- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Ask John Garrett how long it had been since he and Tommy Fields were on the air together and the answer comes in the form of an estimated guess.

“I’d say somewhere between 1 and maybe… 13 years?” Garrett says before the two start laughing. “We were on a break.”

Humor is a key part of the dynamic between Garrett and Fields, who recently returned together to morning radio. Simply known collectively as John & Tommy, the pair came back to radio in early November on WRBZ 95.5 FM. The two were previously on Y102 in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.

“It was the same show you hear now, only by about two guys who are about 15 years younger, 15 years less-wiser and with about 15 years less life experience,” Garrett said. “The things I would have said back then, I would have never said now.”

“And I had a little less grey hair than I do now,” Fields chimed in.

“Tommy had a lot less grey hair,” Garrett finished.

The two have a dynamic when they speak that gives off the impression that they are authentic friends, not just two people in a room talking. Garrett said that plays into their preparation for shows.

“We’re not going to get up at 3:30 in the morning just to be bored,” Garrett said. “We’re at least going to try to enjoy each other’s company, try to make each other laugh. And if we make somebody else laugh and enjoy their morning a tad more - hopefully more than a tad - then it’s a reason to wake up early.”

For Fields, the morning show resembles anything but a job.

“My favorite thing is that it’s a fabulous creative outlet and I get to spend 3-4 hours with one of my best friends,” he said. “We make each other laugh. What kind of job is that?”

After finishing up their run at Y102 in early 2003, both have taken routes outside of radio. Fields and his wife run a media production company, Big Dreamz Creative, that tailors to photo, video and website production. Garrett did spend some time at other radio outlets but also does voiceover work for television spots.

Garrett said their return to doing a radio show together has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve gotten more positive feedback in the last two weeks than I’ve gotten in a long time,” he said. “We didn’t know if anybody would remember us - or care - but people seem to be remembering the old stuff and we seem to have new listeners and new faces. It’s just been very exciting and encouraging.”

In the nearly 15 years since they’ve done a show together, a lot has changed in the media landscape namely with social media and podcasts. Both embrace the change, with Fields manning the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and occasionally live-streaming footage on Periscope.

“With the advent of social media, you’re already connected with people who know who you are,” Fields said. “It’s awesome to do something on the air and then have your Facebook page light up. Social media really gives you more of an outlet than you’ve ever had before.”

One major change since the two were last on the air is the increased role that Fields has in the show. Before, he would just come on and read the news with producers telling the two not to interact.

“Now it’s John AND Tommy, and it just makes for a better show,” Fields said.

Garrett welcomes the change and the working relationship between the two.

“We both have full ability to veto anything, it’s 50 percent his show,” he said. “If I want to do something, but he doesn’t want to then we don’t do it.”

The two consistently strive to be better while knowing they may try some ideas that won’t work out. But for the most part, their approach is simple.

“We have a rule - if it’s not funny, it at least needs to be interesting,” Garrett said. “If you can hit both of those, it would be great. And we’ll let you know if we ever do.”

___

Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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