Long known for his role as James West on the popular 60's series "The Wild, Wild, West," Robert Conrad remains one of television's most recognized personalities. Despite having left the industry over 10 years ago, Conrad is once again experiencing a resurgence thanks to a new role he had never considered before - radio show host.
Over the past five years, Conrad has hosted the nationally syndicated radio program, "The Robert Conrad Show," produced by CRN Digital Talk Radio, on Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m. Pacific. The show features the veteran actor chatting with listeners, offering advice about the entertainment industry as well as interviewing some of the biggest names in film and television.
Conrad went on star on the long-running World War II action series, "The Black Sheep Squadron," as well as dozens of appearances on other shows and motion pictures such as "Jingle All the Way," with Arnold Schwarzenegger, "New Jersey Turnpikes," and many others.
Q: How did you get involved in radio?
A: My friend, actor Larry Manetti of “Magnum P.I.” was talking to Michael Horn, head of CRN and he told him about how I could tell stories and engage listeners and that I would be terrific on the radio. So Mike contacted me and one thing led to another and I was on the radio.
Q: Did you think you would have such a huge hit show five years later?
A: No. Not at all. I thought for sure this would last just a few weeks and people would get tired of it and that would be that. I really thought this wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks. But we started getting more and more listeners and here I am, five years later. It’s bigger than anybody imagined and it’s just incredible. We have listeners in Canada, England, France, you name it.
Q: Why did you want to try radio?
A: My dad was a big radio guy in Chicago where I grew up so I always loved radio. It’s always been a part of my life in one way or another, so I wanted to give it a try and have some fun.
Q: It’s a big jump from doing television and movies, isn't it?
A: It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever done, so I knew it would be a challenge. I didn’t think I would bomb, but I didn’t think it would be so popular. For me, I love talking to people and hearing what they have to say. I’m always running into fans and I have to tell you, the fans are the best. They want to get to know you and they want to talk about my shows and what I’m doing so it’s a lot of fun. And that’s what this show is about and I love it.
Q: You're known to everyone as Jim West, the super agent in the classic television series “The Wild, Wild West.” Do you mind having that connection all these years later?
A: I love it. I had such a great time on that show that I don’t mind one bit if people just remember me as Jim West. It was a great character who fought for justice and always got the girl at the end. It’s not a bad gig to have.
Q: You did your own stunts on the show and you had some severe injuries at times. Why didn't you get a stunt double to do the hard stuff?
A: I’ve always been in great shape and I’m not going to let somebody do something that I can do. Of course, I never intended to hurt myself, but sometimes it happens. I had a Six inch lineal fracture, high temporal concussion, or broken skull in one episode. I had to go to the hospital, but that’s what happens. But after I got back, I kept doing my own stunts. In fact, I am the only actor in the Stuntman’s Hall of Fame, of which I’m very proud of.
Q: You also did the TV series “Black Sheep Squadron,” “High Sierra Search and Rescue” and dozens of movies and TV appearances. Do you miss doing that?
A: I still get asked to do television and films and I keep turning them down because I love doing this show and I love spending time with my family. But you never know when I’ll be back.