Greg Kihn: Rocker, novelist, radio disc jockey 

As a mainstream rock musician in the 1980s, Greg Kihn found success by writing earnest, simple tunes, such as "The Breakup Song [They Don’t Write ’Em Like That Anymore]," while maintaining an approachable, everyman persona.

Now, more than 20 years later, Kihn continues to exude that same carefree candor as a top-rated disc jockey for the classic rock station KFOX 98.5 FM in San Jose.

"I found that if you plan out a show, it usually sucks," said Kihn, whose group, the Greg Kihn band, put out 11 albums in the ’70s and ’80s. "If you do something perfect it’s boring. But if you make a mistake, it’s compelling and honest. They remember when you screw up, and I’m a screw-up, so I tend to make some memorable shows."

His easygoing attitude should not be mistaken for a lack of ambition, however, as Kihn will not only be launching his new syndicated radio show, titled "Big Rock Beat," sometime soon, but he is also working on his fifth novel and is in the beginning stages of developing his own film production company.

Kihn, who has been living in the Bay Area since 1974, began his career as a disc jockey in 1994 as an alternative to the grind of playing endless tours with his group.

"I tell you, playing in Cleveland on a Thursday night ain’t that fun," said Kihn, whose first novel, "Horror Show," was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for excellence in the horror genre. "When I was presented with the opportunity to host my own rock show on KFOX, I realized that it was the best move for me at the time. We just celebrated 10 years of my morning show, so we must be doing something right."

As part of his contract stipulation, Kihn will be able to take segments from his regularly scheduled morning talk show and use them as a part of his nationwide syndicated program, which will run in the


"We’ve already received some great interest in markets like Denver and Toronto," Kihn said. "It’s been a grind, but hopefully we’ll be able to get this thing off the ground soon."

The long hours devoted to his new projects may be draining, but Kihn has remained resolute about his latest career developments.

"I’m going to get old soon," Kihn said. "I realized that I gotta get this stuff all out of me while I still can."

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Will Reisman

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