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Craig O'Neill
Broadcasting Legend

Randy Hankins was born in 1950, growing up in Warren, AR. Going by his stage name, Craig O'Neill has spent 50 years in the broadcast business, with the last 24 of those being at Little Rock, Arkansas’s THV11. O’Neill officially signed off for the last time as news anchor on December 29, 2023.

Before TV, Craig had a successful radio career on KKYK and then B98.5, where he was famous for his prank phone calls. Eventually, O'Neill made the transition from fun-loving radio personality to respected TV news anchor. Craig has since interviewed Presidents and music icon Dolly Parton alike. He has danced on the Ellen DeGeneres show, announced Razorback football games, emceed more than 9,000 charity events helping raise over $40 million dollars in Arkansas.

His passion project, and probably his retirement career, is reading to grade school children through AR Kids Read. Using his acting skills, infectious personality, and unforgettable voice he hopes to ignite some lifetime readers.

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Listen to Learn:

  • How O'Neill got his start as a radio personality
  • About the prank calls Craig pulled on Arkansas politicians
  • What the future of broadcasting looks like, and more...

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[00:00:08] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling, conversational interviews and Kerry's natural curiosity, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider's view into the commonalities of entrepreneurs, athletes, medical professionals, politicians and other successful people. All sharing their stories of success and the ups and downs of risk-taking. Connect with Kerry through her candid, funny, informative and always encouraging weekly blog. And now it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.


[00:00:41] KM: My guest today is the retired Arkansas broadcasting legend, Mr. Craig O'Neill. A.K.A. Randy Hankins. He cannot not talk. You can tell he's used to be on the radio.

[00:00:52] CO: I'm just enforcing and endorsing everything you say.

[00:00:56] KM: There you go. After 50 years in the business, with the last 24 of those being at Little Rock Arkansas's THV11, O'Neill officially signed off for the last time as a news anchor on December the 29th, 2023. Before that, he had a successful radio career on KKYK and then B98.5 where he was famous for his prank phone calls and interrupting the interviewer.

Having spent two decades as a fun-loving radio personality, many, including his wife, Jane, doubted his decision to move to TV. Would Craig be serious enough for the news hour? Doubters soon became believers. Starting as a sports reporter, he soon moved to the news desk. Craig has interviewed presidents and music icon Dolly Parton alike. He has danced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Announced Razorback football games. MC'd more than 9,000 charity events helping raise over $400 million in Arkansas.

[00:02:04] CO: Bam.

[00:02:05] KM: O'Neill got so many T-shirts from grateful Arkansas nonprofits that, in 1998, in true Craig O'Neill jokester style, he lined the Broadway Bridge from Little Rock to North Little Rock and then some with his T-shirt collection.

[00:02:18] CO: We stretched them. You are the only person who has ever mentioned that. Brilliant, Kerry. Go ahead. And she's only halfway through.

[00:02:28] KM: His passion – I'm two-thirds. His passion project and probably his retirement career is reading to grade school children through AR Kids Reads. Using his acting skills, infectious personality and unforgettable voice, he hopes to ignite some lifetime readers. He also works with Hearts & Hooves, an organization that teaches children and adults with disabilities to ride and handle horses at a time when we are all craving authenticity.

It is time to get real and welcome to the table Arkansas's authentic, legendary broadcaster Mr. Craig O'Neill.

[00:03:03] CO: Yes. I thought you told me there was going to be a studio audience.

[00:03:08] GM: Okay. That's the videographer over there. Yeah. There he is.

[00:03:12] KM: That's Jonathan.

[00:03:12] CO: Wow. We got one guy. Well, I'll take whatever I can get.

[00:03:16] KM: There you go. How does it feel to be on the other side of the table? I'm interviewing you.

[00:03:19] CO: Man, this is tough.

[00:03:21] KM: You are. Yeah. You can't shut up.

[00:03:22] CO: This is really tough. I know.

[00:03:23] GM: I can tell.

[00:03:24] CO: Well, the problem is you got the mic.

[00:03:27] KM: You got a mic.

[00:03:27] CO: The mic in front of me says, "Use me. Hey, big boy. Come on. Let's go. See what you got." And it's a strange mic. It's not one I'm used to. It's going to be even more demanding. Actually, I'm trying not to impress y'all. It's the mic in front of me.

[00:03:40] KM: Aha. It's calling your name.

[00:03:41] CO: How about that?

[00:03:44] KM: Boy, there's the legendary voice. Your brother is an announcer. Does he have that legendary voice?

[00:03:48] CO: My brother is in Montana where the high yesterday was -20 degrees.

[00:03:53] KM: I thought he worked in Hot Springs as an announcer?

[00:03:55] CO: He did. But he moved to Montana when he started writing hot checks. The checks were the hottest thing. Now it's the coldest thing. He's in Montana where the high was 20 below. Can you dig that?

[00:04:08] KM: Is he an announcer like you?

[00:04:10] CO: No. He's learning to play the violin and making friends in Montana.

[00:04:16] KM: He's older?

[00:04:17] CO: He's younger. He's a year younger and a lot better looking.

[00:04:21] KM: And he retired.

[00:04:22] CO: Yeah.

[00:04:22] KM: Why Montana? I know we're not about him. But why Montana?

[00:04:26] CO: Well, he chose Montana because it's got – it's rugged. It's picturesque. It's –

[00:04:32] KM: He's an outdoorsman.

[00:04:33] CO: No. He's not. So far, you've gotten four no's. But he's in Libby, Montana. And it's impossible for me to talk to him without going Libby, Libby, Libby. Under the table, table, table.

[00:04:48] KM: Like it, like it, like it. On the table, table, table. I bet.

[00:04:50] CO: And he hates it. He hates it when I do that. But I love it when you do it.

[00:04:54] KM: Thank you. Has it sunk in you're retired?

[00:04:56] CO: No. And I'm and I've heard from so many people that I've never been busier since I've been retired. And now I can understand why. Because your brain is starting to fill in all the blanks and all the spaces on your calendar going, "Here's what you need to do. Here's what you need to do. Here's what you – you need to respond to that phone call. You need to go do that podcast." Boom. The next thing you know, you're busy, busy, busy.

[00:05:18] KM: Is it home repairs?

[00:05:19] CO: No. Are you kidding?

[00:05:21] KM: Are you still volunteering everywhere?

[00:05:22] CO: Oh, heck, yeah.

[00:05:23] KM: Oh, that's what it is. Everybody wants you to do everything. 9,000 –

[00:05:27] CO: I've had four board offerings to be on four different boards.

[00:05:31] KM: Oh, I bet. Oh, I bet.

[00:05:33] CO: And I've had to turn them all down.

[00:05:36] KM: Well, you have to pay to be on boards a lot of times.

[00:05:37] CO: Well, on the other hand, Tyson Foods, if you need a board member, I'm yours. Because I've heard about how much you pay them.

