Colin McInnes and Kate Peardon May 14, 2010
There's a special chair in the K-Rock Beatles boardroom. It's the one I used for the Gary Tredwell interview. It's the one I used for the Darrin Harvey interview. And, rather anticlimactically, I used it for the Colin and Kate interview at K-Rock a couple of months ago.
This was the first time I'd interviewed an entire morning radio team. It was a good experience. C100 morning team, look out!
Stop reading my silly words. Start reading this interview!
1. How did you get your start in radio?
Kate: Why don't you rock and roll first; then, I'll go.
Colin: OK. Did the university thing.
Bevboy: What, and where?
C: UNB, Saint John. Summertime. Have to pay the bills. Working in a bar. DJ needed someone to fill in one night -- down at Spirits, if anybody remembers that place. I went in and filled in. Did a couple of drink specials. Peter McDevit from CFBC came ripping around, thinking I was somebody else. He's, like, "Wow, man. You got a set of pipes on you. You should get in radio."
It was later that night [when] I ran into a friend of mine. He was taking a radio course from Don Mabee. The rest, as they say, is history. Took the course, and never looked back.
BB: You took it in Fredericton?
C: Saint John.
BB: What was the name of the school?
C: Atlantic Broadcast Centre. ABC. Yeah. Really original. First gig was producing Don's show on Saturday nights on K-100.
BB: What year was this?
C: Summer of '91. August. Then, took a job at CHTN in Charlottetown.
BB: Back when it was still CHTN.
C: CHTN out on North River Road. AM.
C: 720 CHTN, yes.
BB: I could pick that up.
C: Mitch Cormier was doing the morning show then.
BB: John Morgan was there for a while.
BB: John Morgan was an old AVR guy. Then, he went from AVR in June of 1980 to CHTN. He was there for a few years. Then he came back to Nova Scotia; he was one of the first people on Q104.
C: OK. Zipped here and there.
K: None of us could keep a job.
BB: How did you make your way here? You were out West. Did you work with Kate before?
C: Then, to Truro, CKCL. I was Music Director there. Up to Fredericton at C-HI(sp?) And, then, the switchover: They took "KHJ" off FM. Switched it to the C-HI signal C-HI became The Fox. I went from afternoons on C-HI to mornings on Capital. FredMcCausland went from mornings on Capital to mornings on the Fox. Trevor Doyle went from mornings on C-HI to afternoons on the Fox. If you can follow that bouncing ball, you're much better than I.
Anyway, did mornings on Capital for a couple of years. Then, down to Big John in Saint John. And, then, here.
K: Wow. That's a lot of jobs.
BB: I've always wondered why the turnover rate is so among on air staff at radio stations. There are people who stay at a station for a long, long time. But, it's relatively rare.
C: Well, people who are starting out, I find, the ambition to move up.... At CFBC,Donnie Roberts has been there for 30+ years. You're not going to fill in the morning show there, so you have to move on somewhere else if you want to...
K: And it's an entertainment biz. You don't expect a show to be on for 20 years. Do you expect a morning show to be on the air for 20 years? I mean, in some places it happens; but to keep that freshness and that newness? That's a tough slog. So, moving locales sometimes adds the freshness back in.
C: And to bring in new ideas to that market. You learn stuff, too.
K: Yes. It probably suits everybody.
BB: All right. Well, Kate, how did you get your start?
K: I went to St. Mary's in Halifax and graduated with a soc degree. That was really useful in the mid '90's. There was such a plethora of jobs: There were 2 in the entire city. Of any job. Not just soc jobs.
BB: Two jobs PERIOD in Halifax?
C: And both of them were washing dishes.
K: It was odd. So, I worked at what was the Hotel Halifax, the CP Hotel, for a bit.
BB: Now the Westin.
K: No. It's right on Barrington.
BB: Oh, the Delta Barrington.
K: Right across the street from the Delta Barrington. Who ever owns that one.
BB: The Delta Halifax.
So, I worked there, and travelled around a bit. Worked out West for a while. Moved to St. John's Newfoundland for a bit, just messing about waitressing. Then, went back to Halifax and worked at the Fireside up on Spring Garden when it first opened. There was a whole crew of us.
Anyway, I'm thinking, "I can't do this forever. I can't slog plates up and down stairs for a million years.", although I was all of 22 or whatever I was. Some drunken night it came up that I liked stories. I don't know how it came up, to be honest with you. For some reason, journalism got stuck in my head.
I ended up at Loyalist the first year they had a fast track program. I went to Loyalist for 4 weeks in the Summer. I was the only student. I was the only one in the whole fast track program. You had to have a university degree to do it. I did some of the stuff in the Summer, then went back to Halifax, and then back in September to actually go to school. But, you went straight to the second year.
Anyway, I was only there until about January. I worked at the radio station in Belleville, doing weekend news or whatever. Don't ask me call letters of stations because I don't have a clue. They're on a mug somewhere.
C: I just spit out random letters. Random letters works. CKUB.
K: I have no clue. Then, went to Terrace, BC. Not the same time as you.
K: You left, and I came, maybe?
C: You were stalking me.
K: Yes. Secretly followed you around for a bit. So, worked out of Northern BC for a year or so, and then went to News/Talk radio in Regina when they opened News/Talk.
BB: Is it a Rogers station?
K: No. It's local. It's a family-run company. Worked News/Talk and Z99, the other station there, sort of a heritage station. Then, moved from there back home to PEI; just got homesick for the East Coast. Did some part-time work at CHTN when it was Oldies AM, after he was there. Where he went, I came after. Worked there just part-time and had another job. I had a real job.
C: You worked at the station downtown, when it was with Q93 in Charlottetown? When they brought them all together? That was on North River Road.
K: Yes. They were downtown, and then they moved down to the waterfront, after that. I don't know. The amount I pay attention is minimal, obviously.
And, then, they called me from back out West again to be the news director of the News/Talk station in Saskatoon.
BB: A management job!
K: I went back out West to News/Talk. I was there for 5 years. Got home sick again, and landed here.
BB: Oh, really? You went from being a news director out West to being a non-management person.
K: Yes. This is much less chaotic than a 24 hour News/Talk station, managing a newsroom of 15 to 20 people, depending on whom you had to manage that day. I was on air as well, so I did the morning run while I was at it.
BB: Hm. For a station that has a lot of music, this station does have a fair amount of a news component, much more so than stations in the city bother to have.
K: No. It does. We have news all day, which is a rarity.
BB: That was a commitment from Newcap when they started the station up.
K: And, it suits the area.
C: You see, in the city, you got your news station. if you want news at 3 in the afternoon...
BB: News 95.7.
C: Right. You just go to the news station.
K: Right. That doesn't happen here. You have a weekly local paper. As far as your local news content goes, in the city, you have a daily. I guess nobody has an evening paper any more. Those days are gone. But in a place like the Valley, that's a weird, spread-out geography as well, so you may not hear what happened in Bridgetown if it happened in Windsor. I think that's an important part of what the station is, although it's a Classic Rock station. And, let's face it: With a Classic Rock station, [it's an] older demo. News is more important. And, they don't necessarily get it off the internet or text.
K: Or tweet. Or whatever else happens on iPhones.
2. Where are you from?
K: I'm from Montague, PEI, from the East end.
C Hampton, New Brunswick.
K: He's looking for a map.
BB: I have google maps. I can put a link to it right on the interview.
3. How did you meet? From what you said, Kate worked at stations after Colin had left them.
K: Somehow, the world managed to have us avoid meeting each other. It's a good thing.
BB: You actually only met when you started working here?
C: May 19, 2008! Makes it sound like I know what I'm talking about.
K: Yes. Once we got talking, when they called, and we both had the jobs, I was in Saskatoon. They said, "You should call or hook up." We e-mailed a bit, I guess. And, then, I thought, "I should listen to his show", without much of a regard of the fact that we were 3 hours behind.
BB: Where were you at this time?
C: Saint John.
K: It was, what, 3 in the morning? Then, you add groping around for the laptop to listen to him online. I'm dozing off and on, trying to listen to him and get a sense of who he is on the air. Then, I decided after that fiasco, "I'll just wing it and meet him. It'll be fine. We'll have to trust the people that hired us." And, it immediately was ok.
BB: How difficult is it to have an on-air rapport with a person you've never actually met before? Obviously, you're friends now, but you have to be friendly with somebody you just met.
