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Chat with Paul Smith-update

Porn Valley- I spoke this week with Paul Smith who, together with his partner Mike, a former band manager, heads up Pervert Radio. I still say Smith sounds to me a lot like Don Imus, but he disputes that. According to Smith, Pervert Radio attempts to “walk the edge between being a little controversial and pissing the wrong people off.” Smith laughs when he says this.

“The one person I envy in this business is Dave Cummings,” comments Smith. “He’s probably the one and only person in this business that’s never pissed anyone off. Everybody loves Dave.” I tell Smith I’m tempted to write an article trashing Cummings. Just kidding. “Nobody would believe it,” Smith laughs. We agree that somehow Cummings has managed to fly under the industry radar. “He’s a good guy,” says Smith. “One of the few people in the business that I would consider a mentor.”

Smith does something similar to what KSEX does accept Pervert Radio airs two hours a night on a schedule that mandates your checking with the station’s schedule of shows, On a similar note, Smith interviews porn stars and web girls and glamour gals. “We’re a work in progress,” Smith explains. “We’re having fun. This is something we came up with a couple of years ago but never did anything with.”

The show, as of late, seems to veer almost exclusively into porn. But Smith is trying to get away from that. “We didn’t want to get into porn,” says Smith. “I’ve been in the porn business, so to speak. My definition of porn is, is a guy going to whack off to it? So it’s not our goal to bring whack-off material to the air per se as much as trying to get to know the person.” Aside from the obvious, Smith also tries to do things apart from the interviews which include news segments and politics to stir up some shit. “We get people pissed off because we talk about how we’re going to vote for George Bush and people go fucking nuts over that.”

According to Smith, with his partner being a former band manager, there’s full access to a recording studio in his house. “We’ve got $50,000 worth of recording gear that we go through, and so we can produce a pretty decent sounding show, audio-wise. Talent-wise it’s always up for grabs.”

Joining Paul & Mike on their show are two area comediennes who alternate spots. “They’re very funny, educated, witty ladies.” This week debuted a woman named Suzanna. “She’s a little bit quiet,” said Smith. “Christine is the other one who’s very outspoken and also fun to have as a co-host.” From doing interviews once or twice a week, Smith says he shoots for interview segments every show. “People just like them.”

Guest-wise, Smith tries to bring diversity to the mix. “We had a rocket scientist out of California.” I inform Smith that the adult industry has a true one in porn performer Scott Styles. Smith was surprised to hear that.

Smith has also taken a direction into the Legends of Porn and began with an interview of Seka. “I think there’s a generation out there now that think porn is something you go to the video store for,” says Smith. “They don’t understand who it came from and how it came about. We’re going to have Bill Margold on and Vanessa Del Rio wants to come on. It presents some of the true legends who were there at the beginning. It adds a little historical value to what it is. As much as there’s a generation who doesn’t give a shit, there’s also a lot of guys in their late Thirties to Fifties who remember that shit.”

I asked Smith about his experience in the business. “My wife had a website, and I shot content for awhile. I shot video stuff for awhile primarily for her website,” he tells me. Smith’s wife eventually left the business. “She said she was tired of the bullshit and wanted to do other things. It was disappointing to me but I had to support her.”

Smith started up Pervert Radio about 2 1/2 years ago. “Mike and I and our wives were at dinner. Mike and I have been friend for a dozen years. There was a local radio station in Portland that had just gone through a complete format change. They were hiring and they were hiring deejays. In jest I said we should go on there and do a show called Perv & Ert. We thought it would be fun but neither of us had worked in the radio industry.” Smith said he’d occasionally revisit the idea but nothing came of it.

It was Mike’s suggestion to try it with an Internet format. “So we kicked off by having the Perv & Ert Show,” Smith recalls. “First we registered Perv and Ert dot com or something like that. We did that the first couple of weeks but a friend of ours who’s been a very successful radio personality in Portland for years sat us down. ‘ This is very cool, very anti-corporate he told us, but the Perv & Ert shit sucks. Nobody’s going to make a connection with two jerk offs named Perv & Ert.’ ”

It was suggested to keep it simple by calling it Paul & Mike. Let ’em know all the shit that’s going on in your lives, Smith was told- the counseling, the divorces, the tragedies. “That kind of opened up the doors and let people know Paul & Mike instead of these Muppet heads.”

With his attempts to build fan base and recognition, Smith was asked how he goes about booking guests and getting the word out. “We’re just getting to the point where we’re seeing what I call critical mass where almost daily I’m starting to get e-mails that say hey I heard about you from a friend,” Smith states. “But we’re still out there digging. I’ve got a young lady who acts as sort of our intern. She helps out and has spent a lot of time contacting people and laying the groundwork. People that we’ve interviewed have been very receptive and very good guests for the most part. On occasion we’ll have a shitty one. But that’s what makes it real.”

I had to ask Smith what makes for a shitty interview because I’ve been in the middle of a couple of those over the years.

“Somebody that doesn’t come across with any energy,” Smith ventures to day. “I try to pre-screen everybody we talk to. What I tell them is I don’t have a list of questions that I can send you to have a list of answers prepared. What we want to engage in is a conversation. If somebody’s a shitty conversationalist, then it’s going to be a shitty interview. It’s pretty simple.”


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