It was already a pretty good year for Bill "Dex" Poindexter, but it got better this week thanks to a phone call to WUSY-FM 100.7 from country artist Brad Paisley.
He called this year's winners in the 2012 Country Music Association Awards personally to tell them the good news. Dex was not the only one called to the phone. He and on-air partner Melissa Turner won together for 2012 CMA Broadcast Personality of the Year, Small Market, for the "Dex and Mo Show."
WUSY won for Station of the Year, Small Market.
"That makes 10 Station of the Year awards," said Clear Channel Chattanooga market manager Jared Stehney, "which is the most of any station in America."
Stehney said it is also the first time that anyone took station and personality of the year awards in the same year.
"Winning is a combination of on-air sound, ratings and community service," he said. "Three areas we concentrate on, strive to excel in and try to deliver daily to Chattanoogans."
• • •
Local hip-hop artist, producer and genre champion Kunstruct called this week to provide an update on his group Natural Habitz.
To say that members Kunstruct, Meda, Dice Roll'em and Doughboi take what they do seriously is a bit of an understatement. For them, hip-hop is a lifestyle, and what they are most interested in doing is putting the fun back into it.
Their latest CD, "The Fantastic Four," musically showcases that thinking, but the title itself is loosely representative of it as well.
"We've been branded by our label as being seen as hip-hop superheroes trying to bring the fun side of hip-hop back," Kunstruct said.
"We want to put out great music that doesn't glorify negative images but is the way hip-hop used to be when we came up on it."
He said the braggadocio that is so much a part of hip-hop lyrics is still there, but it's all in fun.
In keeping with the cartoon superhero theme, Kunstruct said he is most like Plastic Man -- "always in the lab making beats."
Meda is the Invisible Woman, "because offstage she is very shy, but onstage she is a beast and her superpowers come out."
Dice "is the Torch because he is all about having a good time and always on."
"Doughboi is real strong and powerful. We liken him to The Thing."
"The Fantastic Four" is available locally at FYE and online at bestbuy.com and amazon.com. Kunstruct said 5,000 people preordered it, and it continues to do well.
Natural Habitz is scheduled to shoot videos for the songs "Rock This Way" and "Music" from the CD soon.
He also said Meda will release a solo album in the next couple of months called "Blasting Off Sector One," and she is working with French producer Kyo Itachi on a CD that will be released in France next year.
Kunstruct originally called to get the word out about a benefit concert the group was doing last night.
"Activism is important in hip-hop," he said. "It's important to help others and to give back when we can."
The group will perform during another benefit at The Honest Pint on Nov. 13.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...