We’ve been meaning to do an interview with Kid for awhile, but just haven’t gotten around to it. However, our friends over at Airchecker recently did an interview with this cities top radio personalities (Captain Scotty fans at 99.3 The Fox may argue this) and well they’ve asked The Buzz to put it up and of course we couldn’t say no. I mean they did all the hard work for us. The full interview is below.
Airchecker (AC) conversation with Kid Carson The Beat 94.5 Vancouver’s top rated morning host. AC wanted to know more about KC’s rise to the top of the tower. From humble beginnings growing up in Ontario dreaming the dream. We discovered KC sticks true to his beginnings. The the leader of a top rated morning radio shows now number one in the city. The AC interview was six months in the making. A world exclusive from the Kid himself.
AC: Before we talk radio. I want to ask you about your childhood. You often speak openly about your mom. You hold her in high regard.
KC: I was a poor kid with no daddy. Haha. that’s about as blunt as it gets. Single mom, and a younger sis… we moved around a lot. I went to a thousand different schools, (even private school for a year when my mom was the school’s bus-driver) I grew up meeting a lot of new people all the time, from all walks of life. When you’re raised by, and around, women, I think you grow a special understanding. I mean, I’m still a dude! But I know when I’m being “too much” of a dude on-air. I cross that line sometimes for fun, but if I jump back and say sorry with a twinkle in my eye, women are very forgiving.
I don’t regret any part of my childhood it makes me appreciate every little piece of good fortune.(and lets be honest… as rough as any of us had it… there’s always someone who had it A LOT worse.)
AC: I appreciate you sharing. What about radio? Looking back can you say for sure it was in your blood using that old radio cliche.
KC: I always loved radio. Loved it. I have cassettes of me as a kid acting like my favorite dj’s on “All Hits” 680 CFTR! I was 10… I knew that’s what I wanted to be. I’m a 100% radio geek through and through.
AC: As a youth radio was it for you?
KC: I applied at Humber College in North Toronto. Thanks to the student loan program.
The best thing to come out of college was meeting Scott Jackson. Scott Jackson is “MY GUY”. Every radio person has “that person” who helped them out… and gave them their first break. Scott was my guy. He was teaching at Humber, and starting his own radio station at the same time. We’d have lunch, and he’d tell me about his crazy days as a rock and roll jock at CHUM in Kingston. Scott’s time, energy, and stories were my true radio education. (Pass on what you know!)
My second year at Radio School, KISS 92 Toronto was THE station in Canada. Everyone that knew me, knew that my 5 year goal was to be at KISS.. I planted the seed and sent the PD Julie Adams my demo. When she called, my heart was pounding as I listened to the voice mail she’d left me. Only after the 10th time listening to the message did I even realize it was a “let me down nicely” call. Haha.
My second year at Radio School, KISS 92 Toronto was THE station in Canada. Everyone that knew me, knew that my 5 year goal was to be at KISS. I planted the seed and sent the PD Julie Adams my demo. When she called, my heart was pounding as I listened to the voice mail she’d left me. Only after the 10th time listening to the message did I even realize it was a “let me down nicely” call. Haha.
JULIE: “You sound like you’re having a lot of fun! We don’t have a spot for you at KISS 92 right now, but keep it up!”
For new radio talent, that’s the biggest hurdle… feeling like NOBODY knows me! You can feel pretty lost. Julie’s phone call made me feel like SOMEONE knew my name, even if just for a minute. The 30 seconds she took to call me, lit a blazing fire under my ass. (Little did I know, Julie would make my wildest dream come true 18 months later.)
AC: You really had your sights in the majors. Walk us through after Humber.
KC: After Humber, I mailed out about 1000 demos… no one replied. Isn’t that shitty? Only ONE station bothered to send me a rejection letter. A Toronto PD took the time to CALL me… but only ONE small market PD in Canada bothered to even send me a form letter! Props to CHAY-FM in Barrie Ontario. I still have the rejection letter saved in a scrapbook.