[00:05:46] KM: Oh, they pay.

[00:05:47] CO: Yeah.

[00:05:48] KM: Well, some boards, you have to pay to be on.

[00:05:50] CO: Yeah. But not Tyson.

[00:05:51] KM: They pay you.

[00:05:52] CO: I wonder about Walmart.

[00:05:54] GM: They probably pay you, right?

[00:05:55] CO: Ooh, I bet you get paid a bunch on Walmart.

[00:05:57] KM: I bet you learn a lot being on boards like that.

[00:06:00] CO: Mm-hmm. In Walmart, I could do your PA announcement, "Attention shoppers. There's a special in our sporting goods office and department right now. Camo is half off."

[00:06:11] KM: Did you always know that you had a big voice?

[00:06:15] CO: Yes.

[00:06:16] KM: What age did you start sounding like a baritone?

[00:06:17] CO: 10.

[00:06:18] KM: Really? Honestly?

[00:06:20] CO: Aha. And my mother would tell me to quiet down my whole life. And those were a fact –

[00:06:27] KM: Did you sing?

[00:06:27] CO: No. I never sang. I was often asked if I did. And I'm good –

[00:06:32] GM: You have the natural resonance. Yeah.

[00:06:33] CO: Well, I do. And I'm good for two notes. And then it just goes south.

[00:06:37] KM: Your name is really Randy Hankins.

[00:06:40] CO: It is in the church. Mm-hmm.

[00:06:41] KM: Okay. And I asked you if I could tell everybody that. But you changed it. Why did you change it?

[00:06:45] CO: I didn't. In 1972, I was hired to go on KERN and I was the nighttime disc jockey. And the man that hired me had already had jingle singers sing the name of the person he was going to hire for the nighttime shift. And it was a name of a guy that he knew in Seattle named Craig O'Neill.

[00:07:06] GM: No way.

[00:07:07] KM: And he didn't take the job? And the guy didn't take the job or something?

[00:07:11] CO: No. It was not that. It was just that he needed a name. He didn't ask the guy, Craig O'Neill, that he worked with in Seattle if he would come down to Little Rock. Instead, he just had the jingle singers sing Craig O'Neill. And whoever he hired was going to be Craig O'Neill.

And besides that he said, and I quote, "I can't have you named Hankins. That name sounds so country." You never find him in New York. That name sounds too country. So, I got the name Craig O'Neill. And that means that probably for the last 25, 30 years, this guy in Seattle has been in therapy.

[00:07:47] GM: It's probably true.

[00:07:49] KM: So, you started – you went to – you knew. You met your wife in Jonesboro. You went to Jonesboro ASU. Did you play football? Because you called for the Razorbacks.

[00:07:56] CO: No. but I did play football at Pulaski Heights Junior High.

[00:07:59] KM: You graduated from Central.

[00:08:01] CO: And graduated from Central and was asked to play football at Central. But I had a bad shoulder. But I was a really good fullback. I mean, really fantastic. The first two steps, I was the quickest young kid on the planet. It was the next three or four steps. It was a lot like singing. First two notes, I'm off. First two steps, I'm quick. But then I had a big booty my entire life, especially in junior high. As a fullback, you could blow open the holes in the line. And John Cheatham could come right behind me and score and make 30-yard touchdown runs and get all city.

[00:08:38] GM: And your shoulder threw a wrench and all that.

[00:08:41] CO: Yeah. Bad shoulder. Yeah. Against Westside Junior High, which is no longer in existence.

[00:08:46] KM: You met your wife. And when I was getting ready for the show, I remembered that your wife used to do – Jane used to do this goofy character for crate deals or for somebody. Who –

[00:08:54] CO: Yes. For freight sales. Freight sales. Which is now Hanks Fine Furniture. The late Hank Brown. And he hired her. He actually hired me and I passed along the gig to Jane and Ronda Atwood who did those commercials with her. And for a while there, she was the big star in the household.

[00:09:15] KM: Absolutely. I mean, I still remember it.

[00:09:18] CO: See?

[00:09:19] KM: Yes. What was her character for the listeners that –

[00:09:22] CO: Okay. Ronda was lowest price and she was Lorlene Freight.

[00:09:27] KM: And goofy, goofy, goofy.

[00:09:29] CO: You think?

[00:09:29] KM: Yeah.

[00:09:32] GM: The names alone. I don't remember this at all.

[00:09:34] KM: She played the countriest –

[00:09:34] CO: Well, you weren't even born.

[00:09:36] GM: Ah, word. Okay.

[00:09:38] KM: She played the countriest bumpkin you ever saw. But it stuck in your – you know, how those kind of people stick in your mind. And she did a great job of it.

I was surprised to hear in college that you were in ROTC.

[00:09:51] CO: Well, you had to go to ROTC at ASU for the first two years.

[00:09:53] KM: Why? Really?

[00:09:55] CO: Yes. That was part of it. For them to become what I understand was a land grant. They had to offer or you had to take ROTC for the first two years. Back in 1968 and '69, I was in ROTC.

[00:10:09] KM: I thought you wanted to be, "Hello, Vietnam," or something.

[00:10:12] CO: No. No. No. No. No. No. They tried to recruit me when I was about to go to my junior year at ASU and I went, "No. I can't. I'm sorry."

[00:10:19] KM: Do you think they ought to still make kids do things like ROTC and service work?

[00:10:23] CO: Well, they are colleges. For instance, Hendrix has got a service program. It's not ROTC. Not military-oriented. But it's community-oriented. And I love that.

[00:10:34] KM: That's good. I did too.

[00:10:34] GM: It's like a volunteer hour requirement or something, right?

[00:10:36] CO: Yeah. Something like that to get your degree.

[00:10:39] KM: You used to have a moniker. Besides your Craig O'Neill moniker, you used to have a moniker called Lips.

[00:10:45] CO: Mm-hmm. That came at Central. I was called Lips at Central High School.

[00:10:47] KM: High school? At High Central. Well, they actually put it on your t-shirts and everything.

[00:10:53] CO: Oh, yeah. I went with it. When I was in radio, everything from my past, Kerry, was just thrown into the mix. I was called Lips. My characters would call me lips. Or anybody who wanted to could call me lips. I played football by myself when I was in elementary school. And that was thrown into everything. I was a Johnny Carson freak. That was part of it.

[00:11:18] KM: Talk about your love of Johnny Carson.

[00:11:21] CO: Well, okay. How long is this podcast?

[00:11:24] KM: One hour.

[00:11:24] GM: As long as we need it to be.

[00:11:26] CO: Oh, baby. We got the long version of the story.

[00:11:28] KM: Okay. Good.

[00:11:29] CO: My parents divorced in 1962 and I go to live with the rest of our family with my grandparents. My grandfather was the cook for the house but he was also a former military, which means he guarded the pantry like it was Fort Knox. I'm a growing boy. I'm playing football. I want to eat. I want to snack. I would wait for him to go to bed at 10:00 and then would sneak into the pantry and get tuna fish. Quietly open it. Dump the tuna fish on the Wonder Bread. Oh, y'all.

