WPKX-FM (105.9) has stolen Rita Bentley away from its rival country station. The radio comic, who originates in Richmond, has been a part of the morning show of WMZQ-FM (98.7) for more than a year.
Bentley, 29, will be calling KIX's John Bodnar daily to talk about life in fictional Short Pump, Va., where her character Rita Bodine lives in a double-wide trailer with four children and her mother. Rita Bodine, says Bentley, who created her in 1977, is "slightly educated," drives a truck for the local creamery and in her spare time sells cosmetics and detergent and does manicures.
Bentley, a programming assistant at top-ranked WRVQ in Richmond, became a regular contributor to WMZQ in August 1983, but said KIX made her a better offer. KIX general manager William Sherard said that in strategic research studies, "Her name kept popping up. We found that despite the minimal amount of time she had been on the air, she was the top country personality." She starts Jan. 2 and KIX is planning to syndicate her routines. "It indicates to some degree how far country music has come that we are not oversensitive to putting a parody of a real dirt-kicker on the air," said Sherard. As for her portrayals, Bentley said, "I always try to put a little bit of news into my reports and I always try to screw it up -- like Geraldine DeLorean running with Walter Mondale."