C: Well, we had an advantage here, because we started in May. We didn't go to air until June 12th. We had a month to hang out, and get to know each other.
K: And that's literally what we did.
C: And learn the area. Darrin Harvey was our tourguide for pretty much a month. He took us to every nook and cranny in the Valley. "This is how you pronounce this name."
K: And some crannies, I've never been to again. Buying houses and doing stuff, you just hung out with each other. You didn't know anybody else necessarily. We hung out with each other all the time.
BB: It's a good thing you do like each other, because you spend so much time together.
C: It's a great facade, huh?
K: We spend an idiotic amount of time together. There's days when we literally hate each other a lot.
C: Usually by day 2 of the Food Drive.
K: Yes, usually by then. Then, it gets giddy after that. I find, and I've said this to other people, "I really like him because I can look at him and say, 'I just hate you right now, and I'm going to turn my back.'" And, you can say the same thing; and 5 minutes later, it doesn't matter that you said, "I hate you right now. I need to turn my back just for a while." We've had lots of quiet time.
BB: You share an office, don't you?
K: We share an office!
C: That's the awkward quiet time we have there.
K: I eat. He does work. It's fine. I just eat my face off. I eat from the time I get off the air at 10 until noon, and then I go home and I eat again. But, I don't normally tell you that.
So, it works out fine. But that's the best thing I can say about our relationship. We can be really mad at each other, and an hour later, it won't matter.
C: We both know, at that moment, you're pissed off. Why don't you calm down for a bit. The goal, in the long run, is to make our show and the station the best it can be. We both have the same goal in mind. I just said something that pissed her off.
BB: Does it ever happen on the air?
K: What gets out on the air is never usually a shock. It's OK. We know that we've had the argument or the argument happened 4 days before we say it happened, so we've had time not to be so mad at each other.
C: Or I miss a cue or something like that. You just stand there and look at me like, "You're an idiot! I just told you 3 seconds ago what we're going to do, and it's out of your brain already."
K: Sometimes, mornings can skip by us. There's times when there's a terrible blank look. That was the hardest part, probably, working together: Getting cues off each other. We actually set the studio up, because they came to us and said, "How do you want the studio set up?" So, you set it up, only to realize, after you start working together, that it doesn't work at all. It's completely not functional for what you need.
C: You'd think that would be an advantage at a new station: They come to you and ask you that. "Wow! I get to set it up the way I want to?"
K: We've moved every single thing around.
C: The computer monitor now: I want it moved to the other side because, when you're reading news, it's right in your face. But, before, it wasn't in your face.
K: Right. So, if he's doing anything that has to be on air pretty soon...
C: It's distracting.
K: I can see it right in front of my eye, and it's distracting. I'm trying to look at [news] wires, and look at news, and trying to do stuff. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see emails pop up.
BB: That wouldn't be distracting at all!
K: There's distracting stuff on the internet, surprisingly. But, learning cues I think was our hardest part of our practicing.
BB: You could be doing news out of the newsroom.
K: I can be, but that would be terrible. I'm a huge believer in news as part of the show. If it's not part of the show, then don't bother doing it. I specifically would have my newscaster have a similar personality to the talk show that was on during their shift. Otherwise, it's just such a toss off at that point. If you can't talk during the middle of it, if it has no interaction, don't put it in the show.
C: Our show tends to be really conversational. It's us, and the listener. It's a 3 person conversation. It's just the 3rd person doesn't say anything to us until they call. To have you sitting in the newsroom... we just can't have that quick conversation. It's just not there. Just being able to look Kate in the face as we're saying something and get the reaction out of her or know that I'm doing this.
K: To have no interaction during news, again, makes no sense to me.
C: Yes. Our show doesn't stop. "OK! News time! Here we go!"
K: "All right, everybody. Serious mode!" And, if I've got something serious in the news, that's worthy to put in the news, if it's the top story in the news, why wouldn't it be a top topic of conversation? That makes no sense to me whatsoever; it never did.
BB: Unless it's something really deadly serious, and you want to keep the tone of your show relatively light, do you not?
BB: You talked this morning about hockey jerseys and sweaters. Yes, I do listen.
[Colin and Kate laugh]
I was the 3rd listener this morning. How did you arrive at a topic like that? You always wondered what you call those things that these hockey players wear?
K: We have a grid. We have a very complicated sheet that lays out every break. We have a huge, complicated filing system. In a daily file we would have, what, 50 topics, easy?
C: Oh, God.
K: Just random thoughts that maybe wandered through us. Stuff we saw on the internet. Lists. Just anything.
C: I'm driving home. I get home, and I say, "Oh, text Kate. This happened to me on the way home. There's a conversation. "
K: It goes into the folder. We might not use it for a month and a half. Then, it will be, like, "Oh, you know what we should do for tomorrow. We should talk about that monstrous pot hole."
So, we do all that. We knew that we wanted to talk about the hockey jerseys for Haiti. I call them hockey sweaters. Sweaters? Jerseys? What do you call them? And, then, right in the middle of that conversation, we said something about baseball jerseys/sweaters.
C: What the Hell do you call them?
K: What the Hell do you call them? Well, that wasn't scripted. That wasn't anything. But, it made one of our best callers of the day.
K: Tunics! Damn, I should have thought of that.
BB: What time do you guys get up in the morning?
C: I live about a half hour outside of New Minas. 3:30?
BB: And, you're at the station at what time?
C: 4:30, quarter to 5.
K: If we're on a good day, it's 4:30. On a bad day, it's quarter to 5.
BB: And you live closer.
K: Yes. I just live up the street, but the alarm goes off at 3:25. I get up by 3:50. There's a lot of snoozes in between. But, I do a lot of stuff before I get here in the sense of scanning websites. I always sit down and have a cup of coffee like normal people do before they get up. I scan headlines. I don't ever want to walk in and go, "Soldier Dead in Afghanistan. Wow. I had no idea." I want to have some stuff written in my head before I even get here.
BB: You read online newspapers like The Globe and Mail?
K: I don't know if I read The Globe and Mail. No offense to The Globe and Mail. I just never get to that point. It's just a headline scan, right? You do a quick news headline scan, sports headline scan. I'm certainly going to miss Vancouver games when they're on. I'm not going to have any idea what the score was when I went to sleep.
C: The thing about our grid: We put it down, and we write in, "At 7:20 we'll talk about this." Well, if something blew up, or if something was huge over night, that 7:20 break will get wiped out, just on the fly.
BB: Gary doesn't ask to see what you're going to talk about on a given day?
C: No. We send out an email...
K: We do send out an email...
C: … saying what we did, and what we plan on doing for the next day, so that other people can promo the show. We've sent out emails saying, "Oh, we'll talk about this tomorrow." and not breathe a word about it because something else happened, and we went completely the other way. The show was huge. Lots of phone calls on it. Then we say, "OK, we'll talk about it the next day."
K: Everybody knows now that it's not really a guaranteed, for-sure that that's what we're going to talk about. That was our game plan at noon, but it's a long day until the next morning.
C: There's a couple naps.
K: Better thought processes.
BB: Maybe a meal.
4. How do you decide who does what on a typical show? I know Kate does the news, but is there a clear division of duties otherwise?
CM: I make the coffee.
KP: [chuckles] Yes. There is a clear division. You pretty much always back sell or time check. I pretty much always do weather. It's rare that that doesn't happen.
CM: It's kind of like a maintenance thing. We clear out the maintenance and get rid of the weather and the time, the stuff people need to get their day started. Then, it's into the fun stuff. I start the conversation on sweaters or jerseys, or Kate starts it. That's usually more-or-less decided by whoever came up with the idea.
KP: And who feels much more passionate about whatever it happens to be. Sometimes, it's something that happened to Colin, so I don't talk about it. Or it's something I particularly feel like ranting about, so he's not going to start it off.
So, you pretty much always back sell.
CM: But, I think the appeal of our show: It's never the same thing twice. I'll make fun of the fact that I don't know the difference between a bagpipe or an accordion off of "Copperhead Road".
KP: We are not music-phytes. And I am obviously not a radio-phyte. I love radio, but I don't know people or call letters. I kind of show up, right? I like listeners and listeners' stories, but that's my love. That's where my passion is.
BB: You mentioned your show is atypical from a lot of the morning shows.