[00:12:04] KM: Yeah. That sounds good.

[00:12:04] CO: Never lived until you've had tuna fish right out of the can on that gooshy Wonder Bread. Here's the problem though, if you raid the pantry late at night, you've got to have something to watch. I decided I'll watch this guy named Johnny Carson. He was so cool. He could speak to beautiful women. He dressed neatly. He was funny. Even when he wasn't funny, he made it funny.

[00:12:30] KM: He smoked cigarettes on TV.

[00:12:31] CO: Exactly. But I didn't want to smoke. But I did want to be like him. He was phenomenal. And the more I watched, the more I laughed and the more I admired him. I forgot the tuna fish and the bread. This is what I wanted with my life. And in 1967 when I'm 16 years old, I decided I'm going to make the Johnny Carson life my blueprint for my career. What he did, I'm going to do. Small market radio. Small market television. Move out to California. Get on a daytime show. Take over the Tonight's Show. There's my path. Look at me today, ladies and gentlemen. I'm at Kerry McCoy in Arkansas Flag and Banner. What happened?

[00:13:15] KM: Almost got there. You got there. That's it. That's a great story. That is a good story and an inspiring story about living your dream. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with THV11's retired anchorman, Mr. Craig O'Neill. A.K.A. Randy Hankins. Still to come, some of his favorite and funniest interviews and prank calls. His work at AR Kids Read. And do you want a career in broadcasting? Well, start dreaming like he did. We'll get tips from Craig and what he sees as the future of TV and radio.

[00:13:48] CO: It's going to cost you.

[00:13:49] KM: Okay.


[00:13:50] GM: Around the first week of February every year, flagandbanner.com starts thinking about spring. And, well, look at that. The calendar says it's already the first week of February. We're starting to think about spring flags, and spring banners and spring street pole banners. And a lot of festivals and neighborhood happenings take place during the spring. Give your town or festival some real excitement. Start a year-round banner program. Street pole banners that capture the attention of drivers, they really bring a collectiveness to walking around certain neighborhoods in town. And all of these great stock designs we have at flagandbanner.com can all be customized. Our banners are made from commercial-grade vinyl printed both front and back. And they've got pole hems top and bottom. They last a long time. A real great value. Check out what we've got to offer at flagandbanner.com.

[00:14:40] GM: You're listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed along with Kerry's experience and leadership knowledge. In 1995, she embraced the internet and rebranded her company as simply flagandbanner.com.

In 2004, she became an early blogger. Since then, she has founded the nonprofit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom. Began publishing her magazine, Brave. And in 2016, branched out into this very radio show, YouTube channel and podcast. In 2020, Kerry Enterprises acquired ourcornermarket.com. An online company specializing in American-made plaques, signage and memorials for over 20 years.
And in 2021, opened a satellite office in Miami Florida.

Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com. Back to you Kerry.


[00:15:37] KM: We're speaking today with Arkansas's legendary broadcast and radio personality, Mr. Craig O'Neill. It's time to get down to the nitty-gritty –

[00:15:43] CO: Here we go. Nitty-gritty time.

[00:15:43] KM: Okay. Here we go. Nitty-gritty. You moved to lck and spent 10 years at KKYK.

[00:15:48] CO: From '81 to almost – well, to '91.

[00:15:52] KM: When did you start doing the prank calls? Was it at KKYK or –

[00:15:57] CO: In 1978, I was not doing well. I just gotten a job at KALZ. They had hired me. And I was delighted because I've been in radio sales and stunk. I was awful.

[00:16:06] KM: Sales? Oh, oh. Yeah.

[00:16:07] CO: And they rescued me and said I need to get back on the air. They put me on air in '78. For the first four months, Kerry, it was not going well.

[00:16:17] KM: Really?

[00:16:18] CO: Yeah. Ray Lincoln, a disc jockey you may know, remember was number one. He was a strong number one. And I was just not. I was just floundering. The station was doing great. After I got off the air, the ratings zoomed back up. But no. First four months, it wasn't happening.

[00:16:33] KM: But you stayed with it.

[00:16:35] CO: Well, I'd heard about a guy named Russ Spooner in Nashville Tennessee who did prank telephone calls and was quite successful with it. And I went, "Hmm, I'm going to try that."

Get this, the first prank call ever was to David Pryor. He was in a runoff with Jim Guy Tucker for senator. And I called both him and Jim Guy Tucker, "Hey, this Jimmy Carter. Hello, I want to call you both and wish you happy good luck on. You'll run off and I just want you to know I have a good luck charm, David. That's a bronze frog."

[00:17:14] KM: A bronze frog?

[00:17:15] GM: I love this stuff.

[00:17:16] CO: I don't remember what I said. But anyway, I wish I had gotten in touch with them. Because, y'all, back in 1978, there were no smartphones. You couldn't call the direct number. You had to go through a series –

[00:17:26] KM: You did get in touch with them. Didn't you?

[00:17:28] CO: No. I never did. I never talked to them. But point being, both of them, I went ahead and aired it even though they went nowhere. But I wanted to get on the air to set the stage for the next one, which –

[00:17:44] KM: I got a good one. What's the next one?

[00:17:45] CO: The next one was in about 10 days. I called the Union National Bank to purchase the bank. Excuse me. Every time I said it, it was bunk. I was an Arab wanting to purchase Union National Bank. And the woman I talked to was Southern and sweet. She was steward as sweet. She was, "Honey, do you want to purchase the bunk? You want my bunk bed?" "I want to purchase the bank. The bank." "Oh, you mean the bank."

[00:18:17] GM: And this in like what? 1981 or something?

[00:18:20] CO: Yeah. This was 1978. In June of '78. And that started it. From that point on –

[00:18:27] KM: What happened?

[00:18:29] CO: I ended up getting a middle manager who asked the magic question, "How much are you willing to pay, sheik?" "$110 million." "Is that cash?" "Yes, it is $110 million." "Well, we last guessed that our estimate, our latest estimate is we're over 200 million in assets. I'm sorry. You're half-priced." "Whatever it takes." Anyway, the point being, I was talking money.

[00:18:57] KM: How do you ever get off the phone from something like that?

[00:19:00] CO: Oh, I was talking money.

[00:19:01] KM: Do you ever tell them?

[00:19:02] CO: Oh, sure. Yeah, you had to tell them.

[00:19:03] KM: What's the end?

[00:19:05] CO: The end goes something like, "I am drawing on its bank account of Craig O'Neill of B – excuse me. Of Z-98 KLAZ." And he suddenly knows it's a joke. And he starts laughing. Which is good. You want the laughter.

[00:19:21] GM: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:19:22] KM: Aren't you nervous that they're going to get mad at you?

[00:19:24] CO: I was. I was. Early, I was. Later, no.

