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Ken Byers Celebrates 5 Years of Weekend Spotlites

23 September 2010  

Five years of fun and entertainment have been the hallmark of the Weekend Spotlite, hosted by Ken Byers.

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Ken Byers during a recent show.

For five years, Ken Byers has hosted the Weekend Spotlite show on KQNA.

What's the Weekend Spotlite? Well, it's a live radio show complete with a real audience, that talks about upcoming weekend events in the quad-city area.

History of the Weekend Spotlite

We asked Byers to jot down how the show got started, and some of the things that has happened over the last 5 years. He sent a book, or at least a chapter, which we found to be quite interesting. Here it is, in his own words:

"In March of 2005, Lew Rees & I were enjoying an evening at Augie's in PV after the runoff election between Harold Wise & Tom Steele. We were talking about the fact that we were hearing a lot of people commenting that they never know what's coming up on the weekend until it's too late. So one idea after another went back & forth, and after getting some input from Allison Flannery, Weekend Spotlite was born.

"We started doing the show that following September, along with Don Stewart who was taping the show for the Access channels; Sandy Moss, who is still with me, doing movie reviews and JJ McCormick giving a rundown of what groups were playing where and also what shows were performing where that weekend.

'We started the show from the now defunct Johnny Carino's in PV. After about 7 months or so, Lew decided to leave the show when his newly acquired duties with The Fain Signature Group became too time demanding. I continued to host the show with Sandy & JJ still on board, and a few months later, JJ was replaced by Rex Ijams who was eventually replaced by Fast Freddy Lombardo who was eventually replaced by Dean Brenna. Seems we've had some trouble holding on to NightBeat NightOwls! Now, Sandy handles both segments with the occasional appearance of "Joe Cool" aka Sanford Cohen.

"After almost a year of doing the show, The Wild Woman from Walker, Jean Lupa came on board, somewhat reluctantly at first, to help control the crowd, which by then was getting way too big for the room at Carino's, and to also help with the giveaways after each show. Once Jean's "personality" was unleashed, there was no turning back! She has become a huge part of the success & longevity of the show. 

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After the show, there are a lot of things to give away.

"A little over a year from starting, Johnny Carino's closed their doors, and Spotlite was without a "home" for a couple weeks. I was doing the show from our KQNA studios, when the owners of what was then The Quality Inn & Suites contacted Jean and said they would like to have the show there in their Lariat restaurant. The next almost three years were huge! We were getting crowds of 60 to 70 people in each week for the show, and the extra room coupled with the tremendous digital delivery system our engineer Mark Parthe set up with the technical wizards from Bulleri Networks made it possible to have actual performers singing & playing on the show. It brought a whole new dimension to Spotlite. And, it also gave us the ability to go WORLDWIDE through our KQNA streaming system. I have family back east that tune in the show to listen on the web.

"Also joining us in our Lariat days, was hands down one of thee best photographers I have ever been fortunate enough to know, Stew Schrauger from Natural Visions Photography. Stew became the "official" photographer of Spotlite and supplied me with enough first rate professional photos of the shows to last longer than my memory will, I'm sure. When the hotel changed ownership, AGAIN Spotlite was without a "home."

"In December of last year, Scott Simmons came riding in on his Fuddruckers white horse and we've been doing the show there ever since.

"Weekend Spotlite is strictly an entertainment show. We don't do news, we don't do politics. We do strictly entertainment and have a heckuva lot of fun while we're doing it. We've "discovered" several local entertainers, chief among them, Drew Ryniewicz, a 14 year old Chino Valley girl who will definitely step out on the national stage at some point in her life because of her tremendous vocal talents. It's a lot of work & time putting each show together, but it has become such a labor of love and I have come across so many dear & sweet souls in the past 5 years, that I wouldn't change a thing.

"I'd like to thank all of the people that have supported the show with their attendance or sponsorship and just say, look out for the next 5 years!"

Tonight's Show

The Weekend Spotlite happens every Thursday night at 5 pm at Fuddruckers in the Entertainment District (ED) in downtown Prescott Valley. Typically, there are a couple of guests, Sandy Moss talks about current movies and Byers acts as emcee and tells a lot of jokes. That's what is heard on the radio side.

But, for folks that come to be part of the audience, there's much more that isn't heard on the radio side. To start with, Byers is a very funny guy, and he keeps folks laughing. And, then there's the Wild Woman of Walker, who keeps everything arockin' and arollin'.

But, it's when all the mics are turned off, and the show is over that the fun really begins. Byers has a great big box of goodies for those who stay through the show, and those in the audience can win everything from a lollipop to show tickets to Sundogs pictures and much more.

Since tonight's the 5th Anniversary of the Weekend Spotlite, Byers has pulled together a very special show, including Jessica Amerson, the winner of the 2010 Colgate Country Showdown who will be performing live. Get a sneak preview here:

In addition, Byers says, "the great folks at Yavapai College Performance Hall have given me, in honor of our 5th Anniversary, TWO PAIRS of tickets to Thursday night performance of the Broadway bound RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles! This IS NOT a traveling, casino-style, road group. This is THEE same group that will be performing an 11-week engagement on BROADWAY this fall!!!"

Byers is pretty enthusiastic, and he tends to talk a lot in capital letters and uses a lot of explanation points, as you can see.

The tickets for RAIN are for tonight's show, but as Byers explains, "The show starts at 7:30, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the fantastic Jessica Amerson, help us celebrate our 5th year, enjoy a fabulous $7 Fuddruckers Burger Meal Deal and make it to a BROADWAY show!!"

So, what does it cost to go to the Weekend Spotlight? Nothing. If you want to eat, though, there is a great $7 Burger Meal Deal, or maybe just get a snack, like sweet potato fries. In other words, you can come just as you are for free. If you want to buy goodies, and there's quite a selection at Fuddruckers, you can do that, too!

So, come on down tonight and plan to have a great time. It's all kinds of fun, and you might even win some great prizes!

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Sanford Cohen, left and Ken Byers, right.

Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.