KP: We feel like it is when we listen to other shows.
BB: It is so conversational. Is that how you feel it's different?
KP: It's very listener-driven.
CM: That's how it was done in the last couple morning shows I've done. Fredericton, a bit; and then Saint John was completely [listener-drive]
KP: And, then, you learn your strengths over time. We're not... what's the word I'm looking for? When you do other people's voices?
CM: We're not zany.
KP: Impressions! All those big words throw me off.
CM: You can get the best show-prep service in the world, and funny. The thing is, 9 times out of 10, the listener is [funnier]. The stuff they come up with, we could never write. Nobody could ever come up with it.
KP: We don't do impressions, and we don't do parody songs or spoofs. It's just not our great strong suit.
KP: But, everybody does the service, right? You can sound like everybody else with the same service, or you can be one of those really talented people who are really good at impressions and spoofs and parody songs. There's tons of morning people who are good at that. That's just not our strong suit. Our strong suit is drawing in listeners. We now have learned over years, separately, that if that's your strong suit, roll with it. Don't try to do a parody if you just suck at doing parodies. Just don't do them. It's OK. Radio doesn't have to do that.
BB: Just do what you're good at.
KP: Do what you're good at. I'm good at ranting, and you're good at drawing out listeners. You're good at kind of being like the Schmo.
CM: [chuckles] The punching bag for the show!
CM: "Let's make Colin eat cinnamon!"
KP: Well, you're good at being that crash-test dummy. And dating. We sent Colin out on a blind date.
BB: Oh, you're a single man, are you?
KP: Well, he's not now, but not from the blind date!
KP: That didn't go so well. But, literally, you never say no to anything. Listeners really appreciate that. You're not trying to be cool, and you're not trying to be hip. You're just the Schmo. I put him up on some free dating site. I put his profile and stuff up. We set women loose on him.
CM: It was scary.
KP: It was terrifying. But, it was funny. And, every single guy listening, is the Schmo with the same weirdos trying to get in touch with him. Women loved it because he was vulnerable. Men loved it because he was the same Schmo, because they're on the website, too, trying to get a date. It was so real person. You really did it. It was really creepy. And, it did its thing. Anyway, thankfully, we can't do that to him any more.
BB: Because you'll never do something twice, like you said.
KP: We try not to.
CM: If we do it twice, it'll be done in a completely different way that you would never know it was the same thing.
KP: We keep those grids, year-to-year, so that you're not like, "What did we do last Valentine's Day? Let's not do that same thing. Let's not ask that same question or do it the same way.
CM: People enjoy the fact that they don't know what's going to come out of our mouth, or what we're going to do after that song.
KP: Which is, again, an attempt at longevity of a morning show.
BB: You don't acknowledge the competition on the air, of course, but to what extent do you pay attention to what they're doing? Either to do something similar, or to do the exact opposite?
CM: Oh, big time. But, it's not necessarily the people across the street. We listen to radio stations clear across Canada.
KP: Every day, we monitor somebody, just to see what they're doing. Do they have a great idea? I'm OK with theft. I'm fine with thieving.
KP: And that's absolutely it. I used to sit up all the time with CNN. If they've got a great headline, they've got a whole crew of writers. Don't feel you can't take that and twist it. There's a reason why they're CNN. Do that! They're good. That Anderson Cooper guy kind of has a career on the go. Let's not pretend that we're smarter than that, and try to learn from that.
We obviously watch what everybody's doing. Our competition isn't just local. Our competition is Sirius. Our competition is the internet. Our competition is certainly C103, Q104. All of that. That is all of our competition. You can't ignore that stuff.
CM: It's not the classic rock format. It's everything, because people's music tastes change. What they feel like having to listen to in the morning or whenever. If we're just two zombies going through the motions, well, nobody's going to listen to us.
KP: And, we can't make the Rolling Stones any better than they are. They're as good as they're getting. So, we can only make ourselves better. It's the only thing we can do.
BB: Well, we are in the Beatles boardroom. I guess we should talk about the Beatles.
KP: All right. We can't make the Beatles any larger than they are. They were bigger than Jesus already. We can't make them any better than that.
CM: Well, Jesus was a short fella. He was only 5'6".
KP: Well, they were taller than that! No, they weren't. They were kind of tiny, too.
CM: We're going to Hell, aren't we?
BB: I'll have fun editing this! [laughs]
5. What is your opinion of the Annapolis Valley? Do you have a favourite haunt yet? I'm from Port Williams. I'm a Church Street boy.
CM: Love Port Williams!
CM: Port Pub? Can't get enough of it.
BB: Fox Hill Cheese? I could eat it all day!
CM: And that feed mill! Ahh!!
[laughter all around]
KP: It's the smell of Port Williams. Gets me every time. God, I love that. They're good farmers there.
BB: I mean The Al Whittle Theatre. Or, is there some place in Windsor that you like?
KP: I tell you right now: My favourite place in this entire Valley: My neighbourhood. I lucked out and picked the best neighbourhood in the history of the universe. We'd been out West for a long time, and so we 're not used to looking at neighbours, let alone talking to them. Put your head down, go to the back garage, and shut up. Everybody: keep moving. And, so, I move here. Luck out. Had no clue where I was moving to. We moved to a place called Golfview, right by the golf course up there. I have the best neighbours in the history of the universe. We're friends. We hang out. We've got pubs in our basements. We don't leave the neighourhood for too much, do we?
CM: I'm an honourary...
KP: You're an honourary member. There was a house for sale; just went up the other day. I meant to tell you. I'm just saying it'd be nice if you could. Come on, because we don't spend enough time together.
CM: I like Greenwood. Greenwood's all right. I like jets taking off from time to time.
KP: That's true. So, I hang in my neighbourhood a lot. But, we love the Valley. My husband's from Northern BC. When we moved here, we were in Saskatoon, so [it's] relatively flat and relatively booming, and totally busy. So, we move here, and 5 minutes up the road we take the canoe and he fishes. I sit.
BB: You can go tubing if you want to.
KP: You can get to anything you want from the Annapolis Valley. If you feel like doing the cityfied thing, I'm an hour. It's perfect for that.
CM: Can't say I really have one spot that I have to go to.
BB: How about the town of Wolfville? Don't you just love Wolfville?
KP: Wolfville is a fantastic town. It's a really neat, little [town]. I like Hall's Harbour. I love Annapolis Royal. Love it, as far as cutesy, quaintsy East Coast towns go. Couldn't picture anything better than that kind of stuff.
CM: Berwick, for the people.
KP: Berwick, it is rock. They're wild. Windsor: Same deal. Everybody's got that working thing on the go.
CM: That food drive we do every year, we hit just about every town. You get to meet everybody. Pretty much the whole town comes out. We figure we met about 20 to 30 thousand people the first drive we did.
BB: Well, I'll drop a name. You know who Denyse Sibley is at FX 101.9. Of course, she left FX 101.9 to go to Truro for a short time.
KP: Did you work with her at Truro?
CM: No, I did not.
KP: I only know her from tv. She likes Halifax. That's what I know.
CM: And she sits down at random tables.
KP: I love that! I wish you and your camera guy would sit with me!
KP: She stole my wine. She'd have to pay.
CM: Yes. We said Denyse Sibley's a lush.
BB: But, she told me that the difference between working in Halifax (a bigger town) versus Truro is that when she did a remote in Truro, scads of people would show up. If she did a remote in Halifax, tumbleweeds, right?
KP: Everybody's busy.
BB: Everybody's busy. People care about radio, because there are a lot of radio stations, but there's just not that cult of celebrity [in the city]
KP: You just don't see your cult as often. I found that in Saskatoon. While people knew who I was, the odds of running into them were a little slimmer than here, because the population was three times the population.
CM: [Also] the population's so spread. In the morning, we say, "Hey, we're going to stop by Middleton." Then, everybody in Middleton, or a good majority of people down there, know we're going to be there, will make it a point to come see us. I get this from Saint John, where I was at last. You just worry about the city, Saint John. Here, we worry about Windsor, Wolfville, Kentville, New Minas, Berwick, Middleton. Greenwood. Kingston.
KP: Canning. Centreville.
CM: Hall's Harbour. You have to spread it all out. When you mention those places, they go, "Oh, they're talking about us!"
BB: And you deliberately mention those places to feel inclusive to those communities?