[00:19:28] KM: How many you think you've done?

[00:19:30] CO: I bet aired probably about 500. for the 500 that aired, there are about 300 more that did not air. Because –

[00:19:38] KM: How do you come up with the ideas?

[00:19:40] CO: Just people sometimes, we phone them in. And sometimes what was phoned in was funnier than the prank. And the classic one is the man in Pine Bluff when they were putting in cable. He said, "Craig, you got to call my next-door neighbor." The cable company keeps coming out and digging a trench in his backyard to lay their cable and they cover it up. And he said, "But, unfortunately, their dog is –" No. They're laying the cable but their dog is going out there and doing his business on the cable. So, they have to come and dig it back up up put another cable in. They've done it three times. And my neighbor, the only way he can keep his dog from digging that cable up – it was digging the cable up.

[00:20:27] KM: Yeah. Okay. Digging – I was going to say – okay. Yeah, digging it.

[00:20:28] CO: Digging the cable up. I'm blowing it here. The only way that they can keep that dog from digging that cable up is if my neighbor pisses on the trench. At 10:00 at night, the neighbor would go out there and piss on it.

[00:20:45] GM: Oh, my God. That's so bizarre.

[00:20:48] CO: And the dog won't dig it up when he does that. I call him as a company that wants his sample, urine sample because we're going to make a substance out of it. We were going to sprinkle it on where the cable company goes so the dogs won't dig it.

[00:21:04] GM: You told this guy – you called this guy up and said you wanted a piss sample from him. Oh, that's so good. Wild.

[00:21:09] CO: But, no. The setup was better than the call.

[00:21:12] KM: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Here's one I got for you that I loved. Here it is. Here's your script. You're going to read the red part.

[00:21:24] GM: Oh, no.

[00:21:25] GM: I think I know which one this is.

[00:21:27] KM: This is a Texas prank call.

[00:21:28] CO: Oh, yeah.

[00:21:29] KM: You set the scene. You'll read the red part.

[00:21:32] CO: I'll read the red part?

[00:21:34] KM: Yeah. Tell everybody what you're doing though. It's a good old boy.

[00:21:37] CO: Well, we're about to play Texas on national TV. And so, I decided to mess with Texas. Not all of your –

[00:21:45] KM: It's at War Memorial though, right?

[00:21:46] CO: It's at War Memorial.

[00:21:47] KM: And you're calling Razorback games back then yet? No?

[00:21:49] CO: Well, no. I wasn't there. No. But I did call the University of Texas and tell them that I'm the groundskeeper at War Memorial Stadium. I got to share with you. We got a boy here –

[00:22:02] KM: There it is. Here it is. All right. You have called the University of Texas Athletic Department pretending to be Gilbert Mcllroy. Groundskeeper at War Memorial Stadium. And this is –

[00:22:13] CO: Hold on. You want to hear something weird? Mcllroy would be the name of a quarterback about 8 years later at the University of Texas. Isn't that weird? Okay. I'm sorry. Go ahead.

[00:22:21] KM: It is weird. Okay. Here you go. That's it. I'm sorry. Now you called this guy. What did you say?

[00:22:25] CO: I say, "Hey, we got a small problem up here. I just wanted to know how to handle it. Last night, our boy that marks the field on the turf down there, sun's going down, and it's getting real dark, and he's a student and he's sleep deprived. Naturally, we don't want to have to turn the lights on to mark the field. And his deadline was last night. He didn't realize what he was doing. And what he did was he was putting y'all's name in the south end zone and he added an extra s."

[00:23:01] KM: And then the Texas Athletic Department official says, "How do you mean?" And then you say –

[00:23:07] CO: "Well, what I mean is it's T-E-X-A-S-S. and we don't have enough time now to take that extra s off.

[00:23:19] KM: Tex ass. What do you do?

[00:23:23] GM: Yeah. Do they all just come on glued?

[00:23:26] CO: He said, "Well, I think you're just going to have to find a way to take that off. We can't have that on national TV." My favorite comeback was, "What if we put two lines through that extra s and make it a dollar sign?"

[00:23:41] GM: I love this.

[00:23:42] CO: And that was when I almost lost it.

[00:23:45] GM: That was their idea?

[00:23:46] CO: Huh?

[00:23:46] GM: That was their idea?

[00:23:47] KM: No. That was Craig's.

[00:23:47] CO: It was my idea. And he kind of chuckles and goes, "I just don't think this is going to work." And he goes, "What I need to do is call Coach Briles and call Coach Dodd," both athletic directors, "and talk this over and let us get back to you and see –" and that's when I pulled the plug. Because if he's going to go to Coach Briles and the athletic director, we've started a whole series of events that we don't want to have happened.

[00:24:14] KM: What did you tell him?

[00:24:16] CO: I think I said something to the effect of, "Well, my solution would be to call Craig O'Neill at B98.5 and see what he could do." And then that's when the guy goes, "Who is he?" And that's when I told him. Boom. Call over.

[00:24:31] KM: You're so good at this because you wanted to be an actor also, didn't you?

[00:24:34] CO: Yes.

[00:24:36] KM: You used to go out to California. But that's not when you got on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

[00:24:40] CO: No. I went and did standup comedy.

[00:24:43] KM: Standup? That's tough.

[00:24:44] CO: At The Comedy Store in 1984. Because I'd heard that that's how comedians get on The Tonight Show was –

[00:24:51] KM: Oh, that's true. Yeah.

[00:24:52] CO: And so, I decided to do amateur night and stood up there on the stage in 1984 and did pretty well.

[00:24:59] KM: Is it hard as heck? Do you have to memorize everything?

[00:25:01] CO: Well, no. You just kind of – if you're going for the laugh, you know it's going to be there. And so, I was nervous. Because here's what happened. Jane and I got out there 3 days early. And I'm walking around 3 days practicing my routine nervous as I can be. But, Kerry, I'll tell you all. Once my name was announced, I got in the lights and on that stage. And from singing, once you're up there, all nervousness aside, you start concentrating on what – and the beautiful thing about being a comedian, you're waiting for the laughter. Isn't that a beautiful thing? And when you get it, it is –

[00:25:35] GM: Then the rhythm just goes and goes and goes.

[00:25:38] CO: Oh, gosh. It is just the most –

[00:25:39] KM: Johnny Carson said he was nervous every night before he went on stage.

[00:25:44] CO: I can believe it.

[00:25:44] KM: And he did that for 30 years, let's say. 20 or 30 years. Nervous every night.

[00:25:49] CO: Think about it. He's got new material in front of a live audience every night.z

[00:25:55] KM: And there weren't teleprompters back then.

[00:25:56] CO: No. Well, they had cue cards that he would read off those.

[00:26:00] KM: So, he'd get a little cue. And then you'd have to kind of ad-lib from there on. You have to be smart to do that.

[00:26:07] CO: Oh, my gosh. I loved it.

