A conversation with local country DJ Brent Michaels


Kayla Olivieri

Features Reporter


Brent Michaels is KUZZ’s Program Director and On-Air Personality. Brent loves his job, from covering large music festivals like Stagecoach, being nominated for a Country Music Association Award for On-Air Personality of the Year in 2016, 2017, and 2018, to playing songs on the radio every day for his loyal listeners.

Cortney Reed, a loyal listener and Junior and English major at CSUB, said, “I listen to KUZZ and Brent Michaels almost every day on my way to work and school. I connect and relate really well with country music. I just really enjoy it.”

Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Brent has lived in Bakersfield since 2001 after meeting his wife, a Bakersfield native, at the University of San Francisco where he graduated.

Brent knew at an early age that he was meant for a life in radio. When he was in Junior High School in Hawaii, Brent did a project on music censorship and had the opportunity to interview some program directors and tour radio stations.

“When I went into the radio station, I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen and seemed like so much fun. From then on, I pursued a career in radio.”

Brent went on to intern for a radio station in high school, then to work for the University of San Francisco’s radio station while he was in college.

When Brent found a life in Bakersfield, he called every radio station he could to try to land a job.

Brent’s advice to people looking to find a career in radio? “The biggest thing, and it’s really hard, is you don’t say no. Just like in anything super competitive like music, journalism, and acting, you really can’t say no and you need to stand out and put yourself out there.”

Brent’s work ethic, time spent “paying his dues”, and never saying no to the point of multiple personal sacrifices eventually paid off.

Brent started at KUZZ in 2008 and worked weekend and fill-in shifts until taking over the night show in 2015.  In 2016, he moved to middays and was promoted to Program Director of the station.

Brent’s most rewarding and favorite part of his job at KUZZ is taking a chance on new artists and watching them rise in the ranks of the country greats. He also said he loves “putting fans with artists”. He said, “From giving people meet and greets with their favorite artists to [something] as simple as bringing someone from the back row to the front, I love making that happen for fans. It brings excitement and allows them to experience something really cool.”

Ironically, country music was not a passion of Brent’s prior to working at KUZZ.

Brent laughed and said, “Funny enough, the one rule at our wedding was no country music allowed. And fortunately, now I can honestly say country music is my favorite genre. I live and breathe country music!”

Now, Brent’s life is entrenched with country music from his job to his hobbies and spare time going to concerts for fun. His favorite memory? A Garth Brooks meet and greet where Garth did an incredible card magic trick that to this day Brent and his wife Julie still can’t quite figure out how he pulled it off.

2018 brings the third consecutive year that Brent has been nominated for CMA Award for On-Air Personality of the Year in a Medium Market. Along with Brent’s nomination, KUZZ has also been nominated for Radio Station of the Year in a Medium Market.

Ryan Bianchi, a sophomore and business administration major at CSUB, said, “I’m very excited that KUZZ and Brent Michaels are representing Bakersfield, the Nashville of the west, this year because I believe they both give an accurate depiction of the country music popular to Bakersfield right now.”

“I think this is exciting! Being a smaller town, it’s nice to see people going places and really representing us,” Reed added.

Brent said, “I am really honored to get nominated and I don’t take that for granted at all. Fingers crossed, and I would love to bring the win back to Bakersfield and represent Bakersfield. It’s crazy that every year the day that the nominations are released hearing my name on the short list of only 5 people nationally to be nominated, and the only one on the West Coast.”

When looking toward the future, Brent is always looking to improve KUZZ and the listener experience. He appreciates his CSUB listeners and said, “If you ever have any advice for us on air, please share them with us! We want to play what you want to hear, and we want to make listening to KUZZ a great experience for you. We truly appreciate our college listeners because they are the present and future customers of radio, and their opinions matter massively.”

You can hear Brent Michaels on KUZZ Monday – Friday from 12:00pm – 3:00pm.

The CMA Awards will be broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Nov. 14 starting at 8/7 central. Viewers can tune into ABC for all the action.