KP: I don't think we deliberately do it.
CM: No. It just comes out.
KP: It just comes out. We don't obviously deliberately do anything. I realize we don't do anything terribly organized.
CM: We're terrible.
KP: We're not much for format. Poor Gary [Tredwell]. It's not good, is it?
CM: He just said, "Here. Go ahead"
KP: He'll tell us if it's really awry.
BB: What do you mean by format? You play the songs you're given.
CM: Oh, yeah. We do that. There's a format, but just in what we talk about or...
KP: I don't know. I've been places where there's really strict formatics.
CM: Well, this morning when we sent you out on the bike to pay off the bet, we dropped a couple of benchmarks, because you're out on a bike.
BK: What do you mean by benchmarks?
CM: Just things that we do at a certain time. We have a thing: "Not necessarily the reality check" . This is more jokes of news stories that I do. This would have been at ten to eight. But, because you're out on a bike, that's more entertaining.
BB: Yeah. It was funny.
KP: Right. So, that can go.
BB: And no one cares. I mean, Gary's not going to say, "You didn't do 'Not necessarily the reality check'".
KP: As long as what you were doing is better than what you dropped, right?
CM: And the fact that it's not sold. It's not [that] a sponsor paid for that.
KP: We wouldn't drop a sponsor's thing.
CM: We wouldn't drop Paul Schaeffer.
KP: We're silly, but we're not going to cut off our nose to spite our face or anything.
CM: I like my pay cheque!
KP: We're all about the pay part, too! I like that as much as the job.
6. What is your biggest surprise over working in the Valley? "Are they a bunch of hicks here? What's that all about?"
K: I didn't think that. I have 3 aunts and uncles here, so I'm good. I don't want to call them hicks. I would at Christmas, but I'd be drunk. So would they. They'd be fine. The whole Peardon clan would be drunk.
C: The home-made Bailey's. You got to stay off that.
K: I didn't think they were hicks, but if anybody thinks they are, the day of local schmocal doesn't work any more. People have the internet and cable tv. They're really well connected. There's so much talk in radio now about "local, local, local". Well, tell me what the Hell "local" means. Was Tiger Woods not local? Do people in the Valley not know who that was? No, that was friggin' local.
C: I'm sure some people in the Valley have lifted a golf club at some point in their life and heard of Tiger Woods.
K: I'm pretty sure there was more people talking about that than the square dance competition down at the Legion.
C: Or the SPCA Charity Golf Tournament. I mean, yes, you should mention those things, but to drone on about it....
K: Well, then people go back to their cable and their internet, because it's more entertaining.
BB: Well, if we had a local sex scandal, would you drop Tiger Woods for a while and talk about it?
K: Absolutely! For sure. Oh, God, please let that happen.
C: If Tiger Woods came to have sex in the Valley that would be awesome. Best of both worlds.
K: I think whatever people in your area are talking and know about is what your local stuff is. That is local. I don't think there's a radius of local any more. I don't think it exists.
BB: How about local music? I realize you have no input in the music you play, but there are classic rock songs that came from here. There's Matt Minglewood from Cape Breton.
K: We play Matt.
BB: How about Oakley? Going back further,
K: We also play Oakley.
C: Sam Moon.
K: We play all of that. Again, is it what people know? If you grew up here and are of a certain age, you're friggin' right you knew Matt Minglewood. Matt Minglewood, when he came to small town Montague, PEI, that was a big deal! We didn't get anybody in Montague.
BB: It's still not a small deal when he plays in town.
K: No, I don't think so. I remember trying to sneak into a bar at 13 to see Matt Minglewood. Not that I even knew who it was. It was just as big as it got. I didn't get in, in case you care.
C: Your first big show was The Nylons
K: They were great. You just shut up.
C: Mine was Ryan's Fancy, so I'm not much better. That was a whole subject right there. That took 2 days.
K: But as long as people know it, and feel it, then when you start shoving stuff they don't know down their throats, I think you've lost it. People are pretty sophisticated. They're way smarter than we are. I don't think it's my job to tell them what's important to them.
BB: All right. Colin, what's your biggest surprise over working here?
C: Hmm. I'd have to say...
K: The cult of personality?
C: There's nothing that really surprised me because …
K: Well, I think what you said to me was just how much people know you. They're looking in your grocery cart. They're caring about your love life.
BB: How would they even know what you look like? Your pictures barely appear on the website.
C: Well, actually, our picture has been on every bus stop from Windsor to Kentville for the last 2 years.
BB: True. I beg your pardon. I've seen those.
K: We haven't aged in 2 years, I'll have you know, Bev. In fact, we may have gotten younger. Like Benjamin Button.
C: Yes. That they know who you are. That they know everything about you. We'll be at an event, and somebody will say, "Hey, do you like some cinnamon?" The cinnamon thing, we did two years ago, almost. It was this one thing we had about bar bets. I had to eat a spoonful of cinnamon.
K: It said it couldn't be done.
C: Yes. And it can't. So, don't bother. Kids: Don't try that at home. I proved it. I threw up dust on the air. It was great. People still talk about that. That was one little 5 minute segment. Not even that. 2 minutes.
K: You can't lie about anything here at all. It was no pants day here about a year ago. We said we had no pants on. We knew when we came in here that we had to have no pants on because people would come to the window and see if we had pants on. They will call you out. They will check on you here.
BB: You could wear a skirt, right, to comply with the no pants day?
C: I had on shorts, and you had on …K: I had on a long night jersey/sweater thing.
BB: A tunic!
K: I had a tunic on! Damn! I keep forgetting the word "tunic".
C: A pinafore.
K: A pinafore. I don't even know what that is. I shouldn't use words I don't know.
C: I keep thinking about pinwheels.
BB: How do you decide what not to talk about on the air? You must have a private life.
C: God, no. Everything goes on [the air], just about.
K: That's one of the things we're either good or bad at, depending. Ask the people who live with us if it's good or bad. That's always been a thing of how I worked, anyway. When my stepson came to live with us, he was 19(?). When he moved in, I said, "I'm going to have to talk about you on the air. How do you want me to do this? He's since moved out, but he's always been known as "The Boy". In Saskatoon, that worked, because nobody had to know. If he didn't want to tell them that I was his stepmother, and I just said [something] about his dirty underwear. He didn't have to tell anyone when he moved here. It was a little harder because he was the new kid at a school where there was no new kid.
BB: No Peardon.
K: Well, he's an Edwards, but yes. So, he was still "The Boy", but people sort of knew who he was. If it was really iffy, I might ask. No. Not really. Remember the girlfriend with the panties? I didn't ask her. So, no. There's nothing off limits in our lives. We've made it very clear. You have a relatively new girlfriend in the last year.
C: I outed her as a snorer on the air.
BB: Oh, dear.
K: But, I think, when you started dating her, we said, "You're going to have to tell her that everything she does is fair game."
C: I explained to her. I said, "Listen. If this is going to go..."
K: The most powerful radio I've ever heard is BJ [Burke] on Q, saying that he had cancer and was battling it. It was the most powerful radio I've heard in ages. You need to do that with your life, or what's the point of being there? Any monkey can announce the next song.
C: You're a part of people's lives, every day. I'm in the shower with everybody in the morning. So is Kate. We're a part of their lives as their day starts. They're doing everything, and we're right along for the ride. People come up and say, "Hey, you're with me every morning on my way to work. I do everything with you guys." So, they're friends, even though sometimes, we've never met. They feel that we're friends with them. I think that's part of the appeal of our show because we just seem like their buddy. Just a regular person.
K: I don't know what would be off limits. I don't think anything [would be]. I think if I was in trouble, it wouldn't be off limits.
C: The [Canadian Broadcast] Standards Council. If they said something we couldn't do, then we won't do it.
K: But I think you owe it to people who hang out with you every single day to be their friend and to tell them the truth.
C: And to talk about stuff that they talk about.
BB: And there are regulations. If you decided to run for public office, you're off the air like that. You can announce you're running for public office on the air, and then Gary has to replace you. I'm not sure how that works in terms of a paycheque for you, or a leave of absence or what have you.
K: I think everybody takes a leave of absence.
C: You're independently wealthy anyway, aren't you?
K: I just print money at home.
K: And we sort of have an "ick" meter for what we say. We don't push anything to push it. I don't think we've ever consciously [said], "Oh, let's say this because it will be controversial."
