20 Questions With… Phil Cowan

You may know him as simply “Phil”, of Y92.5’s morning show “The Paul and Phil Show”. Phil Cowan and Paul Robins are the longest-running radio show in the Sacramento area, where you can hear them every weekday morning from 5:30 – 8:30 AM. They have also hosted a successful program “The Answer Guys” on the Discovery Channel, as well as a not-so-popular late night show on FOX in 1987, which lasted 4 weeks! They both have a long career in the media, however since Phil lives in Folsom, we decided to give him a spin on… 20 Questions (Sorry, Paul!). 

1. First things first… how did you get in to radio?
By sheer chance. Paul Robins (my current radio partner), Paul Kinney (a local writer and producer) and I had a three-man stage act and were trying to earn a living any way we could, as long as it involved trying to be funny. Robins had done some stand-up, Kinney had worked as a jock in Santa Rosa, and I was… well, I was their big, goofy friend they dragged along for reasons unknown. One of the things we managed to do was write and produce some radio commercials for money, and the GM at KPOP-FM had seen us at Laugh’s Unlimited, had heard the commercials, and asked us if we wanted to try morning radio. It had never occurred to me to go into radio, it just sort of happened. That was 1984, and except for a couple of diversions into television, one of which was really quite infamous, it’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

2. Any other DJ’s you look up to or admire?
Not too many, really. Jose Reynoso and Armando Botillo, who have been on the air here a lot longer than we have, are great guys and genuine professionals. And I’ve always been a fan of Don Bleu in San Francisco.

3. Who’s the worst driver? Paul or Phil?
Phil, hands down. Paul drives a hot sports car that he’s taken to drive at a track and all that stuff, he’s into driving. I’m… easily distracted.

4. What’s your opinion of Folsom today as compared to when you moved here?
My family moved to Folsom ten years ago, and even with the turbo growth and all the headaches that accompany it, we still consider it a good move. It’s been a great place to raise kids, and although some day down the road I’ll need to retire to someplace less crowded, right now I’m quite content here.



5. What do you feel is Folsom’s best kept secret?
The Gold Miner Cafe.

6. What do you do when you’re not doing the Paul & Phil Show?
The same kind of stuff any guy with a house and four kids does, mostly. I do read a lot.

7. How has the radio industry changed since you started?
When we started out, there were still strict federal regulations regarding station ownership, so that no single company could own more than a very limited number of total stations, something like ten or twelve, and only one AM & one FM in any one market. Now we work for a company (Clear Channel) that owns 1,200 stations, and that’s just in the U.S. They also own stations in Latin America, Australia, and who knows where else. Very few stations in a market the size of Sacramento are owned by local business interests, and it was the local element that made broadcasting fun and different. Local broadcasters approached their role in the community differently than do the multi-nationals now running the business. Now it’s all about corporate revenue production, and a lot of the fun and glamour is missing, but it’s not like I can complain. I still get to do this for a living, instead of actually working. Like with a hammer or something.

8. Where do you see yourself in 10, 20 years?
Long retired from radio, living in the foothills. Or maybe Australia. Or both, as if I were expecting to retire well.

9. Do you have any hobbies?
I’m not a real hobby kind of guy. I like to travel, particularly by automobile, and I enjoy dinking around with those new-fangled digital photographs.

10. When do you get up in the mornings?
Four A.M. Never have gotten used to it, either.

11. What is your guilty pleasure?
Professional wrestling. It still cracks me up on occasion. The bad melodrama. The bad acting. Very entertaining stuff. I was also once highly entertained in Texas at a show that featured high-diving mules, and for the big finale a mule jumped in from about twenty feet up with a little monkey on his back. I suppose I should feel guilty about that.

12. What bugs you about Folsom (other than traffic)?
That it’s built on top of a big rockpile. Digging holes in one’s yard is no fun here.

13. Where do you go (out of town) when you want to get away?
After never going to Hawaii until I was in my forties, my family is headed back there for the third time next year, and a drive through the Southwest is always a treat for me, probably my favorite scenery.

14. What is in your CD player right now?
Believe it or not, the Irish hip-hop trio House of Pain. It was either that or the new Cake album.

15. At what point does Christmas music become irritating to you?
Usually the moment we start playing it at the station, because we always start w-a-a-a-y too early.



16. If you could open up a store in Folsom, what would you sell?
Fabric. This town needs a fabric store.

17. Biggest regret in life?
That I didn’t take school more seriously. I might actually have been capable of doing something worthwhile.

18. What is your proudest achievement in life?
Remaining happily married for the last 21+ years.

19. Favorite Kings player?
Doug Christie. He plays a scrappy, yet very dignified game, if that makes any sense. And he popped Rick Fox. How can you not love that?

20. What is your favorite website (other than MyFolsom.com ;-)?
http://www.thepaulandphilshow.com, of course.

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