[00:26:08] KM: Do you think you could still do prank phone calls today in today's atmosphere?

[00:26:11] CO: No. No.

[00:26:12] KM: You get sued or something.

[00:26:13] CO: No. Caller ID.

[00:26:15] KM: Oh, caller ID.

[00:26:15] CO: If I meet the guy that been at caller ID, I'm going to let him have it.

[00:26:19] GM: Yeah.

[00:26:19] CO: He ruined a perfectly good career. Thank you, technology. Man.

[00:26:25] KM: All right. Tell us how you got on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

[00:26:28] CO: Well, okay –

[00:26:29] KM: Or was that after you got on TV?

[00:26:32] CO: that was after Channel 11. And I've been on Channel 11 for 5 years.

[00:26:36] KM: Okay. Don't tell us yet then. Because we're going to go to break. When we come back, we're going to talk about your TV career.

[00:26:40] CO: No. I want to do it now. I don't want to go on break.

[00:26:41] KM: Too late. Too late. I'm running the show.

[00:26:47] CO: And you just met a control freak.

[00:26:49] KM: Which one? Which one are you talking about? Which are you talking about? Me or you? When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with THV11's retired anchorman, Mr. Craig O'Neill. A.K.A. Randy Hankins. Still to come, Craig's big and risky move from radio to TV. His work at AR Kids Reads and Hearts & Hooves. And what he sees for the future of broadcasting. We'll be right back.


[00:27:10] TW: Part of Carrie McCoy Enterprises is ourcornermarket.com. The perfect online shopping site for everything you need to strengthen your business's image or beautify your home and landscaping. You can browse through products like custom plaques in bronze or aluminum. Business signage. Address plaques to dress up your home or apartment complex. Memorial stones and markers even for your beloved pets. Logo mats and countless other items. Please visit ourcornermarket.com today and start shopping.


[00:27:45] KM: We're speaking today with Arkansas's retired legendary broadcaster from THV11, Arkansas's nonprofit hero and past radio personality, Mr. Craig O'Neill. If you're just turning in, you need to go back and listen to his prank phone calls. They're good. They're priceless. I don't know how you could even do anything like that today. Because like he was saying, you can't do prank phone calls because we got caller ID now.

[00:28:06] CO: Right.

[00:28:08] KM: Now you've moved to TV. Here we go.

[00:28:10] CO: Here we go. It's 2000. It's January 1st, 2000.

[00:28:13] KM: Nobody thought you should do it.

[00:28:15] CO: Nobody.

[00:28:15] KM: Your wife is like, "No. Craig, do not do it."

[00:28:19] CO: Stupid.

[00:28:19] KM: Why did you decide to do it?

[00:28:21] CO: I just want to try something new. I'll go ahead and confess since you're getting it out of me. Kerry, there's just something about being with you. It's like therapy. Did you love your mother? Well, my mother always gave me guilt issues.

No. No. I had read a book called The Artist Way, which I recommend for all creatives.

[00:28:44] GM: Oh, write that Gray.

[00:28:44] CO: And it's by Julia Cameron.

[00:28:44] KM: Okay. Artist's Way.

[00:28:46] CO: Artist's Way. And this was in 1996. And it played on my consciousness for 4 years. Also playing on my consciousness was the fact that my radio show, the ratings was starting to suffer. Also playing on my consciousness was I was on TV on ESPN with Jerry McKinnis on ESPN 2 and doing television part-time with Jerry McKinnis who was the number one outfitter – not outfit. Or let me give you – he was the number one person to provide programming to ESPN at the time. And it may still be that way. I don't know.

[00:29:22] KM: And he was the head of Arkansas Game and Fish or something. Wasn't he?

[00:29:24] CO: No. He was the head of Jerry McKinnis Outdoors. And he was just about five blocks from where you are right now. And people don't realize that.

[00:29:31] KM: Clothing store?

[00:29:32] CO: No. It's not a clothing store.

[00:29:33] KM: What is Jerry's McKinnis Outdoor?

[00:29:35] CO: It's a TV production studio that is three stories and huge. And people don't even realize what all he was doing.

[00:29:42] KM: Yes.

[00:29:43] CO: The bass tournaments that you see on television, those were him. And all these – yeah, all this outdoor programming.

[00:29:48] KM: Wow. Right here in Little Rock.

[00:29:48] CO: And so, I was doing that with him. At the same time, my ratings are going down and they weren't what they used to be. I thought –

[00:29:57] GM: This is kind of like when radio is spiraling. The iPod gets invented and stuff like that. yeah.

[00:30:02] CO: I wouldn't choose spiraling. I'd put slipping.

[00:30:05] GM: Slipping. Okay.

[00:30:05] CO: No. Okay. We'll go spiraling. Okay. Anyway, I thought, "What else can I do?" Well, I had a lot of friends at Channel 11. They had an opening. I'm over at the – and I tried in 1998 to get on Channel 11 but it didn't work.

In 1999, I go get my license renewed at the State revenue Office and there Ed Buckner, the weatherman at the time, putting on his little stickers. And he goes, "You know, we have an opening in sports. You ought to go call about it." Boom. I go call Susan Newkirk, who's the general manager at Channel 11. Next thing you know, I'm hired. She wants somebody to do something different about sports. Because quite frankly – are we alone right now?

[00:30:44] KM: Yeah.

[00:30:46] CO: She didn't like sports. In her mind, when news came to sports, it was turned off.

[00:30:51] KM: It kind of was in the old days. It was very little bit.

[00:30:55] CO: She wanted something different. Boy, did she ever get it.

[00:30:58] GM: I agree.

[00:30:58] KM: Well, you knew a lot about football.

[00:31:00] CO: I did. Loved it. And at the time, I was the announcer, stadium announcer in Fayetteville in and Little Rock. I was inside Razorback world.

[00:31:10] KM: That's why they suggested you.

[00:31:11] CO: Yeah.

[00:31:12] KM: I loved you announcing at War Memorial? Why did you lose that gig?

[00:31:16] CO: Because there was one day that I had Houston Nutt do a promo with me where Houston's on camera with me going – and I say to Houston – no. Houston says to me, "All right, Craig. Do it. Do it for me just one time. Just say it one time. I love it when you say it." I went, "Okay. It's an Arkansas Razorback." And Houston goes with me, "First down." Well, unbeknownst to us, the day before, Paul Eells of Channel 7 had done a promo very similar where his catchphrase, "Touchdown Arkansas." Ignites the whole team on this promo. Very similar because we're using our catchphrases.

And when Dale Nicholson, the head of Channel 7, heard about that, they played their Channel 7 card and said to Frank, "You got to get him out of there. You got a fire Craig. He's –"

[00:32:11] KM: Stepping on our toes.

[00:32:12] CO: Yeah. And this is what I'm hearing. The late Dale Nicholson, I'm hearing this now from years later. I didn't know at the time.