BB: You're not shock jocks.
K: I just don't think it's what we do. We don't shy away from stuff that needs to be talked about, either, or that we want to talk about. But, we do have an "ick" meter. If Colin says something, I'll be, "You know?" Just trust your instinct. I don't feel good.
C: Kate has more the "ick" meter than I do.
K: Well, it's more of a female "ick" meter. Even if I said something, you're, like, "You know? That's a bit of a harsh stand on that. You could tone that down."
"You're right. Maybe I don't need to be quite so angry about it."
C: The code for that is, "Sure. Let me help you off the soap box there."
BB: I gave the eulogy at my dad's funeral last week. I showed the first draft to my fiancee. She goes, "Take that piece out now!"
K: Right. She just didn't feel it was right.
BB: I took it out, and it was better for not being there.
K: And, you knew, when it was gone, it wasn't it. I think that's how you have to roll. You have to have a lot of communication and a lot of talk.
BB: And someone you can trust to tell you not to do something.
K: Yes! A lot.
C: But, we don't talk about anything that listeners aren't talking about. Tiger Woods? Sure.
K: You can't shock a 55 year-old woman. She's seen and done just about everything. Even if you don't want to know that that's what's happened.
One day, we literally got talking about E it was during the Tiger Woods things, but I'd noticed on some website that there was a strip club, and it said on the sign, "Something serving Steak". I went, "I've never been to a strip club, but would I eat food in a strip club?" I didn't even know strip clubs served food. Little sheltered.
K: I don't need to incriminate anyone. Literally, the conversation was off for 2 hours. Callers were crazy. "Would you think that strip club food/Annapolis Valley goes together?" Not so much. Just the food part, maybe. But, literally the phones rang off the hook with either people who'd been to strip clubs, were grossed out by the fact that they served food, how hygienic would it be. There would some iffy innuendos tossed in for good measure, because there's always a couple. And, none of it from us. Not one single bit of it from us. It was all from the listeners, every last bit of it.
C: We've talked about things that we thought, "OK, the guys will call on this one, because this is a guy's subject." And the women [were] all over it. And, we go with it. I think one of our strong suits is that we can go with the flow on something, that we can adjust on the fly to whatever it is the day brings.
K: And those few that will push it really far, those few callers, they know we just won't air it. That's ok. Sometimes they do it because they think we will get a kick out of it.
BB: OK. You're revealing now that the calls you take on the air are seldom actually live.
C, K: They're never live.
C: Never, ever, ever. Ever! Most of them are edited for content, as they say on tv. We take out the crap that nobody cares about.
BB: There's the illusion of it being live.
K: Yes. And sometimes it takes a while to get people. Let's face it. This isn't their profession. They're probably a really good nurse. But, I'm a really bad nurse. Colin is fabulous. He's so frickin' fast at editing. A call comes in. He gets it edited. He can have it on seconds later. He is so good at that. It's so caller intensive.
C: We can say, "Hey, give us a call." Hit the commercial. Somebody will call. I'll have it recorded, edited, and before the island's done [an island is a bank of commercials].
K: And people really appreciate that you made them sound smart.
BB: What editing software do you use?
C: Adobe Edition.
BB: There's also Audacity and a bunch of other ones.
C: I used Audacity in Saint John. It was a pain. Unless you've got a Mac computer to use it on; it's a Mac based system. You can put it on a pc, but to put it in a usable format, you've got to transfer it into this and that.
BB: It's got unusual file formats. I've got Audacity at home, and it's a pretty daunting piece of software for a little guy like me. I was wondering what you use, because I'll probably download it myself. I want something that's easier.
C: Adobe Edition. It's super easy.
K: And on the off times that I use it. Again, on the division [of duties]? That's the division. Colin does the editing of the callers. It can be done by either of us, but you're fast.
C: I don't think we even think about, "You do this; I do that."
K: And callers really do. They appreciate being smart, and there's lots of times when we don't do a lot of preamble so that we can get it on fast. It's just, "What's the question? What's the answer?"
C: And listeners usually know that, when they're calling about whatever the subject is, they'll say, "Hey!" about this. "Yeah. Sure. What do you think?" And, off they go. We let them go. They make a joke. We make a joke. And, back into Loverboy.
K: Yes, usually no longer than a minute and a half, per call.
C: And, sometimes you get them short and sweet. They're 10 seconds. Then, the joke is done. And, away you go.
7. Please say something about the following people
a. Darrin Harvey
C: Smells like bacon.
K: Smells like bacon? Really? Has better painted toenails than me.
K: Oh, yeah. He gets a pedicure every Spring whether he needs it or not. It's like taking the puppy in to be clipped. It's good times for Darrin Harvey.
When we moved here, Darrin knows everything about the Valley. He is Mr. Valley. If I had a banner for him, I would let him wear a banner every day.
BB: He worked for your competition for many years.
K: He was there for a very long time, or so I hear. And, again, my answer to everything is, "I'm new here. I don't know anything". I don't know any histories. I don't know anything.
C: I don't know So-and-so is related to So-and-so, and whatever.
K: Right. And Darrin's certainly the musicphyte here. There's a number of them, but certainly he knows every song, and every word, and who played the harmonica, and what guitar they used, and the keys it's in. And, again, it's what's your strong suit, because I don't even have a clue.
C: And if he doesn't know it, then Tony Levy in our Creative Department knows it.
K: And, so, while I love the music, I don't know every nuance of the music. It's not my thing. But, it's totally Darrin's thing. If anyone's looking for a community guy, he's the guy. He's basically in Wolfville for everything they do, because he's really very artsy.
C: He was at the Steve Poltz CD release party Wednesday night [May 12]. Hosted that. He does all that sort of stuff.
BB: I would have loved to go to that. I just had other stuff going on.
K: And it takes all different types of personalities. I would rather mudslide down the river...
C: Or just grease me up and cover me in plastic, and send me down the snow hill.
K: Everybody's got a thing, right? His is to be very, very involved in the arts and music community here.
BB: Great guy, too.
K: Super great guy.
b. Dave Chaulk
K: He is tall.
BB: He's on the air right five minutes from now.
K: Again, I'm new here. I have no history. Can I answer that for every question?
K: He's just been here a lot of years. I've only known him for 2 years. So, whatever you say about Darrin Harvey or Dave Chaulk doesn't compare to what everyone else knows about them.
C: Right, because we just met them for the first time...
BB: Two years ago...
K: 2 years ago. Dave knows everybody around here and has a huge wealth of background stuff, which is invaluable. A story comes up, or something comes up, and he'll be like, "Well, let me tell you, 15 and a half years ago blah blah blah did blah blah blah, and this happened", And you're, like, "Oh, I get it now!"
BB: He adds the context.
K: He puts a lot of context to things.
C: That, and he can put together a mean picnic table.
K: He's quite crafty. We use him for a lot of handyman stuff around here. He's quite handy. The things you don't know about Dave Chaulk! Tall. In context. And handy.
BB: He's been working on the radio in the Valley since the early '80's. And, before that, he worked in the city. He worked at CJCH. He was the back up sports guy. He had his own little sports show on CJCH radio...
C: That wasn't yesterday.
BB: Yeah. About 30 years ago. And, the first time I ever heard Colleen Jones' name was through Dave Chaulk, because he did a feature on a very young Colleen Jones, around 1981.
BB: Yes, I remember hearing that show on the radio.
K: So, now I'd like to add "old" to the list.
C: Yes. Old and tall. Kind of like a redwood.
K: You're not taping right now, are you? I don't want that in.
BB: Tell him I want to talk to him. I want to interview this man, because he has a lot of stories to tell.
c. Blaine Morrison
K: Ah, The Blues Man!
C: And, again, another person we met two years ago. Didn't know him.
BB: His reputation did not precede him out West, apparently.
C: No. Not even in Fredericton or Saint John.
K: We were just sad enough without the blues in Saskatoon. We were just a sad crew.
BB: Well, his show is syndicated, is it not?
C: It is.
K: I never ran into it at any of the places I was at.
C: I actually thought that Bluesman Blaine and Blaine Morrison were two different people.
K: You did not! Did you?
C: At first. Yes. I had no idea.
K: Again, super salt-of-the-earth guy who.. the Valley is what he is and does; and music is what he is and does. Again, the nuance of the harmonica, and the note of the thing. That is so his thing.
