If Robert “Sully” Sullivan’s face isn’t familiar, perhaps his voice is.
“Sully” is a radio host on KOGO-AM (600) and his views about everything from local politics to sports can be heard weekdays between 3 and 7 p.m.
Sully’s background is in investment banking, so he also hosts the nationally syndicated show “The Big Biz Show” with on-air partner Russ T. Nailz (bigbizshow.com).
A native San Diegan who went to Clairemont, Helix and Valhalla high schools, Sully tells us about life on the airwaves.
Q: Do you consider yourself a businessman with a radio show or a radio host who knows about investing?
A: My background is in investment banking and corporate finance and management consulting. I owned a number of banking firms here in San Diego both before and during my media career. So I suppose my answer would have to be businessman first. Business is in my DNA and I look at everything through the lens of business.
Q: What attracted you to business and investing in the first place?
A: Before I got my start in radio, I worked as a newspaper publisher in San Diego in the late 1980s. Then when I ran out of money, I raised money for my own small business and became an expert in that arduous process, hence becoming active as an intermediary in the venture community. I later became an investment banker and consultant.
Q: What did you think of the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street?”
A: Sadly, the film was very accurate of what was going on during that era. I can name at least three former firms here in San Diego that played like that.
Q: How did you begin your career in radio?
A: During my tenure as an investment banker, I became somewhat of an expert in the stock market and was asked to be a guest on a radio program on KCEO, which was San Diego’s original business talk station. A week later they asked me if I wanted to do my own morning show. A couple days a week and three months later, Cliff Albert, the most important program director in the news/talk format this side of the Mississippi, called and offered me an opportunity at KSDO. In six months, I went from not being on the radio to being on afternoon drive in the eighth-largest market. I’ve had the luckiest radio career on the planet.
Q: How would you describe your listeners? What kind of relationship do you have with them?
A: They are informed, they are the soul of San Diego, they are daring, they have an opinion and they share a thirst for calling it as they see it. And although they consistently keep me accountable, I have the utmost respect for those who take the time to be informed and to tell me “what’s what!”
Q: What do you listen to when you’re in the car?
A: I am so all over the place — Chris Merrill (KOGO), Ladona Harvey (KOGO), Bill Carroll (KFI), Frankie and Geena (Channel 933), The Show (Rock 105.3), The Bob and Coe Show (KGB) and Jesse and Delana (94.1).
Q: What San Diego issue are you most passionate about?
A: Our youth. We’re dealing with a new set of issues that we have given our children. Today is the day to stop promoting wussification (which will lead to low self-esteem when our kids enter the “real world”) and start promoting healthy self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem includes an appreciation for healthy competition and personal growth from adversity.
Q: You also play music. Please tell us about your band.
A: The name of the band is Sully & The Blue-Eyed Soul Band (sullyband.com). We are a group of Grammy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated musicians (no kidding) that play our unique brand of R&B (Earth, Wind and Fire; Stevie Wonder; Billy Preston; Otis Redding).
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you.
A: I am an excellent cook — I have references — and I’m a crier. Hallmark commercials, sappy love songs, you name it. It’s bad.
Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?
A: It is better to beg for forgiveness then to ask for permission.
Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.
A: It typically starts off with a Saturday morning bike with my mates from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which is very near and dear to my heart. Next it’s lunch with my daughters — both are in college so these days that is rare. Then I head down to 18th Street in Del Mar with the familiar, friendly faces there to surf, play beach volleyball and take some “Sully Time.” Weekend evenings are spent either gigging with the band, or having dinner with friends, or if I’m really lucky, spending it with someone special.