We’ve been fortunate enough over the last several years to meet many amazing people in and around the wine scene here on the central coast. I can honestly say that, for me, nobody stands out more than Adam Montiel. He is absolutely one of the biggest personalities on the central coast and he shows that time and again on his radio shows, Up and Adam on Q104.5 as well The Cork Dorks show.
I have also had the opportunity to watch him work, to party with him, and attend events with him and he is, without question, a super kind, funny, and genuine dude. What you see is what you get. I specifically wanted to ask him some questions that would open the door a little bit on who he is. He’s the one always doing the interviews so it was nice turning the tables on him.
Without further ado, my Q&A with Adam.
Matt: Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
Adam: I was born in Westlake Hospital in Westlake Village, CA and grew up in Agoura Hills.
Matt: Why radio?
Adam: I have loved radio ever since I was a young boy. I would use my dual cassette to record me talking over songs that I recorded from the radio.
Matt: Favorite radio personality that got you hooked on radio?
Adam: I grew up listening to guys like Rick Dees, Brian Burns (Mr. Rock n Roll), The Reele Don Steele. Was inspired by Phil Hendrie for his creativity on air, and Howard Stern for his interviews.
Matt: What city did you start in? How many years have you been in radio now?
Adam: My fist gig was at an NPR station at Cal Lutheran University, KCLU. I played jazz music in the afternoon, and worked on the air for free. My first paying gig was a contemporary Christian station in Oxnard/Ventura, KDAR. Within three months, I was in the afternoon drive spot. That was the year 2000.
Matt: What local radio stations are you on and what are the show names?
Adam: I host ‘Up & Adam in the Morning’ weekdays Live from 6a-10p. Weekdays I also host between 10a-1p on The Krush 92.5, with our Liquid Lunch show live the last hour of that at 12 noon. I also have ‘Cork Dorks’ where we go to different wineries and interview some of the most interesting personalities behind the central coast wine scene, and even get put to work a bit ourselves and get pretty hands on.
Matt: Can you name your favorite San Luis Obispo County event, or how about top 5?
Adam: Man, there are so many great events here, but if I had to list 5, and not worry about hurting feelings, I would say, in no specific order, The Mac & Cheese Fest, Earth Day Food & Wine Fest, Barrel to Barrel at The Cliffs for Wine Waves & Beyond, Beaverstock, and the SLO Film Festival, and all the events surrounding that. And how about any party on the hill at Opolo, or Industry party (or ZinFest party) at Tobin James. But honestly, another few just popped in my mind. We really are lucky to live in an area where there is always so much to do in the way of events, and many of them have a non-profit or charity aspect to them, so it makes it even that much more rewarding.
Matt: You are one half of The Cork Dorks, favorite wine variety?
Adam: Again, a really tough one. Sometimes I think I am more in the mood for a certain variety more than one is my favorite. I love Pinot Noir, and I love red blends. I also have been way more into whites than ever before. Marsanne/Roussanne blends, white blends, Vermentinos, Pinot Gris, etc.
Matt: If you’re not drinking wine what is your favorite alternative adult beverage?
Adam: I love craft cocktails! With places like Sidecar and Granada Bistro who specialize in craft cocktails and spirits, AND with the fact so many of our friends locally are making local spirits, it makes it so much fun to enjoy local cocktails, with local ingredients right here. Not even the most posh areas of SF or LA have the access we do here to that.
Matt: What’s the best thing about your co-host of Cork Dorks, Jeremy? Worst thing?
Adam: The best thing about Jeremy is, for a couple of guys who don’t pretend to know a lot about wine, he really has a good palate. I feel he can identify profiles and zero in on specific notes better than I can. As far as on the air, he’s great because our friendship and on air chemistry are really seamless I feel. We both know where to jump in, and I think we go back and forth really well together. The worst about Jeremy is maybe his spelling, or the way he mispronounces simple words…but when it’s on the air, its goes back to being one of the best things about him, because it’s pretty funny when he messes up words like Counoise, or Sommelier. Haha
Matt: When you’re not working what’s your favorite thing to do in SLO County?
Adam: I feel when I am not working, I sometimes want to just do nothing. I think because of what I do, sometimes what I do when I am working or not working are kind of the same. We’ll go wine tasting close to home like Chamisal, or maybe hit up Blacksheep for a drink. We actually saw a movie in the theater for the first time in a while. (Trainwreck = super funny) I’ve never lived more than 20 min away from a beach, so that is also always a place I like to go. I love watching Allie run and play in the water.
Matt: You seem to work 60 to 70 hours a week…is that accurate and you must be in need of a vacation…ultimate vacation for you would be?
Adam: I do work a lot. I am lucky that I am not digging a ditch, and that God has blessed me and allowed to use these other talents he’s given me to work in this business doing what I do. I love hosting events, I love being active in the community. I also love the work I do on the air with the morning show, and the wine shows. I am being honest when I say though that a legit and real vacation somewhere is overdue. I would love to try one of these River Cruises through historic wine country that AMA Waterways does. I just learned about them and I am excited to plan something.
Matt: Is your dog, Allie (infamous for the video of her breaking into the refrigerator and freezer), more famous than you or not?
Adam: She is by far. People ask about her all the time. She had done a couple VW print ads, and been in a couple TV commercials, but the viral video took it to another level. We were having brunch at The Cliffs a few weeks ago, and a stranger found out who she was, approached us, talked about her video, then gave us hugs! haha. Allie has always been a special dog, and has always connected to people in a unique way. That video was seen on newscasts in all 50 states, appeared in People, Huffington Post, even made it on Japan TV, it was definitely bigger than we had ever imagined.
Matt: Favorite type of music? Favorite band currently (local and non-local)?
Adam: In general, I like a ton of music. I could say most music, besides metal. Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Allen Stone, Tyrone Wells, Bruno Mars, Bone Thugs, George Benson, 2Pac, Jason Mraz, and can’t forget The Carpenters.
Matt: Favorite SLO County wine personality? If you can’t answer maybe list a few?
Adam: We have a ton of great personalities here. Gary Eberle is up there. He is so candid, and just puts it out there. He’s a great interview. For some reason, the guys from Anderson Road on the 46 West just came to mind, Richie Hartinburger (Midnight), Eric Jensen (Booker), Andrew Nelson (Tooth & Nail), Joe Barton (Grey Wolf) all have huge personalities, and make for great radio. I had a ton of feedback from our show with Justin Smith and Saxum, that was incredible. We have a show coming up with Russel From of Herman Story that will be one for the broadcast museums as well! As far as the ladies, there are so many strong women in wine country here that come to mind when you say favorite wine personalities. I love everything about Jordan Fiorentini from Epoch. Makes bad ass wines, and enjoys what she does and her job, and her team. They also seem to love working for her. I think of Janell Dusi who obviously has head trained wine flowing through her blood. I worked with her in radio for a while, and I love seeing everything she has accomplished. Recently met Janis Denner with Peletiere Estate, she was impressive. Which gets me into Amy Butler. Talent and personality for days. I know I am leaving many out, so much personality here in the wine biz. It’s why our show is doing so well.
Matt: Favorite music venue?
Adam: I love the music that Todd and his team at Good Medicine Presents have brought to the central coast for years. I am thrilled it will be in a better venue than before. I know SLO will be rolling back the curtain on some new venues soon which will be exciting. Tooth & Nail in Paso has really raised the live music game with their Friday night Pop Up Music series too. I also love shows on the big stage at The Cliffs in Pismo for Live on the Rocks. And of course there’s something about a packed show on a summer night at the fair that is pretty hard to beat.