BB: Diatonic versus chromatic [See Bevboy's interview with Darrin Harvey for more information]
C: Are those words even in the dictionary?
K: I have no clue. So, you have two people: D (as we call Darrin Harvey), and the Bluesman, Blaine Morrison. They know everybody. They're very involved in the Arts and music community. They're just really entrenched in what they are and who they are and in the Valley. Really, really entrenched.
BB: Do you listen to his show?
K: To Blaine's show?
K: Yes. I have listened to Blaine's show. Again, Blues not my great strong suit, but it's an avenue for new music on a classic rock station.
C: A little-known fact about Blaine: In the morning when I usually run back to grab a coffee, when you pass his office, he sounds just like Bonnie Raitt when he sings.
K: I had no idea!
d. JC Douglas
C: It's funny, because I emailed JC years ago, just to send him a resume or whatever. I just emailed him over the years, once in a blue moon. I never met him until a year ago. I worked with Jason DesRosiers, JD, from Q, in Fredericton. When JD went to the Q, I'd go to hang out with JD, ran into him there. Super, great guy. I mean, I've heard of JC from before. I don't know a whole lot about his career, but super nice guy. Can't hold his liquor, though. Loves mudslides.
BB: I have a major JC Douglas interview in my recorder here. I keep tapping away at it.
K: Oh, so now we'll know all know JC Douglas. So, I'm going to read the interview and make a command decision on whether I like him or not. I'll decide then. I'll read Bev's Blog. "I'm really not feeling this JC guy" On it goes.
e. Tom Bedell
K: I'm new here, and he seems really nice. Again, I've only met him a couple of times. We actually went in and haranged the show.
C: Oh, with George Thoroughgood.
K: With George Thoroughgood. He was interviewing George Thoroughgood. They were in the old studios. When I lived in Halifax and I went to St. Mary's, he was a big freakin' deal.
C: He still is.
K: I meant me in the past tense more than them. You listened to it, and you say, "Let's go into Q. Tom's got George Thoroughgood". So, I go in, and we cram into this tiniest, dirtiest, little dustiest room with carts and records. "Really? They do Q out of this?"
C: This is the mighty Q?
K: Really? It's not so mighty.
BB: Is this when they were on Agricola Street?
K: It's more of a closet than a Q. What is this place? It was so small. Anyway, he was so sweet. He let us pile on in. But, I totally expected something different, obviously. I expected something big and grand, and wonderful.
BB: Their new studios are amazing.
K: Big and grand and wonderful?
BB: God, yeah. Very sprawling.
K: Now I want the image forever of Tom Bedell stuck in this closet.
C: Tom's worked at CFBC and C-98 before I was there. He went off to Halifax. I think I more or less came in and filled a void after he had left, when I went to Saint John.
BB: So, you followed him, too?
C: Yes. I stalked him.
BB: I interviewed him last year. Great guy.
f. Ken Geddes
K: Other people know more stuff. Other people are smarter that us, Bev. I'm sorry.
BB: Well, if I knew people out West whom you would have worked with, I'd drop those names.
K: It wouldn't be so relevant to your blog, probably.
BB: There's a guy in Kentucky. I told him about my blog. He's a radio personality down in Kentucky. He wants to read some of the interviews. He doesn't know who you guys are, but he's a radio guy.
Ken Geddes, your recently-departed … was he General Manager here?
K: Yes. And, now Sales Manager, right? I have the position right?
C: I can grow a mustache better than him.
K: You probably can.
BB: At Newcap in Halifax?
K: Yes. So, Ken was really great for just letting us go.
BB: Who actually hired you?
C: And Steve Jones for a bit for my interview. Steve Jones is the Vice President in charge of programming for Newcap.
K: Do you want to get back to Ken?
C: I can still grow a mustache better than Ken.
K: They hired us. Just really good conversations on the phone. I obviously had to do everything over the phone. You did take a zip down; I obviously didn't zip anywhere.
C: I had a fact finding mission. Came down for a visit. Had a free weekend, and came down.
K: But, Ken with us was... We'd say, "We'd like a couple of giant pumpkins, because we hear there's some sort of race. I don't know." He'd be like, "All right. Go get yourself some pumpkins."
"You know, Ken, we'd like to go on a weeklong food drive. We need a U-Haul and a tent." He spent a lot of time going, "All right. I don't really know what you're up to...
C: ..."but get what you need."
K: …"get what you need. Do your thing."
BB: His job was to source those things for you?
K: No. His job was to say, "How are we going to launch a morning team who's from away?" We're from away. How do you do that?
BB: Peardon's not a Valley name!
K: Right. He was really good about, when we would say, "You know what we think we're going to do?" And, he'd go, "All right. Give 'er a shot. See how it goes."
"You know what we once did some place else." And, he'd [say], "All right. Give 'er a shot. See how it goes."
C: "We have this crazy idea for a contest."
K: When you're in a small work environment like this, your GM is not up on a high tower doing high tower stuff. They're really into the sales team because they're also the sales manager, intimate with promotions. That kind of stuff. I never felt like I couldn't go in and go, "So, man. Here's what we want to do. We thought we would hang by our ankles." He wouldn't just go, "That's never been done. Let's not do it." He'd go, "All right. Let's give it a shot. Let's see if it will work."
So, that was nice moving here from away: that we weren't pigeon-holed. "This is what we expect. This is what you're going to do. This is how it's going to work." A lot of freedom. And Gary? Same thing. "Give it a try. I'll tell you if it was really awful."
BB: And, you're not set up to fail. You're allowed to fail.
K: You're allowed to fail.
BB: Without jeopardizing your job necessarily.
K: Absolutely. That's the key to a morning show, because if you don't let them try and fail, then just have a recorded voice. Just have that dictionary voice.
C: Yes. It's like you said: Everybody knows the music. We're not going to improve on The Rolling Stones. Ahem! The Beatles. We're not going to improve on them. The only thing we can improve on is ourself.
K: And the station and how much you're out and about. And, Ken very much believed in "Be seen. Be seen." So, if at 11 o'clock, or 10:30, we're [saying], "You know what? We're going out in the Cruiser. I don't know where we're going. I don't know what we're doing. We're out."
C: Give us some hats and t-shirts, and away we go.
K: You didn't have to explain where you were going, what the gas bill might be. You didn't have to do that because you were out and you were talking to listeners and making people feel good. Half the battle was won.
BB: Give me an example of an idea you had that turned out not to be successful since you've been here.
K: I'm sure there's a million things that we haven't done well.
BB: Is there one that comes to mind that makes you think, "Gee, maybe we shouldn't have done that."
C: Usually you take them and learn from them.
BB: Of course. You learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.
C: I wouldn't say anything has been really disastrous.
K: No. Nothing cost anybody any money and didn't land us in prison. They were all successful in that point. Was there anything we really pushed for and it just was not cool?
C: The most disastrous thing was that cardboard boat we put together, but that's not what we're looking for here.
K: You're right. It was really awful, though. Somehow, a quickly-sinking cardboard boat makes more of an impact on all the people at an event than the cardboard boat that somewhat works. You're right. That was disastrous.
I don't know if there was anything that was really a horrible flop where nobody shows, nobody came. We have a really talented team. We never just do anything on our own.
C: That, and people around here are really excited to have people come out and do things for them, or come to their event or what have you, that they'll come out and they'll support you.
K: We've had lots of things that just didn't work. I sent Colin down Burger Hill, greased up with butter.
BB: Burger Hill? Which one is that?
K: That's the one heading into Kentville, in between New Minas and Kentville. Everybody goes sledding. I thought I'd slather him up.
BB: By the research station?
C: Yes. It's a big sliding hill in the Winter time.
K: So I slathered him up in lard and butter. I started to send him down the hill, which seemed like a good idea. There was a couple of people watching. It was really for that. Just, if people drove by, they'd see.
He got about half way down the hill. The police came. I'm down at the bottom of the hill walking towards Colin. I'm thinking, "Oh, no." All that's running through my head is, something about butter and there'd be some sort of bacteria in the butter that would wreck plants at the egg research centre. Don't ask! That makes no sense. But, in my head, it's something really awful that we did with the butter.
C: It's federal land. I looked up, and I thought, "Well, we're not blocking traffic. What are we doing?" I look up the hill, and here's the cop, Ron DeLorey, standing there and [beckoning him to] come here."
