind-the-scenes hasn’t changed as much, but now the listeners know that Ty is the voice to help them navigate what’s happening.
The addition of TJ to our show has brought our conversations on-air to the next level. Additions to our production staff has taken each morning to a more efficient execution of the day-to-day stuff and allowed us to get more and more creative as the year progresses, because we have time to prioritize brainstorming, team-building, etc.
Q: We recently received word that your show is going to be featured on the UK’s first nationwide country music station, Country Hits UK. What would you like to say to your new base of listeners?
I have said this about a million times in the last month, but this is literally a dream come true. I used to travel to Europe with a transistor radio and a notepad…and I’d sit for HOURS taking notes on radio broadcasts I listened to on these trips. I loved dissecting why things were done the way they were, and silently dreamed about possibly getting to do a broadcast overseas some day… But it was such a quiet dream that it was almost just ‘a thought’ – i never really thought it would happen. Then my agent got a call from one of the smartest companies in media…and they were interested in bringing our show AND country music to the UK! So cool!! We get to spotlight artists that are touring abroad, and share in all of the culture and excitement of the country lifestyle from Music City, USA. The bonus is that I now have been making friends overseas and can’t wait until I get to bring some of my favorite artists over to play Bentli Bash in the UK!!!
Q: Have you ever been to the UK, and if so, how was your experience there? Favorite part?
I’ve been to the UK a couple of times – the standout being that Corri and I spent a week in London during our honeymoon! It just so happened to coincide with the birth of Princess Charlotte (I’ve been watching game of thrones and can’t remember if that’s her real title, or if she’s a duchess or Khalisi or on the Night’s Watch…Princess, right?) I still have the newspapers that we got for the birth announcement. I had literally been running through the park and past Kensigington Palace when I heard the news!
**also, I bought my first 3-piece suit on that trip and I still am amazed by the hidden dressing rooms in the Boss store…they’re behind mirrors!
Q: Because Belles & Gals puts an emphasis on female artists and songwriters in country music, what are some challenges you think women in the music industry are facing today, and what are some ways we can overcome?
I have spent the last six months having meetings with as many people as possible in the high ranks of country music to understand the roadblocks that are there. It really is a hard thing to peg, but it seems to be several levels of obstacles.
I think that labels need to focus their sites on the standout female artists that are on many of their rosters and make sure they don’t put too many artists in front of them, from a priority standpoint.
Radio needs to step out of the formula it sometimes falls into and sidestep politics now and then to take a chance on these stars that belong on playlists just as much as the male artists that seem to keep getting a shot.
Fans need to step up and discover the insanely talented generation of female artists and songwriters that are out there now – and then they need to buy albums, post on socials, buy tickets to shows, and request songs on the radio!!
The music discovery aspect is an enormous part of things for me…which is why I stepped in and began a house-band series on my show. We bring in artists that deserve attention and whose music will quickly win them new fans if we just get it in front of the audience, and they play in and out of commercial breaks for a week on the show. We also utilize socials to post daily video conversations so that fans and listeners get to know the artist better, and this all leads to a one-on-one conversation on-air with the artist, along with playing their song on the show!
This is called our “Undeniable Artists of 2019” series and I am making a strong point to focus on the women in this industry who deserve to be heard! The list of artists that we have already had on and are scheduled to air soon includes Kassi Ashton, Ashley McBryde, Caylee Hammack, Maddie & Tae and Abby Anderson. I literally wanted to BOLD ITALICIZE and !!!!!! after each of their names, I just think these people are so talented! We’ve heard so much feedback after airing their performances and interviews and I can’t wait to see the list of fans for these artists grow!
Q: Your wife Corri Lee is also in music, as a talented songwriter. I also know you both had your second baby recently! How do you juggle career and family? Do your kids carry that entertainment industry gene?
My wife is so talented that there is no way to even describe it. She is next-level amazing at everything she does and that especially includes songwriting (and singing). What I should have suspected was how incredible she’d be as a mom – she’s literally the COOLEST, smartest, most-caring mom on earth. She is stern when needed, but sweet and amazing with our 5-year-old (Radley – who is definitely musically inclined) and our 8-month-old (Bash – who sings constantly, but is a baby, so who knows?).
Corri is the secret to my ability to function. She’s the best partner, smartest advisor and I’ve never trusted or loved a person more.
Q: Most embarrassing radio moment?
I literally can’t say it in written form (partly cuz it might land me a fine, and partly cuz my mom might read this…and mostly cuz type can’t do it justice – but come ask me in person and I’ll tell you the story).
Q: Coolest person you’ve met through your work?
This is a tough one…but you should know I met Corri through my work – we both became involved with MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) through music and met at MDA summer camp before doing the annual telethon..
Q: Favorite song currently on the charts?
My head just exploded.
Interview conducted by Melanie Meriney