Popular on-air personality Mark “Hawkeye” Louis has been waking up DFW-area residents, on 96.3-FM KSCS, since 1988. (That was the year before the Dallas Cowboys drafted Troy Aikman!)
Over his career, Louis has been awarded Billboard Magazine’s Radio Personality of the Year, the Academy of Country Music’s Major Market Personality of the Year and he is a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. This perennial early riser is also an avid supporter of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Cook Children’s Hospital and their summer camp for cancer patients, Camp Sanguinity.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved around a lot as a kid. We lived in East Lansing, Michigan, for quite a few years when my dad taught ROTC at Michigan State University. We also lived overseas in Turkey, and I went to high school in Hawaii. My dad was stationed in San Antonio after I graduated, and that’s where I started in radio.
How did you get into radio and why radio?
I was always fascinated by radio, even as a young kid. I remember seeing the mobile studio of a local station in the Sears parking lot, and my mom would swing by so I could wave to the DJ.
After 30 years, I’m sure you’ve had your share of interviewing artists. Which singer was the most interesting and why?
Garth Brooks, because he is not only extremely talented, he is also a marketing genius.
You support some children’s organizations, especially those that cater to kids with cancer. Why did you choose them and what are some ways you support them?
I got involved with Cook Children’s Hospital and their cancer camp by chance. A number of years ago, I hadn’t seen one of my neighbors for a week and I asked him where he had been. He said he had volunteered at a camp for kids at Cook Children’s Hospital. I had worked at summer camps in college and told him I was interested in volunteering next summer. I’ve lost track of how many summers I worked as a counselor. I mainly work now in fundraising. We have a radiothon in the fall for the hospital and we’ve just completed our second annual “Night of 1000 Laughs” with the Four Day Weekend improv group for the hospital.
What one word best describes your 30 years of radio?
Fun. My favorite four hours of the day are the four hours we spend doing the show.
An on-air radio personality depends a lot on listeners and their participation. How important are your KSCS listeners?
They are the best part of the job. I love when we are out at a concert or some other event and a listener comes up to discuss something we did on the show. I kind of feel like I have thousands of friends and know everybody in town. How could you not like that.
You don’t do the morning show without help. You and your co-host, Connected K, “connect.” How does she contribute to the success of “Hawkeye in the Morning”?
We connect because we have the same kind of sense of humor, and we both aren’t afraid to be a bit of a dork. I also love the fact that she brings a completely different perspective to the show than mine.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Few people realize that I have a second job. I am vice president of the BMW Dallas Marathon and runDallas. We are a nonprofit that puts on a number of running events and supports a variety of youth fitness initiatives. I am very proud of the work we do with kids in the DFW area, especially with childhood obesity being a huge issue locally. If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would be serving on the executive committee of a major sporting event, I would have not believed them
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My wife and I love to travel. I recently started a travel podcast, Travel With Hawkeye, and am hoping to cross a few places off my bucket list in the next few years.
What do you think the future holds for radio? Will it still have a place in society or our social media world?
People definitely use radio differently than they did 20 years ago. People don’t tune into our show to hear the news, they get that on their phone. They tune in to be entertained, to feel a connection to not only the DJs, but to the vast amount of other people listening. Radio is still a communal experience, and that part hasn’t changed.
Cover: Mark “Hawkeye” Louis in the studio. Photo courtesy KSCS
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.