K: I'm trying to run up the hill so poor Colin doesn't get zipped off on his own.
C: And he says, "Do you want a challenge?"
K: They pull a great big lid out of the back of the cop car!
C: They bring the newest cop, the rookie cop. He knew because we went on the air that morning. "11 o'clock we're going up to Burger Hill and we're going to slide down." Well, he showed up at 11 o'clock and brought the rookie cop with him, not telling him what he was doing. He said, "Let's have a race! You greased up, and him on the lid to a box." He was going to use their riot shield They thought, "Nah. It would look really bad." So, they used this box; it's really reinforced plastic. Really super strong. And, [the rookie cop] was gone!
BB: Did he get you to hold his gun for him?
C, K: No.
K: Nobody would trust us with a gun. So, that's the one time when I really felt like, "We're in some serious trouble here." And, I thought the butter was the problem. It wasn't us; it was the butter. I was going to blame it on the butter. How awful is that?
But, for the most part, it's gone fine. There's been some videos and stuff that didn't work out as well as I thought. We're not great with the technology.
C: We've tried things with the show, a little bit here and there. "That just doesn't work. Let's move on and try something else." We don't dwell on it. We don't [wonder], "How can I make that better?" It didn't work.
BB: And you're allowed, like I said, to make a mistake from time to time and learn from it, and no one's going to lambaste you for it.
K: No. And, it's vitally important.
BB: It must feel really good to have that freedom.
K: Really good.
8. Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
C: Five years older.
K: He's been thinking about that for weeks now, Bev. Weeks!
Still dieting and getting botox? I don't know. I couldn't even begin to possibly guess where I'd be in 5 years. I've never been anywhere for 5 years.
C: The longest I've worked for one company is 6, but that was in two different cities and three different radio stations.
K: I'm not in any big rush to leave here. I have lots of fun every single day. Colin's all right.
BB: Ratings are good?
K: Ratings are fantastic. Again, it's the listeners. It's their show, so they've rated themselves really freakin' highly. They like themselves. Ratings are fantastic. The show is great. We're out a lot. I love the listeners. They're amazing. I don't know, man. I'm in no rush to make a resume up.
C: If something comes, great. But I'm not retired, either. I'm not retiring to the Valley. If an opportunity came up in the city, great. If an opportunity came up in Ottawa, great.
K: Don't say Edmonton.
C: Edmonton? No.
K: That limits a lot of stuff. I made a conscious decision at 35 years old to say, "I'd like to come home." My parents are older. I want to come home. I need to be a bit closer. So, when you start ruling out the fact that you're going to move on to Vancouver or Edmonton or Calgary or a lot of big city teams, that limits you. But, I know that I've done that to myself. That's ok.
BB: You did it on purpose.
K: I did it on purpose. I left a fantastical gig.
BB: Going back to Ken Geddes: You got a phone interview. I've had the odd phone interview. It's awkward. I wonder how a phone interview was for applying for a radio job?
K: Mine have mostly always been phone interviews because I've been so far away. I've never had a face-to-face to get a job.
BB: And the cost of flying yourself or them flying you here is just prohibitive.
K: And it's never really worked. I remember that Regina had mentioned it, once. And, I said, "Do you really think that's necessary? Are you going to learn a lot more about me face-to-face? I'm either better looking or uglier than you thought I was on the phone." I didn't see the need to do it. I could see Regina on the internet. I knew what was on the go. They had a pretty good sense of me. I think you get a pretty good sense on the phone.
C: I've never had a sit-down interview with anybody, either.
K: It must be a common radio thing, then.
C: Mine were all over the phone.
K: Because you're usually some place else.
C: I was in Charlottetown, and I got a call from Dave Cochrane. "Hey, Colin!"
BB; Dave Cochrane. My God. He was an old CJCH guy.
C: He called up and said, "Hey, we got a spot here. You want it?"
BB: "You start Tuesday."
C: Basically, that's what it was. In Charlottetown, I was down to one shift a week. You can't exactly live on that. You can't even by KD for that. He had more shifts.
K: You go where there's more shifts and more money. And, you get to a certain age where it's a lot more about the learning and the challenge of a job in a lot of ways.
BB: And lifestyle, too.
K: And lifestyle. This is a totally different pace. I'm not going to spend Christmas on the air for 24 hours talking about Saddam Hussein hanging in a cell. You lose interest in it after a bit. So, this is a whole different pace. I might spend 24 hours sitting in a ladder with Colin in the freezing cold, high above the street of Wolfville in a fire truck. I might do that for charity. But, that's pretty different than being on the air for war breaking out.
BB: I'm curious to know what kind of questions they asked you when you had your interview [for K-Rock]. I work in IT, so the kind of questions they ask me are a lot of situational things.
K: I think, when Ken and Gary both called me, it was a lot about philosophy. Whether I steered it that way, or they steered I that way, I don't really remember. But, it was really about philosophy of radio and the philosophy of the community. Because, I've always said, "If you think it's an 8-5 job, go sell shoes somewhere. That might be an 8-5 job." It's not.
So, I think it was a lot about philosophy with us.
C: Yes. Mainly it was the launch of a new station. The launch of a new station takes a lot more work than walking into a heritage station. It's already there; everybody knows it. We're coming up against 2 heritage stations.
BB: A sprawling population.
C: Yes. And, are you willing to do the work that'll make this station number one? "Well, yes. Sure. I'll bust my hump to get out and meet people." It helps us as much as it helps the station.
K: You're not going to get the ratings by sitting in the office. There's no way.
C: You're not going to learn about anything, sitting at our desk until noon, one o'clock, and then going home, looking down in the car, and then going in the house, and not looking back outside the window after that. Go and live your life. Other people live lives. Then, you're just talking about your life, which is pretty much similar to their life, surprisingly. And, then, they think, "Wow!"
K: You do sometimes get cooler concert tickets. That's about the difference, right?
C: And you get to meet the people who are doing the concerts, too.
K: Right. Well, in the city. That doesn't, again, happen so much here.
BB: You meet Steve Poltz. [chuckles]
K: That's true!
9. What is the biggest challenge you face each day? Perhaps that's not a fair question, based upon talking to you for the last hour and a half, because each day is so different. Getting up, maybe?
C: That would be about it.
K: Is that yours?
K: I think, for me, it's keeping focus. I think every day that's a stretch. The job seems really stupid. Doesn't it seem like the stupidest job ever? You stand there. You listen to tunes. You surf the internet. You babble a bit. I mean, how hard should that be, right? It shouldn't be hard. It should be really freaking easy.
C: We're living a Seinfeld episode.
K: It's a really, really stupid job. It makes no sense whatsoever that anybody would ever get paid for this job. And, yet, the mental focus that this job takes is really taxing. You really should be tired at the end of a four hour shift You should be exhausted from mentally doing something.
BB: Are you?
K: Yes, mentally exhausted. Especially now. Back in the days of reel-to-reel and stuff I don't really know, you were taxed from trying to organize everything. But now, with digital, that's so simple. Editing calls is so easy. Nobody's splicing anything.
C: To edit a phone call now is just [makes sound effect of chopping]. You're not dealing with scads of tape. When I worked at CFBC, I did the rock show in the evening, so you had the kids calling up and requesting the songs. You had to splice all those calls together. The white wax pencils marked the line, and you cut the tape, and taped them together.
K: And you laid out carts [cartridge tapes that looked the old 8-track tapes]. I've heard of these things. Never, thankfully, had to do them.
C: Doing all that, you were constantly going while the song was on, get it ready, and hopefully have it done in time that you could hit the reel-to-reel and get it started.
K: So now, it seems really simple, right? [On a computer] How hard could that be? But you should be sucking in every last bit of information, so we're constantly on Facebook with our listeners. We're constantly on Twitter with our listeners. We're constantly getting emails from the listeners. It's a constant barrage of information while still watching the news wire and other websites for the most immediate stuff that's happening, and the weather and webcams. It's just a barrage of information, and you have to filter all that through and only use the good stuff on a five minute by five minute basis. So, if you're not taxed at the end of it, you haven't worked hard enough.
BB: My God, you must be pretty busy. You could almost use a research assistant to help you prepare. I'll talk to Gary.
