Twins Joey and Jesse Tack say they’ve never had a sibling rivalry.
The 2001 Central DeWitt graduates were born on the same day, followed the same career path, and are now nominated for the same prestigious national award.
Both are well-entrenched in the radio industry, and both their stations — Joey at KNCI-FM in Sacramento, California, and Jesse at WUBE-FM in Cincinnati, Ohio — have been nominated for the Country Music Awards’ Large Market Station of the Year prize.
“It’s a fairly big honor as only five stations nationwide are nominated in each category, and it just so happens, since Sacramento and Cincinnati are of similar population, we’re in the same category,” Jesse said.
The CMA awards show will air on ABC at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, but the award winners are announced about a month prior to the show. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards will not take place in front of a live audience this year.
Growing up, the Tacks, the sons of Barb and Bruce Brock and Bill and Julie Tack, developed a love for radio when they were youngsters. They remember listening to Eastern Iowa radio stations in the middle 1990s, including one of their favorites, 98.9 FM, a pop station at that time.
“We would pretend to be radio DJs at home and eventually, we started talking on the phone with a few Quad-City radio DJs and racked up several long-distance phone bills that our parents weren’t too happy about,” Jesse remembered.
When they were 16, they nabbed a fall 1999 internship at WLLR-FM after reaching out to that station’s program director, Jim O’Hara. A part-time gig there followed, where the brothers worked nights, — on the air — for three years.
That was the stepping stone for their budding radio careers. Jesse followed his love for broadcasting to Kansas City in 2003 and then Cincinnati in 2005. Joey’s career path took him to Knoxville, Tennessee, and then to his current station in Sacramento.
Jesse is an on-air DJ broadcasting from 3 to 7 p.m. at WUBE-FM, and Joey is program director at KNCI-FM. Joey said he’s responsible for “nearly everything you hear on the radio” including music choice, hiring DJs, and developing promotional events.
Developing a ‘rivalry’
The brothers have played up a perceived sibling rivalry over the past couple weeks, and have uploaded several videos to their respective station websites with friendly banter.
“We’re the worst at competing with each other,” Joey said. “It has been fun to play up the rivalry these past few weeks.”
“I’ve called our Mom (Barb Brock) with Joey on the phone and asked her to predict who she thought would win. Not surprisingly, she wouldn’t take the bait,” Jesse said.
Barb did get the honor of deciding a “punishment” for the brother who doesn’t win.
“She said the losing twin has to buy the other a gift card to Cheesecake Factory, Jesse said. “We’ve also tossed around the idea of making the ‘loser’ face their fears and remove a fish from a hook. Embarrassingly, it’s something both Joey and I struggle with.
“I do look forward to seeing Joey scream a little,” Jesse said jokingly.
Jesse expressed pride that Joey’s station was nominated also, and was particularly excited when he first found out.
“My first reaction was ‘wow, good for him,’” Jesse said. “My second thought was ‘Oh my god, we’re in the same category.’
“I know he took a lot of that on solo so I was very proud of him and his staff for being nominated.”
The nomination process includes submitting a detailed packet that includes the station’s contribution to their local community as well as the country music industry as a whole. Stations also must submit audio clips from each DJ’s show and other important clips from throughout the year.
“The CMA is a long-standing, well respected organization and being nominated for an award like this is very humbling,” Jesse said.
Joey and Jesse’s stations are pitted against three other stations around the U.S. — KUBL in Salt Lake City, WMIL in Milwaukee and WWKA in Orlando.
“When they announced our station as a finalist it took my breath away,” Joey said. “We put so much work into the submission packet and it felt very rewarding just to be nominated.”