Desperate and picking up shifts as a mall security guard… I got the phone call from my former teacher:
“It’s Scott Jackson… you want to work for me? It’s no pay to start, and the format is CHRISTIAN.”
Yep, my first job in radio was at a Jesus station!
AC: Your working free at at Christan station trying to pay off your student loan. What were you duties at the station. Did you eventually get on the payroll? How was that radio experience for you cutting your teeth?(paying the dues) How long were there before moving on to the next gig and Toronto?
KC: The format scared the crap out of me. I mean, honestly, I was going to be a jock playing songs that I had NEVER heard of… the entire music library was completely foreign to me. I didn’t know a single artist, or who was what genre… nothing. That’s freakin’ scary, haha.
I was there a couple months before launch… the boss had us in hosting mock shows in the control room before it was wired up and broadcasting. It was special being part of a station launch.
It’s not often you get to work for a boss who becomes your close buddy. If we passed each other in the station halls, we’d both geek-out and shout a radio jingle as we walked by. Radio people can have a ‘special’ brand of humour that makes no freakin’ sense to the outside world.
Scott groomed me. He would probably say he “tried to keep a leash on me” ha. We had a few “What were you THINKING?” meetings in Scott’s office. His passion for radio was and is paramount, and it just fired me up more learning from a guy like that.
I was on the payroll after 3 months, $19,000 a year baby. My other radio buddy’s from school were getting $16,000 a year, so I felt like a P I M P. (please sense the sarcasm, ha) As for duties, I did everything… and I loved everything. I also messed-up everything… a lot… then did it again. Voicing and producing spots, dubbing the songs in, produced imaging for my own show, MC’d events, set up gear at remotes, produced a top 20 countdown, and also hosting the evening show.
I called the evening show “The Slam”. If I wasn’t yelling over intros, I was tripping over my words with a live caller. (I didn’t know there was such a thing as TAPING a caller… wha??) I felt like I was in New York… or maybe it was the 6 cans of Coke Classic I pounded per show.
I screwed up a lot. I once lied to my PD about having met with a another station. He asked me if I had… and I flat lied. It took 30 seconds to come clean. No one ever talks about those real lessons you learn at small market radio stations, working with people that become like your family. Working at LIFE 100.3 made me a better person.
18 months into working my first gig with Scott… Julie Adam called from Toronto’s KISS 92. I almost @#** myself.
AC: Lets flash forward 18 months Your goal was KISS Toronto. Did Julie Contact you how did that go down?
KC: I sent Julie Adam a tape… it had been about 18-20 months since I had sent her one when I was in college. I wasn’t applying for a gig… I simply asked for a critique. A few days later, she called and said she had a swing job open, and that she wanted to meet me. God, that must be a cool phone-call to MAKE. Dialing… knowing that you’re about to make a jocks LIFE. I hung up the phone, and I literally yelled: “HOLY FUUUUCK!!!” (not the most appropriate action for the nighttime jock at a Christian radio station) My 2 best buddies / roommates burst into the room thinking I had literally found a dead body behind the couch. And the celebrating started. I arrived at Julie’s office a few morning’s later, backpack full of my favorite airchecks on CD. (Which I pulled out when she asked me who my favorite jocks were) I remember leaving her office feeling SO great. Julie was (and is) such an energetic person, she pumps you up…. You want to make her proud before she’s even hired you.
She called the next day and asked if I’d be interested in joining the KISS team.
I remember saying… “Please let me give my PD 3 weeks notice… I can’t leave him hanging with only 2.” It was my way of telling her that I would never leave HER hanging in the future. (thinking back… I’m surprised that I thought of that at 21 yrs old. Scott Jackson must’ve taught me well)
It was the most exciting day of my career to date, and I love Julie for that. She’s responsible for that awesome moment in my life.
3 weeks later… I was standing in the KISS 92 control room downtown Toronto… slipping on my headphones… ready to crack the mic at my dream station… nervous as friggin’ HELL.
AC: What a proud moment for you KC. Exciting having Toronto at your fingers. We want to hear all about KISS.
