VIDEO: Behind the lens with Joey Baggz

Brandon Bills

Joey Little still works in a studio, but a different kind of studio.

Little, known to Topeka radio listeners as Joey Baggz, the popular host of the morning show on rock station V100, is now starting a career as a photographer.

After seven years at V100, Little was laid off Aug. 27 for a policy violation. Though his termination was an unwelcome surprise, he holds no negative feelings toward his former employer.

“It was seven years of doing something that I probably wasn’t qualified to do in the first place,” said Little. “But I did really good at it and I was really successful at it, so I’ve got no hard feelings for Cumulus.”

Finding himself unemployed, Little began to consider his other interest: photography.

Little shot photos for V100 and as a hobby, but now he is pursuing it as a business.

Little started his photography career with Little Man Photography in early December. He opened a studio in College Hill, beneath Oscar’s Bar on Lane Street. He’s still defining what his business is about, but one thing is certain: whether it is their small business or how they feel about themselves or their community, Little wants to help people. Currently, Little spends his work imaging for businesses, doing photoshoots for clients and shooting artistic pieces.

“I’m so scatterbrained right now that I need to get everything in one direction,” said Little. “I’m just so excited about having a studio and a brand new business.”

Since leaving the air, Little has been fighting to leave his radio persona behind. As Baggz, Little made sometimes shocking statements to get people talking and keep listeners tuned in, but it did not reflect his true character.

“Joey Baggz is not me,” said Little.

Baggz was only about 80 percent Little, said Many Stos, Little’s girlfriend.

“When you’re on the radio, people think they know who you are, but really they only know Joey Baggz, they don’t know Joey Little,” said Stos.

Little, along with a producer and co-host, decided which emotions and reactions Baggz would have on-air, all in the interest of ratings.

“They were trying to make me the guy that every man wanted to be,” said Little.

Baggz was one to live out the fantasy life of V100’s average male listener.

“He can listen and live vicariously through me,” said Little. “‘Man, Joey got like, 17 lap dances in the VIP room over the weekend that his buddy bought him because he got his tax return back.’ When really, I’m going to my mom’s house and having a cookout with my step dad.”

Apparently, Little did his job well because many people still can’t separate Little from Baggz.

“There are people that hate me that don’t even know who I am,” said Little.

A major part of Little’s hopes for his business is doing imaging for local businesses. He believes that what others see can make all the difference for a business.

“From photography, I saw how I could make ordinary things look great through lighting or through gels or through a different f-stop,” said Little. “It works the same way in business as well. You can redo your logo. Redo your menus. Redo everything about your business and just look better.”

Little attributes this to the value society puts on image. How people perceive something or someone can affect their success.

“You can have the greatest business in the world,” said Little. “But unless you’re looking great to people out there and attract them, you’re going to be great because you’re a great business, but you can do even better with the right image.”

Little was the image director for V100, where he was charged with making the station look good. He shot photos and created graphics and content for the Web site. He is now applying that knowledge to his business.

“Everything that I did to make V100 look good, now I am using on my own to try to help small businesses the same way,” said Little.

Currently, Little is working with local business owners around Topeka, but he hopes to do more soon.

Little recognizes the importance of local businesses to a community. He sees his business as a way to help Topeka keep a local flare and to fight becoming a corporate society.

“We don’t want to be a corporate society someday,” said Little. “I don’t think anyone really wants to.”

Through working in the community while at V100, Little grew to love Topeka and the people. About six years ago, Little heard a joke that made him aware about how people perceived Topeka.

“The joke was ‘What’s the difference between Topeka and yogurt? Yogurt has active culture,'” said Little.

While he thought the joke was funny, Little didn’t like the message it conveyed. The joke launched his pride in Topeka. Now, through his business, Little hopes to do his part in helping others feel proud of Topeka.

“I want to do whatever I can to improve the small business and the thinking of what people think of their town,” said Little.