[00:32:19] KM: Oh, what did they tell you at the time?

[00:32:20] CO: Well, it was Frank. Our call lasted 25 seconds and goes – he says, "Craig, my sponsors are upset. I'm going to have to let you go."

[00:32:27] KM: And that's the truth.

[00:32:30] CO: Yeah. The sponsor was Channel 7. But now Frank made it seem like it was people like – I don't know. Petit Jean Meat or something.

[00:32:36] KM: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:32:37] CO: But, no. I said, "I understand coach." Because I kind of was aware that, yeah, now that I'm in – because I started as a stadium announcer in radio. But when I moved to TV and started getting introduced at Razorback club meetings that I was MC-ing as the voice of the Razorbacks and channel 7 is paying –

[00:32:56] KM: Had Paul Eells.

[00:32:57] CO: – scholarship money to the university to get their guy as the voice of the Razorbacks.

[00:33:04] KM: Very political.

[00:33:04] CO: Yeah.

[00:33:05] KM: Yeah. You got caught up in that –

[00:33:08] CO: Exactly. But I didn't mind. Because on game day, I was wearing myself out. I'm doing the parties. I'm doing the PA. Trying to do TV. Kerry, I swear, this is like therapy. I am so glad I'm here. Thank you.

[00:33:21] GM: Unpacking it all.

[00:33:21] KM: All right. Let's talk about more therapy. COVID. You did COVID broadcasting from your kitchen table with Jane's pictures behind you. It was adorable.

[00:33:29] CO: We sold four paintings that period.

[00:33:32] KM: Where can I buy a painting of hers right now?

[00:33:34] CO: Well, right now you can go to janefhankins.com.

[00:33:37] KM: Write that down, Gray.

[00:33:38] GM: Janefhankins.com.

[00:33:39] CO: Janefhankins.com. And she's done coloring books. Because now she's off doing – she's no longer doing sculpture because of her hands. And she's doing these drawings.

[00:33:49] KM: I thought she was a painter.

[00:33:50] CO: Well, she is. But she's also watching British mysteries. And while she's watching them, she's doing these phenomenal drawings, y'all.

[00:33:58] KM: What do you mean coloring books? She's just coloring and coloring books?

[00:34:00] CO: No. She's drawing drawings that you put in a book. And it's the Jane F. Hankins coloring book.

[00:34:06] KM: Where are she selling those?

[00:34:08] CO: Online. Janefhankins.com.

[00:34:10] KM: I love that.

[00:34:10] GM: I'm going to go get one. I love coloring books.

[00:34:12] KM: That's a great gift for somebody from Arkansas. We ought to sell them in flagandbanner.com downtown.

[00:34:17] GM: Local gifts. Love it.

[00:34:18] CO: Ladies and gentlemen, my life has just turned. I'm no longer a broadcaster. I am now a marketer at Arkansas Flag and Banner.

[00:34:26] GM: Yeah. Welcome to the team.

[00:34:28] KM: Being in the business of interviewing, and processing and everything, talk about your processes. I know, for me, it takes me days to get ready for an interview.

[00:34:39] CO: Really?

[00:34:39] KM: Yeah. Don't. Don't do that. No. No. You're a big reader.

[00:34:46] CO: I am a big reader. I have to confess to you. I'm not a big preparer for interviews. Never have really been. There are some things that in the past, once I've done the interview and then I go back and read about the person I interviewed, I went, "Dang. I should have asked him about that. Should have asked –"

[00:35:06] KM: You have regret, too?

[00:35:08] CO: Oh, gosh.

[00:35:08] KM: Oh, would you just tell everybody out there that everybody has regrets after they try something?

[00:35:14] CO: I'm broadcasting 54 years and there were still – almost every day I'd go home and go, "I should have said – oh – oh." Can I tell you the greatest –

[00:35:22] KM: That makes me feel good.

[00:35:22] CO: There are two great moments I'll share with you of the should have said. Should have, would have, should have done it.

[00:35:28] KM: The should have saids.

[00:35:29] CO: I did a party at the White House in 1993. Bill had just been elected and he was having Arkansans come up. And he and I have always been buddies. I came up and DJ'd a party at the White House. It was Hillary's birthday. They got Gladys Knight and sing Happy Birthday to Hillary. And I'm MC. And to this day, what I should have done is before she sang, gotten Bill up with me and we would have been her pips. And I didn't do it. I didn't even think about it till the next day. It would have been so good, "Happy birthday to you. Woo. Woo." Man.

Here's second one.

[00:36:23] KM: Okay. All right.

[00:36:23] CO: The second one, Arkansas is playing its opening game against SMU. Houston Nutt's debut as coach. His first game as coach. In the second, half the lights go out at War Memorial Stadium. What I should have said as PA announcer when I got on the PA, I should have said, "Hello, Houston? We have a problem." Dang it. Dang it.

[00:36:47] GM: So many missed opportunities.

[00:36:49] CO: What was I thinking?

[00:36:51] KM: I don't know. Now that one would eat at me.

[00:36:53] CO: Oh, my gosh. Both of those would have been huge.

[00:36:57] KM: Houston, we have a problem would have been perfect. Is there one interview that sticks out in your mind that you didn't make –

[00:37:04] CO: Loved Dolly. Because it – my grandmother – I have to go back to the 50s. My grandmother had a beautiful home in Warren, Arkansas. Big, broad front porch. In the summertime, there’s no air conditioning then. People got out on the front porch. People would come by stop the car and get out on the front porch. Seemed like the whole town was on the front porch.

[00:37:30] KM: They were.

[00:37:32] CO: Beautiful, relaxed, endearing conversations that I still remember. Gorgeous voices. The interview with Dolly was like being on the front porch. She was folks and there was nothing fake. It was all real. And some of the stories didn't quite go anywhere. Or some things I'd ask or have fun with she would grab and run with. But it didn't matter. It was so warm.

[00:38:02] KM: Was she in Little Rock?

[00:38:03] CO: She was in Little Rock. And the reason she was here is because the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is now in every county in the state of Arkansas. Get this, y'all. Every month, 65,000 books go out to Arkansas children birth to five years of age in Arkansas.

[00:38:24] KM: No. Wait. Every month, 65 – are there even that many kids?

[00:38:30] CO: Oh, yes. Well, you think about it. Zero to five? Yes, they're going to be 65,000 kids in that age range. Sure.

[00:38:37] KM: Is she a big reader?

[00:38:40] CO: Her father made sure she was. And she is. And she's written a book in collaboration with – who's the one that wrote the book with Bill Clinton here? I go. It's my turn.

[00:38:49] KM: Peterson –

[00:38:51] CO: Anyway, she – and I asked her about that, too, when I was interviewing her. And she goes – and I said, "You realize you've written a book with the same author that Bill Clinton wrote a book with." And she looks to me and she goes, "Yes. But my book is so much better." Crowd laughed.