The staff was tight. We worked together, we partied together, we learned from each other… we all wanted to win together.
Our PD Julie was a great leader. I remember one night Julie threw us a jock after-party in the penthouse suit of a nice hotel downtown Toronto. We had hosted our KISS summer concert that day (Wham Bam Thank You Jam) and were celebrating. After a few drinks, Julie (who was now wearing a hotel robe and possibly the matching shower-cap, haha) called for everyone’s attention. She made an emotional speech about how much we all meant to her, and called us her “stars.” She then gave us all a jewelry box. Each box contained a silver chain, and on the end of the chain… a silver star. It was a cool moment. There may have been an orgy of hugs.
A couple years later… I was the last jock to do a break on-air at KISS. Mid-shift, a staff member poked their head into the studio and said… “Hey Kid, there’s a jock meeting, we need yah..” I replied: “Ok cool, be there in 2 min… I’m just about to give away Jay-Z / 50 Cent tickets… I have the call taped and ready to air… it’s HOT… this woman goes MENTAL! I’m gonna nail this 23 second post with her SCREAM!! Stay for a sec… listen to this!”
For once, she didn’t share in my enthusiasm and insisted that I head to the boardroom right away. Ahh… crap… here we go.
15 minutes later all the KISS jocks were outside on the curb sitting in the rain with our pink slips. Even the non-smokers lit up. Soaking wet, there we sat… ranting to each other about how flipping KISS 92 to JACK-FM was a grave mistake, and when would the suits wake the hell UP. And damn it, I never got to air that winner call!!
AC: You must have been devastated dream job just crashed.
KC: Rogers was good to me though… 2 weeks after I was fired from KISS, my place was robbed… I lost everything! What the F***!!
I had just bought a new laptop through our ‘Rogers employee interest-free loan program’… and was on the hook for $2500 bucks! And I needed to still buy a new laptop. What a kick in the pills! So thank you Chuck McCoy at Rogers in Toronto… he heard about my misfortune and made the order to let me off the hook for the loan… that’s some cool Godfather @#&*.
AC: How did the 95.3 Vancouver gig happen.
KC: I took the Vancouver job over the phone. I’d never been to Vancouver… I arrived… found out that the Vancouver radio station wasn’t in Vancouver… but in Richmond. Great. I went from a view of downtown Toronto, to starring at the loading dock of a warehouse. The florescent lights in the hallway flickered. It wasn’t fun. I got in trouble ALL the time. I didn’t follow the 5 second talk-break rule. They messed with my vacation time. We were all treated like fast-food employees. It was a freakin’ dream-killer. 12 months in, I was on the phone and ready to return to Toronto.
(On a side note… I’m happy for my radio friends who are now a part of the revamped and great vibe in Richmond. New company, new leadership… and new bulbs in the ceiling)
AC: You sounded great on 95.3. You were the guy Vancouver evenings. Appears you were not happy at Standard. Tell us how The Beat morning position presented itself.
KC: The Beat 94.5 was the little station on the block. They approached me while I was making plans to leave the city. Beat PD Chris Myers came to a club night I was hosting. I was there every week, he knew where to find me. At the start of the night I would always walk around and introduce myself to people… tryin’ to get my name out there. I reached out to “Cheers” a guy and realized it was the “competitions PD!” I didn’t let on that I knew who he was… I knew he was spying… trying to see what kind of a guy I was. So I was the guy to ordered us tequila shots.
A few hours later, I was taken on a drunk, late-night tour of the Beat 94.5 studios. A week later I was in talks to stay in Vancouver to host my first morning show, and I didn’t even know if I could wake up before noon.
AC: KC it’s been five years now you have been doing mornings. The early days when you exited the show with “Young and Wrestles” Yourself, Nira have fought for every listener in the early days. Today your morning show is the one all who’s who want to be on. I want to ask you about today. Big time ratings and your radio success.
