Jeep Talk Show

The Faces of Jeep interview with Tony Muckleroy, Founder of Jeep Talk Show

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Tony: “When I was about 18 or 19 years old I wanted a Jeep. I checked with my insurance company and it was going to cost me $75 a month for liability only coverage. I got a full sized truck instead. My first 4×4 was just a few years later when I bought a brand new 1983 Chevy SWB.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Which model of Jeep is your favorite and why?”

Tony: “I went to the local Jeep dealer in 1997/1998 and found a TJ with 5 speed, hard top. I told my wife about it and we were going to return the next day and both have a look. She too had wanted a Jeep from when she was a young adult.  We both liked it but as we were standing in the showroom waiting to talk to a salesman, we both looked at the fire engine red Jeep Cherokee. I told my wife, with the girls (3 and 4 at the time) this 4 door Jeep would probably be better to have now instead of the 2 door Wrangler. She really wanted the Wrangler, but I told her after a few years we could trade in this Cherokee and get a Wrangler.  As it was a Jeep and both our favorite colours we test-drove and bought it. 20 years later I still drive it, daily.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What kind of wheeling to you enjoy best? ex..mudding,rock crawling, trail riding”

Tony: “Trail riding and mud. Both mean I am likely to be able to drive it to and from work in the coming week.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and which places would you recommend to others?”

Tony: “There is a place just North of Houston, about an hour’s drive from my home. I have only been a few times since my Cherokee would run hot at highway speeds, and I didn’t want to risk damaging the engine. Again going back to being able to drive to work come Monday morning.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has Jeep influenced your life and what inspired the idea for the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “The first 7 years we owned the Jeep it was just a pretty Jeep that got a few compliments. It was stock and I drove the hell out of it on the local roads.  It wasn’t until hurricane Rita in 2005 that I decided to lift it. I wanted this Jeep for our hurricane escape vehicle. The compliments went from a few a year to 5 or 6 a month. A lot of head turning, at least according to my daughters that notice such things. But I didn’t build it for compliments. I did think about my build and I wanted form but most importantly functionality. I did a lot of reading on the Internet Jeep forums and general online searches to learn more about the Jeep and how it worked. I was asked to join a Jeep Cherokee site as a moderator since I was always trying to help people with their questions from the information that I had learned. After a few months I became frustrated with the process of making suggestions to the site owner for things that I thought could improve the site, only to be told no. In 1995 I had researched and put the company that I worked for on the Internet, so I thought why am I wasting my time on this site I’ll just start my own. Searching for a good domain for the site was pretty hard since most were already taken. I went with a more obscure domain name using the 2 letter designator of the Jeep Cherokee “XJ” or xjtalk.com in the case of my new site. It didn’t take long for people to flock to the site. We never reached the numbers that older, more established Cherokee sites had, but we had a difference. There are NO DUMB questions! We were different that the other sites. If a member said something in a post that wasn’t acceptable we notified the poster, told them how their post would be modified, privately as not to embarrass them. It’s amazing that if you set the proper tone on a forum people fall into line.  We have only had one ban do to poor behavior on the site. Too help promote the xjtalk.com site, I started a pod cast called, wait for it, the XJ TALK SHOW!  See what I did there?”

“As time progressed, Josh joined the show after a post on xjtalk.com asking for help. Later Tammy joined the show because she was new, very excited about the Jeep and Jeep life, and woman, and had no idea what she was doing! I wanted women to see that someone, anyone, male or female could get into this hobby. Also Tammy could ask those basic questions of Josh and I. You know stop us from glossing over something we knew but to a newbie it made no sense.Tammy was also there to ask the questions that a beginner would ask.  Shortly after Tammy joined we changed the name of the show to Jeep Talk Show.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “Listener interaction. It is very cool that someone would take the time to download and listen to our show, but when someone takes the time (for good or bad) to email, call, review, etc. The show it’s very special to me. That means they care about the show!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How do you come up with episode ideas, and how do you prepare for the show?”

Tony: “I’m lucky, I get to be the smart ass. Josh puts all the show notes together, and writes his segments, This Week in Jeep and Tech Talk are the primary ones. Tammy writes her Wrangler Talk and Must Have Jeep Stuff (Josh does these as well) I get to sit back and crack wise. Sometimes I do my own segments, but with three host and limited time I’m fine with them doing what they are doing.”
FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long are your episodes and which days do you pod cast?”

Tony: “We shoot for 90 minutes. 20 minutes for a guest interview and 60 minutes for the rest of the show. 10 minutes in there just in case. We have gone almost 2 hours recently though. That’s the great thing about being the master of our own domain.”

FOJ- [Natasha]: “How many guest have you interviewed/featured on your show?”

Tony: “We have been doing guest interviews for many years. Problem was that in a 60 minute show (the time up until episode 301) wasn’t enough time to do an interview and a regular show. I would estimate we’ve had over 50 interviews in our 7 year run.”

FOJ- [Natasha]: “Who was your favorite guest and why?/ or most memorable moment on the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “We interviewed Wayne in Christchurch New Zealand just days after their major quake and how he used his modified 4×4 Jeep Cherokee to assist people in need. We interviewed the guy in the Cherokee that parked next to the ill-behaved corvette owner, taking up two places at a local eatery. Recently we’ve spoken to people from Bestop, Raceline wheels, Treadwright tires. The people we interview don’t have to be big names in the industry. Everyone has an interesting story to tell.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are the future goals for the Jeep Talk Show?”

Tony: “The team has this reoccurring discussion. Listening to our show it sounds good to us. We get pretty good feedback from people, but we keep trying to figure out a way to get more listeners. In the last 5 years we’ve had more that 500k downloads, but with so many Jeep owners around the world we think our numbers should be much higher. How do you get more listeners when you have ZERO budget for advertising? A lot of the free things we can do are distasteful to me. I hate repeating how great the show is over and over again. I know that this is what we all see in radio and TV daily, but I just hate being that guy. I really need to get over it. We don’t even ask people to tell their friends about us. We really could use some grass roots help in getting the word out.”

“There are a few reasons we want to grow our audience. First and foremost it is work putting the show on and having people download our show is a great pat on the back of what is usually a very lonely job. The other is with more downloads and audience reach we can have advertisers. Advertisers help pay for our costs, but it could also help pay to send Josh and Tammy to events across the nation. Meet people get information for the show, just generally improve the show. Thank you for giving me a chance to answer your questions. I hope this gives you a better understanding about who I am and what the Jeep Talk Show is.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Tony for sharing the Jeep Talk Show journey with us. We love the show and all the hard work you, Josh and Tammy do for the jeeping community. We look forward to watching the Jeep Talk Show grow and wish you and the team all the best in the future.”

Photo from Tony Muckleroy, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Tony Muckleroy

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