Ask brothers John and Jeff Ramsey who’s the more manly of the two, and you’ll instantly spark a humble debate.
“Oh, he’s more manly,” assures Jeff, one-half of The Ramsey Brothers, the weekday morning radio show airing 5 to 9 a.m. on WVEZ Lite 106.9 FM.
“How do you define it?” John – the other half – questions, deflecting the honor.
“Look at him!” Jeff pleads.
“I don’t think that’s true, Jeff. That’s nice of you to say, but I’m (Jeff’s) biggest fan,” John concedes.
Don’t bother inquiring who’s the funnier comedian, either. You’ll get the same result: “We share the funny,” testifies Jeff, who began his career alongside John as a stand-up comedian.
“We started in Louisville doing amateur contests and things and then an agent kind of found us, and then we toured the East coast,” Jeff explained of their stand-up gig. “I wasn’t even old enough to get into places we were going. He was barely old enough; we’re just two years apart.”
Though undefeated at Shirley’s Comedy Club on amateur nights, John and Jeff grew tired of the frenzied schedule of a comic. The two decided to pursue radio, instead, and, thus in the 1980s, “The Ramsey Brothers” were born at WRKA Louisville.
The partnership only lasted a short while, however, once John began working in television. He now serves as host of WAVE 3 Listens Live and the variety show 725 South Floyd.
Yet, Lite 106.9 knew there was something left in the brotherly duo, and in 2011 approached Jeff, who has worked mornings for the station since 2008, with the idea to reprise the former show.
Though two manly men, “The Ramsey Brothers” is geared toward “hip, family-oriented women.” But, keeping their listeners’ perspective in mind isn’t tough, Jeff said. “We have our guy time, it’s just not on the air, on the radio,” he said. “We always keep our listeners in mind, but it’s not that hard.”
“We don’t patronize women,” John added. “Like some people say, ‘Well you can’t just talk about sports.’ There’s some things that transcend, and women are just as interested in the Olympics or when UofL and UK play each other. Today’s woman is well rounded and likes a lot of the same things we like.”
Working together as siblings, John and Jeff keep each other in check, especially when one might arrive to work a little grumpy due to their 3:34 a.m. wake-up call. “(The rule we have is) you’ve got to be in a good mood,” John said. “We’re up at 3:34 in the morning so it’s easy to complain but who wants to hear that?”
Through their success in radio, the two-man team have been offered jobs in other markets, but have no desire to leave the city they live in nor their homes just two doors down from each other. It’s their passion for Louisville that they believe creates added appeal to their show. And, no doubt their playful banter and obvious love for one another has been key in attracting local listeners throughout the years.
“Jeff’s really good about (keeping the show) local. And we think that separates us,” John said. “Honestly, Jeff’s the captain of the show and he is the funniest of the two. He can say no, but believe me he’s the guy. There’s very few people I look up to. And, yet he’s my younger brother, and I look up to him.”