KC: We have moments that I quietly celebrate to myself, but for the most part I’m never happy with my show. That probably sounds dismal, but I think a lot of people can relate to being their own worst critique. There’s nothing you can say about me, that I probably haven’t said to myself. I sometimes drive around the city listening back to the show and yell at myself on-tape to shut up! Haha. Who yells at them SELF? I do. I’m too hard on myself to let any moments of success get to my head… because that’s all they are… moments.
AC: The early days of 94.5. The little station that could etc. I listened to you evening on Z. You were very interactive with your listeners. The great thing about you is honesty.
KC: My interest in human behavior really peaked while working nights. Sifting through callers to find entertaining people to put on-air was a huge break-through for me.I must have answered 100’s of calls every night, and after a while I started to notice patterns in people’s behavior. The experience really cranked up my “Practical Intelligence.” Psychologists describe this as: “knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it with maximun effect.It’s knowledge that helps you read situations correctly to get what you want.” In my opinion… the stronger your sence of “Practical Intelligence”, the more success you’ll find in your career, and your personal relationships.
AC: We all want to know DO YOU LIKE NIRA?
KC: I love Nira. She’s like a sister to me. I can pick on her, but if YOU pick on her, I’ll rip your face off.It’s a very special relationship. We spend at least 7 hrs a day together. That’s probably more time that most people spend talking with their spouse every day. It’s taught me a lot about letting my guard down with someone.
AC: Is it True you have your own butler at home?
KC: A butler at HOME? Holy shit… is that a real rumour? Hahaha. You just said that to be funny right? Dude, questions like that trip me out bro! No, I don’t have a butler at home
AC: Describe an off day from radio what do you do?
KC: I like drinking. I drink pretty much all the time when I’m not on-air. And I smoke a lot of pot. Just kidding… you should’ve seen the look on your face. Haha.
An off day… bmxing, snowbarding, reading autobiographies, hittin’ the gym… going on dates with hot girls from Facebook… you know, anything a single 30 year old dude does.
The only downside with my show, is that my LIFE makes up a lot my show content. So even when I’m enjoying a day off… my eyes are always peeled for show topic. That part of my brain just won’t shut off, it can be hard to relax. Every few months I NEED that week off to escape.
AC: The radio biz is so cruel at times. Lets take a moment to look into the future. Do you see yourself in the future going solo Coast to Coast in Canada?
KC: I just want to be happy.Soooo damn cliche, I know. The kicker is… what makes us happy today, might not make us happy tomorrow. So who knows what the future has in store. Maybe it’s radio in Vancouver, maybe it’s something else completely. Right now though, I have an opportunity to work with some incredible people. I still have A LOT to learn, and that challenge has me very satisfied.
AC: KC thank you so much. A true pleasure a great conversation thanks you. I trust that the AC viewers will have a better understand of your journey and being in the right place can work either way in ones career. Continued success. Hello to Nira, Amy and Benjamin The Butler. Oh, say hi to your mom. Tune in Weekdays 5:30AM – 10AM
As always we leave our guest with the last word that’s you Kid Carson.
PPM…. Here we go!
For the first time… we have to throw everything we know about radio OUT THE WINDOW. The radio peeps with the humblest of hearts will find it the easiest to adapt, and kick-ass. If you’re stuck in your ways…. Prepare for an epic fail!
I’ve never been more pumped about my gig… dispite my successes to date, it doesn’t mean a damn thing. We’re all starting back at zero, and I like that feeling! I get a thrill from making something out of nothing… it’s how I started my radio career in Barrie, with the launch of a new station, and it’s how I felt when I left Z95 to start my first morning show at the BEAT. That underdog feeling is something I’m very comfortable with. The new pressure of PPM will take a lot of us to the next level.
In my 20’s, I spent so much time being stressed about whether I would be successful or not, that I didn’t enjoy the journey as much as I should’ve. Now that I’m 30 and a little (I repeat LITTLE) more mature… PPM is a damn blessing, I get to climb the ladder all over again but this time I get to enjoy it more.
Saddle up boys and girls, the new journey begins now… and the gloves are off
Thanks to Aircheckerfor sending us this interview, might I suggest you go and check out their website.