Open in App
AZCentral | The Arizona Republic

Ben Campbell has 'no regrets' about parting ways with KNIX-FM in Phoenix after decades

By Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic,


When Ben Campbell disappeared from the “The Tim, Ben & Brooke Show” on KNIX-FM earlier this year, neither he nor the station offered any explanation.

Months later, Campbell said he’s still not sure what happened.

“I mean, I don't think it was anything I did,” Campbell said recently. “It wasn't like I went out and put a sack of puppies in a bag and threw them over a bridge. I didn't do anything like that, not that I know of, I mean. I could be annoying, I guess at times for some, but can't we all, right?”

More seriously, Campbell said he couldn’t talk much about it.

Calling Phoenix Suns is 'the dream':Al McCoy passes the mic to Jon Bloom

’God bless them and they can do what they want to do’

“I've gotten kind of a deal where I can't really say anything negative toward iHeartMedia (the company that owns KNIX). But you know, I'll preface the whole conversation by saying I don't have anything negative to say, anyway. It just is what it is. I was released from my contract and really wasn't given a reason why. …

“It's just after a long time, I guess, it was just going in a different direction. So you know, God bless them and they can do what they want to do. It’s their house. They can paint it however they want to paint it.”

Campbell hasn’t looked back since. At least not much.

“Yeah, no regrets or any animosity there whatsoever,” he said.

If you think this is one of those stories where change is forced upon someone, only for them to find out it was a blessing in disguise, then you are exactly right.

“A part of me is, not to sound hippie-dippy-trippy, but thankful that I'm going down a new path, because it's exciting,” Campbell said. “Every time I've had to pivot — as that term, you know, was born over the pandemic — every time I've had to do that in my life, it seems like good things have happened. And they already are happening. So that's good.”

Campbell is best known to his Phoenix audience as a radio host. And why wouldn’t he be? He co-hosted “The Tim, Ben and Brooke Show” on KNIX with Tim Hattrick and Brooke Hoover weekday mornings from 2016 until his exit. Before that he co-hosted “The Ben and Matt Show” with Matt McAllister; Campbell and McAllister were named personalities of the year by the Academy of Country Music in 2009 and the Country Music Association in 2015.

But that’s just part of Campbell’s professional life.

“My whole schtick is impressions,” Campbell said. “That's how I got into this business. I am a celebrity impressionist. … What kept me in radio for almost 30 years, I think, is I had a schtick. I had an angle.”

Kevin McCabe left TV:Then he became the 'dean' of Arizona high school sports

Campbell started out in stand-up comedy

Campbell has an impressive resume on this front. He’s appeared in films and in TV shows — or, more often, he’s been heard in them. He’s done voice work in commercials. He was on Howard Stern’s show three times this summer, he said, and appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Campbell started out at 16 or 17 sneaking into open mic comedy shows he was too young for. Impressions were the focus of his act.

“My path was either, OK, what do you do with celebrity impressions, you either do a stand-up comedy act, or you do radio. And all the comedians that I was working with — we were traveling around in a station wagon, chasing a paycheck from small town to small town — were like, why don't you do radio? You can stay in one place. You can have a family, you get benefits. And I'm like, there's something to that. So I heeded that advice.”

He majored in TV broadcasting at the University of Mississippi and had a radio show. That led to working in radio after college. And he was able to parlay his impression skills into a thriving career.

“We had some epic prank phone calls,” Campbell said. “We called Tim McGraw as George Strait when he had his second baby, got through to him, had conversations with him. I called (football coach) Barry Switzer when he won the national championship as Bill Clinton and got through to, like, the jet — like, he's on the jet. ‘OK, patch him through.’ I mean, that's the fun part of what I brought to the table.”

That’s the kind of thing Campbell misses — the interaction with the audience, of course, and the seat-of-your-pants nature of live radio.

“I love the fact that it's different every day,” he said. “And I was doing a show that highlighted my personality, which was fun. I was always kind of painted as the guy that has a really unique talent but can't tie his own shoelaces. And that's kind of true, you know, so God giveth, God taketh away.”

‘The greatest thing that ever happened’

Now, after his departure from KNIX, Campbell is leaning into his vocal work. He’s doing voiceover gigs, emceeing corporate events and more. (His website details his work and his availability.)

“I'm doing anything and everything that has to do with the art of vocal entertainment, I guess you could say,” he said.

And he sounds pretty positive about it.

“It's like you're forced to swim in a pool and go the other direction,” Campbell said. “And all the cliches apply, like one door closes, another one opens. One step back, two steps up. I think they're cliches because it's true.

“Every time I've had a situation that seems daunting in front of me, yeah, it's stressful. It's not always fun, but it seems like you look back and you go, that was the greatest thing that ever happened.”

Reach Goodykoontz at Facebook: Twitter: @goodyk.

Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment
Most Popular newsMost Popular

Comments / 0