Here's the beautiful thing about this interview though. It didn't involve me. From what I understand – you know Randy Zook? Who is the head of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Diane, who used to be on the board of education, they both left the party when Dolly left. Dolly had to leave to go get on her jet. The crowds in the Governor's Ballroom, she says goodbye. Standing ovation. the Zooks leave in the back way. Dolly leaves the sideway. The Zooks are walking up that walk in front of the governor's mansion and they see a child on the corner holding up his Dolly Parton Imagination Library books that he got in the mail. Because that's how they arrive. They get in the mail. He's holding up the books as Dolly's limo passes and stops. And the window comes down. And Dolly leans out the window and motions for the little boy to come over. And they talk, according to the Zooks, for about four minutes. I don't know what they talked about. I don't know what transpired.

But Dolly wanted to connect with that child who had the books. And that's what she did with me. And that's what she did with everybody in that audience. And I told her at the beginning of the interview, I said, "Do you realize you're the most beloved woman in the United States?"

[00:40:28] GM: I mean, really.

[00:40:28] CO: People on both sides of the left-right makes no difference. Everybody loves you. I used to have a joke when I was doing live things giving away prizes. One of my fake prizes was you have won 1,000 big ones. That's 500 posters of Dolly Parton.

[00:40:50] KM: I always wonder what it's like. I think about this. And I think a lot of people think about this. For 20-plus years, every day, everybody knew where you were at six o'clock. Sitting at the news desk. I look at those people and I think I could not show up every day with my face on and bring my A-game. How do you do it?

[00:41:12] CO: Because it's on. You're on. As soon as you're on, it's the performers' electricity. It's what drives the performer. As soon as you're on, you got to connect.

[00:41:20] KM: But don't you all day long think, "Oh, God. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do this to myself?"

[00:41:26] GM: And then you ride the adrenaline wave until you have to do it again the next day. Yeah.

[00:41:28] CO: Exactly. Today, today, even though I'm retired, I'm going, "Why did I say yes to Kerry?" I got to go, "The mic, once I'm with you all, my fellow Episcopalians. Peace be with you. I am on, baby."

[00:41:43] KM: Get your adrenaline going.

[00:41:43] CO: Exactly.

[00:41:44] KM: I think you get addicted to the adrenaline a little bit.

[00:41:47] CO: Probably. Yep. There's something going on chemically there. Also, psychologically, socially. You want to connect. We call that compensation.

[00:41:59] KM: Your hobbies are reading, riding, fitness training and horse racing. Do you bet on the ponies?

[00:42:04] CO: You think? Yes.

[00:42:05] KM: I did not know that about you.

[00:42:07] CO: Yes, I love horse racing.

[00:42:09] KM: You love football. You love horse racing.

[00:42:11] CO: I love horse racing. Because the stories around horse racing are so magnificent.

[00:42:17] KM: Are they?

[00:42:18] CO: Oh, my gosh. Smarty Jones. 2004. He comes to Oaklawn. I read about him in the magazine. He's coming to Oaklawn. He just won a big race for two-year-olds in New York. He's going to spend his three-year-old season in Hot Springs. And I go, "I got to interview this guy." Because I love that name, Smarty Jones.

[00:42:38] GM: Sure. Yeah.

[00:42:40] CO: It's because there was a member of the family back in the Depression era who that's when everybody went to one schoolhouse. And whenever the teacher asked a question, this family member, a woman, would stand up and go, "I know the answer." She was like the Hermione of Harry Potter. But she would stand up and they called her Smarty. You're Smarty Jones. They named the horse after her because the horse had the same birthday as she did.

[00:43:03] GM: Oh, that's fun.

[00:43:04] CO: They named the horse Smarty Jones. But the best part is I was the first person to interview the trainer. The first person to interview the family around that horse. And the horse – I interviewed the family in February. The horse is on the front cover of Sports Illustrated two and a half months later winning the Kentucky Derby.

[00:43:23] GM: Awesome.

[00:43:24] CO: And the day that horse won, tears are coming down my cheeks. Because I fell in love with that horse.

[00:43:32] KM: Did you grow up around horses?

[00:43:34] CO: My sister did. And I've always loved them.

[00:43:37] KM: Well you're involved in Hearts for Horses.

[00:43:38] CO: Well, Hearts & Hooves is one of the reason I gravitated toward Hearts & Hooves was because of the love of horses. Now I need to straighten something out. Hearts & Hooves is kind of disbanded. But it has led the way for several other agencies to do the same.

And quite frankly, when I saw a child with disabilities who's in a wheelchair her or his whole life and gets on top of a horse and for the first time in the child's life feels movement under him or her.

[00:44:09] GM: That kind of mobility. Yeah.

[00:44:11] CO: Exactly. And I saw that, tears came down my cheeks. Smarty Jones tears. I was hooked there, too. Didn't bet on him. But I bet on the kid.

[00:44:23] KM: How did you end up with so many t-shirts that went across in – it's 1998. I mean, that's 20 years ago. 25 years ago. You had enough t-shirts even back that long –

[00:44:34] CO: To stretch over the bridge.

[00:44:36] KM: Across the Broadway Bridge. Gray, we got to put a link to this on the website for everybody to see it.

[00:44:40] GM: I was going to say, this feels like a viral moment before we had viral moments, you know? Yeah.

[00:44:45] KM: It was. It is.

[00:44:44] CO: Exactly. If I've had that in my radio career, I'd be Mr. Viral, you know?

[00:44:54] KM: You danced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He is such a good dancer. Where did you learn to bust a move like that?

[00:44:58] CO: Oh, baby, you did – listen, you did – you were there for the 10-year Northeast High School reunion.

[00:45:03] KM: Oh, my God. Yes. I barely remember.

[00:45:05] CO: You forget. I was your DJ.

[00:45:08] KM: I barely remember.

[00:45:08] CO: And, folks, I want to tell you about Kerry's blooper.

[00:45:11] KM: What did I do?

[00:45:11] CO: Kerry does the banner and it says, "Welcome Northeast High School 10-year reunoin." She had a vowel movement.

[00:45:24] KM: I didn't even know it. And Craig calls me up there with the mic and he goes, "Have you read your banner?" And I was like, "Yeah, I did that banner." And he was like, "Have you read it?" I read like. I'm like, "Oh, my God."

Craig, you don't drink a drop, do you?

[00:45:40] CO: No. Can't.

[00:45:42] KM: Do you have the gene in the family or something?

[00:45:44] CO: No. It's an Episcopal thing.

[00:45:46] KM: Well, we drink in Episcopal things.

[00:45:48] CO: I know we do. But in the sixth grade, I've been through the catechism and I go up to get confirmed and there's Bishop Brown. Very large man and imposing. Got the big helmet on. He gives me the wine. And I take a huge gulp. Too big a gulp. It makes me sick. I walk down those Chancel steps at Trinity out the side door where that ramp is with the bricks and hurl. I mean, big time. And that trauma has been inside me. And I've never had a drink in my whole life.

