Hotrod Radio guys go on the road

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Lynn Greene | July 7, 2017

It's been 10 years and counting since Bob Trinastic, aka Capt'n Bob, and Doug Dillman, aka Arlo, got together over a tape machine and a love of old cars.

Dillman is a graphic artist and instructor at Madison Area Technical College, but he's always had an affinity for old cars.

“I grew up in a garage, daydreaming of the day when I'd have my own hotrod,” he said.

Trinastic, who owns a '39 Ford hot rod, met Dillman, the owner of a '41 Ford hot rod, at a car show — of course. Trinastic asked him to do a cartoon of his car ... with skeletons. Dillman did.

Soon, the two of them started their shtick as Capt'n Bob and Arlow. They started their Hotrod  radio show in 2007.

“We thought we'd do this hour show and then we'd be back mowing the lawn,” said Capt'n Bob. “Instead it turned into this 40-hour-a-week thing.”

A fun thing, but a thing nonetheless. The show is a mix of their personalities, oft times quirky, a bit irreverant and a whole lot of fun.

Car guys like to listen to the radio when they tinker in the garage or pop their head under the hood of their latest driveway project, so once they found it on air, they tuned in. Listeners like George Tally of rural Burlington give the show a big thumbs-up and continue to tune in every Saturday.

“Never miss it,” says Tally from behind the wheel of his '80s Dodge Shelby. “Sometimes I listen twice — they got them recorded so they're archived.”

Tally, who likes to work on his cars himself, has had a variety of vehicles over the years — everything from an old Honda motorcycle to a street rod truck — says the show is fun but informative.

“They get some interesting folks on there,” he said.

Capt'n Bob and Arlo have interviewed the famous to not so famous, but totally car nuts.

“What was really cool is we interviewed a lot of the people we admired, our heroes in the industry,” said Arlo.

The list includes Jay Leno, who at last count was over 100 cars and nearing that many motorcycles, and Adam West, who played Batman on the '60s television series of the same name.

 “To the Batmobile ...” was a common phrase in the show referring to the customized Ford concept car. People attending the Cars Time Forgot show last year got a closeup look at one of the Batmobiles — it was one of the featured attractions. Visitors were curious to check out the Bat-glove compartment, the Bat-collector, Bat-deflector and Bat-ray.

Having these specialty cars at the show creates interest, said Russ Hays, co-chair of the show. “This year, we've got the Mystery Machine from the Scooby Doo cartoons and movies,” Hays said.

Capt'n Bob and Arlo say the strange and unusual bring new enthusiasts to the car shows, but it's the combination of cars and people that keep them interested. It's the same for the radio show, which led to a website, WisconsinHotRodRadio.com, where the two hosts continue what they started on air. They post car shows and for-sale-and-trade.

“It used to be you only heard about car shows when you went to a car show. People would go around with flyers and by the time you left, you'd have a stack. We'd go through 'em and let people know about them,” said Arlo.

Now, there are 600,000 views per month on the website, with more than 1,000 events listed every year. The show's website includes a PODcast, “Hot Rod Adventures of Capt'n Bob and Arlo,” with archived shows also available.

The duo goes on the road quite often during car show season, taking in as many shows as they can — from Detroit's Autorama to Chicago's World of Wheels; Horicon's Motors on the Marsh to the Street Rod Nationals in Kentucky.

The hot rod adventures of Capt'n Bob and Arlo will be at the Cars Time Forgot show, where they'll be awarding the trophies, talking cars and meeting new friends.

In the meantime, listen live from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday mornings at  WJYI Milwaukee AM-1340.



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