[00:46:26] KM: Never tried it again.

[00:46:27] CO: Never.

[00:46:28] KM: A lot of people throw up after their first drink and they still try to –

[00:46:31] GM: Yeah. Right? That's commendable, Craig. Yeah.

[00:46:33] CO: No. Never. I was always a designated driver.

[00:46:36] KM: You know what? You should run for mayor.

[00:46:38] CO: You think?

[00:46:39] KM: Yeah. You know everybody. You don't drink.

[00:46:41] CO: Yeah. But I don't want to do politics.

[00:46:44] GM: Yeah. See, mom?

[00:46:47] KM: All right. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we're going to continue our conversation with legendary radio and TV –

[00:46:52] CO: Is she running? Is she going to announce on this show?

[00:46:56] KM: No.

[00:46:57] GM: She's already announced.

[00:46:58] KM: Mr. Craig – no. I have not. Mr. Craig O'Neill. Who, for the last 50 years, has been the hardest-working man in Arkansas' show business.

[00:47:07] CO: That's right.

[00:47:07] KM: We'll be right back to wind the show up in just a minute.

[00:47:10] CO: What?


[00:47:11] KM: Kerry McCoy, president of Arkansas's flagandbanner.com believes in paying knowledge and experience forward. And she developed this very radio show as a way to do that. The biographies, experience and wisdom of her guests would likely go unheard were it not for this venue.

Rarely do people open up for an entire hour to an audience about their lives, mistakes, triumphs and pitfalls. But this unique radio show allows the listener intimate access to the stories of prominent leaders in our state. Up in Your Business is produced at the home of flagandbanner.com, the historic Taborian Hall in downtown Little Rock. The corner of 9th and State Street. Log on to flagandbanner.com to learn more about this radio show and to follow us for more information on upcoming guests. You even have access to an entire library and all the platforms on which you can hear these shows.

As the underwriter of this program, flagandbanner.com continues to make positive investments in our community and bring stories of success and struggle to listeners everywhere. This is Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy.

[00:48:20] KM: We're speaking today with Arkansas's legendary retired broadcaster and past radio personality, Mr. Craig O'Neill. Whose given name is Randy Hankins that was taken away from him because of a jingle in 1968 or sometime.

[00:48:34] CO: No. 1972. I'll never forget it, Kerry.

[00:48:37] KM: 1972.

[00:48:38] CO: That's right. Man, I have divulged so much on this podcast.

[00:48:42] GM: That's what we're all about, man.

[00:48:45] KM: UCA in Conway has got your official collection.

[00:48:49] CO: Exactly UCA has got it. And quite frankly, it's because my house had gotten so cluttered when Jimmy Bryant who worked in the library at the time and the archives called and said, "We'd like to do your archives." Boom. You got it. He said, "We'll send a truck down and we'll take everything." I went, "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes."

[00:49:09] KM: What do you think about the future of broadcasting?

[00:49:11] CO: Well, it's technology. But here we are with a podcast. And in my day, if you broadcast, if I had a morning show back in the day, I only worried about Bob Robbins, Tommy Smith. Maybe Ray Lincoln back in the early years. Two or three people. If I'm doing a podcast, my competition now is about, last count, 2.4 million people. Technology has broadened the playing field. But now, that having been said, everybody's got their own little niche like Up in Your Business. Or crime is big on podcasts and –

[00:49:53] KM: True crime.

[00:49:55] CO: True crime and –

[00:49:57] KM: Would you go into the business again?

[00:49:57] GM: Indicative of the future of broadcasting.

[00:49:58] CO: Would I?

[00:49:59] KM: Yeah.

[00:50:00] CO: Sure. In a heartbeat. But not right now. I'm having too much fun.

[00:50:04] KM: What you going to do?

[00:50:07] CO: Well, I'm writing a book. Inadvertently, you've heard some excerpts from it. Inadvertently in answering these questions.

[00:50:15] KM: What's the goal of the book?

[00:50:16] CO: The goal of the book is to have fun. To read it. And then toward the end of the book, we'll have some insights about life and so forth.

[00:50:24] KM: Give me one.

[00:50:27] CO: Enjoy the moment. And when you're in broadcasting, there were times when I was doing dances especially. And I'd be up there playing music and people would be having a great time and there'd be dancing, and smiling, and swinging and swaying. And a thought would occur to me, there is no place I'd rather be than where I am right now.

And I don't know if any other entity other than performance where you can actually have that happen, where you bond with an audience. And it's just a brilliant thing when it happens. Not brilliant. But marvelous.

[00:51:04] KM: I kind of feel that way right now.

[00:51:05] CO: Oh, do you?

[00:51:06] KM: Aha. Yeah.

[00:51:06] CO: See?

[00:51:07] KM: Yeah. I've enjoyed visiting with you. Do we have a gift?

[00:51:11] CO: We do?

[00:51:11] GM: Yes. And it is downstairs. I'll get it for you.

[00:51:13] KM: It's a US flag, and an Arkansas flag and a desk set yes, so you can put it on your interviews. What are you going to do – I'm sorry.

[00:51:21] GM: As you write your book, it can sit on your desk.

[00:51:23] KM: What are you going to do when you – what else are you going to do besides write a book? Are you going to do a podcast?

[00:51:28] CO: Well, I will. But I'm going to – I think I'm just going to come up here and do it with you.

[00:51:32] KM: Okay.

[00:51:33] GM: Sounds great.

[00:51:34] KM: We'll call it Up in Your Business with Craig and Kerry.

[00:51:37] GM: Oh, I love this.

[00:51:38] GM: I will gladly just watch from the other room. Perfect. Perfect.

[00:51:41] KM: No. No. He gets one day and then I get the next day. And then he gets the next day.

[00:51:44] GM: I have to finish y'all sentences for you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:51:45] KM: Yeah. You have to be a co-host for both of them. Because we need somebody to finish our sentences.

[00:51:51] GM: Ooh, yeah.

[00:51:53] CO: Sounds good to me right now.

[00:51:54] GM: Oh, yeah.

[00:51:55] KM: I know. Right? All right. To our listeners, this show was recorded in the hallow walls of Taborian Hall in Little Rock Arkansas and made possible by the good works of flagandbanner.com, Mr. Tom Wood, our audio engineer, Mr. Jonathan Hankins, our videographer. Daughter, Miss Megan Pitman, production manager. And my co-host, Mr. Grady McCoy IV. A.K.A. Son Gry.

Thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening. And that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life. And I'm Kerry McCoy. And I'll see you next time on Up in Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.


[00:52:35] GM: You've been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagandbanner.com, select radio show and choose today's guest. If you'd like to sponsor this show or any show, contact me, Gray. That's gray@flagandbanner.com. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Stay informed of exciting upcoming guests by subscribing to our YouTube channel or podcast wherever you like to listen. Kerry's goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.



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