C: There would be so much lost in the translation of what we wanted to do. We've had arguments start in that office that have gone to on air and last for days sometimes.
K: The whole thing has changed so much. And, again, I've only ever worked in a digital world. I never worked in any other world. I only know how to do [digital], but you tell some of the old boys, "You should put some pictures up on the website to go with that.", and they're, like, "Aaarggh!" But, it is second nature for us to do everything: Spoken, Facebook, Twitter, website, email. It' second nature for all of that to happen at the same time. I don't think of it; it just happens.
C: All features of the show, like Ten After Laughter, that is up before we're done. She's up by 8:30.
BB: For the next morning?
C: No. For the Ten After Laughter that we've run that day, is up.
K: It's up on the website, so if you missed it, you have a bit of comedy to listen to at work.
C: People that call. We get that loaded up. The stuff that we do before we're done at 10 o'clock. Our blog is usually updated and done. Totally Impossible Trivia question and answer, up on Twitter and Facebook and the webpage.
K: And the conversations happen online, now. They do. Who am I to tell people how they're supposed to get in touch with me? I like it better if you call, but if you don't or can't, that's OK. Your comments on Facebook are good, too. And, Twitter: You make your comments really snappy and fast, which is kind of sweet.
BB: Well, with 140 characters, you have to be succinct.
K: That's it. They're really talented at writing on that. When they have something to say, and they tweet it, you're, like, "Sweet! That was good and quick."
BB: I tweeted when I got here. I said I was in your studios again.
BB: Yes. I did. So, check it out. I think you follow me on Twitter.
K: We do follow you on Twitter. You're the Twitter guy. I haven't quite got the hang of Twitter yet. Facebook, but not Twitter.
C: Twitter? I don't think …
K: I like reading through other people's tweets. I just don't tweet.
C: Our Twitter page is the show one, The Rock Alarm. The Facebook one is the K-Rock one.
K: And, The Rock Alarm [was] named by a listener.
C: That's right.
K: We're, like, "We don't want to be The Breakfast Club." We're trying to think, "What else do you do?" How many [names] can you come up with? How many morning shows are called The Morning Show?
C: And, everything's been done. We're a bit different anyway, so we thought we had to have something different, something that's not...
K: And it stuck.
C: I like "The Rockout with your Cock Out" one.
C: Because all of the chicken farmers in The Valley.
K: That's how we got out of that one. That was one of the first things that was said on our show. Like, the second day.
C: And it all went downhill from there.
BB: And it went over poorly, I'm sure.
K: Nobody had ever heard "cock" on the radio before. It was really shocking, and we didn't know it would be that shocking.
C: The next day, it was "Wake Up With Your Morning Wood."
K: I can't remember how it was actually worded. It was "Cock", and then he paused. "Rooster for all the chicken farmers." And, literally, people on the street were, like, "Are you with that station that said 'cock'?"
"We might be. Depends on if you hate me or not. I don't know what to say."
C: When we first started, we got a few emails through. "Oh, I didn't appreciate that."
K: And more people appreciated it, thank goodness.
C: Yes. We got maybe one or two, and I think they've just given up.
K: I think those people realized there's an off button. If it's not your humour or your music, then don't hang out. That's fine. There's a whole public broadcaster you pay for. Hang out there. It's good. You'll like it. Go stay there. And, they're happy. If you think you're not going to like it, then don't listen.
BB: There are some good programs on the public broadcaster.
K: There are excellent programs that somebody else will enjoy. Just go do that. There's always the crew. They just wait for stuff to hate.
10. You ask me a question
K: We have the same question. Colin?
C: Why do you do this? Why blog about radio, even though you don't work in radio?
BB: I grew up listening to the radio. I got my first radio when I was 10 years old. It was December 25, 1974. Christmas was on a Wednesday that year.
C, K: [Laughter]
BB: Look it up! Christmas fell on a Wednesday in 1974.
K: And you're devastated that I don't remember station call letters that I worked at. Sorry.
BB: I'll look them up. I'll do what I can. You said "Belleville". I'll look up Belleville and deduce what station you worked for.
I still think that radio is a pretty neat medium. I romanticize the Hell out of it. When I started my blog a couple of years ago... you can only write about your cat so many time, and what you had for supper.
C: I had a ham sandwich!
BB: I choked on a ham sandwich. But, I know some people who work in radio in Halifax. They know me because I was always calling into Rick Howe's Hotline on CJCH. I approached Deb Smith, who works at C100 now. Do you know these people at all, or do you know of them?
C: I've heard of Rick Howe. That's about it.
BB: [To Kate] You're new here. So, I asked her for an interview. I did a really poor job of it. I interviewed J.C. Douglas [in 2008], and I did a poor job with that. But, after I met with him, I bought a digital voice recorder. I'm on my third one now.
C: You should always have the recorder. It's a good call.
BB: I got more and more serious about it. I started to get a bit of cache with the radio people in Halifax and down here. You guys like to talk [about yourselves]. As Nicolle Bellefontaine told me (she works at C100, which is a radio station in Halifax)...
C: Thanks for explaining that.
K: I do know that.
BB: Well, she worked in the Valley for a while, too. But, I just think that radio is a really neat medium. I've always loved radio. I still enjoy listening to talk radio at night. I have the most amazing table-top radio. I can pick up stations from hundreds of miles away. I know I can listen to them on the internet if I want to, but there's something about turning on a radio and tuning into WABC, 770 AM; or WCBS 880; or 1010 WINS, and just listening to it on a damn radio. There's something about that.
C: I used to drive back and forth from Saint John to Fredericton. I'd pick up [Don] Imus out of New York. So, I'd listen to Imus on my way to Fredericton in the morning. It was all mostly political stuff, but okay. He's one of the most influential radio dudes in the States.
BB: And you got to listen to him for free. I'm in Toastmasters, which is a public speaking organization. When I drive home to my house in Timberlea from downtown Halifax, I'll listen to an AM radio station out of New York or Boston.
It is still a jazz for me to listen to the radio, and to talk to you guys, and to give you a forum to express yourselves. You get to talk on the air, but not necessarily about what you've done to get here, or your past jobs, or your likes or dislikes. You can be tightly regimented and formatted in a lot of places.
K: Yes. Absolutely. I agree.
BB: [The blog] gives you a chance to talk about whatever you want to. I like to type.
K: And transcribe. You're the best transcriber in the city.
BB: Oh, thank you.
C: I'm not a hobby guy, and that's a cool hobby.
K: It's time consuming, though.
BB: It's Hellish time consuming. I've spent over 1000 dollars on gear. I have this netbook computer that I use. I will spend hours doing this at night, sometimes.
K: OK. You asked for one question, but now I have another one. Has it taken some of the shine off radio for you, when you sit down with people? Are you disappointed in some stuff?
BB: Well, you see the man behind the curtain sometimes. I know that it's a job. I know that you put in long hours. I'm 46 years old. I don't know, if I were 18 years old again, if I would want to go into radio or not. But, I like to think I would. I like my job and everything, but just to talk to you guys is pretty cool.
K: I know, when I was a kid, lots of people in radio always wanted to be in radio. That was their dream. It never crossed my mind. I loved radio. I grew up with radio. We listened to the radio all the time. We didn't have cable. They still don't have cable at my house. Or high speed internet. Anyway, they try. I love them.
It was just random that I fell into it. It was super random. That's why I was never "radio-ish". That's why I don't know call letters or people. And, not that it was just a job. I just like a different facet of it than the "radio" part of it.
I remember, when I worked at CHTN E they'd heard from somebody else that there was somebody who did radio living in Charlottetown; I wasn't working in radio at that time. So, they got in touch with. They're, like, "Hey, can you pick up a few shifts? We need somebody to fill in."
"Yeah. Sure. Whatever. That's fine. I can help out." So, I go there; and J.P. Gaudet, who had been on the radio my whole life as a kid on CHTN of CFCY or whatever station was Top 40-ish at the time. It would switch every once in a while. Keep us on our toes. To me, J.P. Goodie would have to be 4000 years old. I get there, and he's this little, tiny guy. At 4AM he's all, like, "Hey, how are you?"
"You're, like, 42!" I don't know how old he'd be, but he wasn't 4000. I get up there, and it's this little studio, much like the Q. It was, like, "The shine's gone off it. That's awful!" I had worked in radio for years before that happened. But, it wasn't my idol of growing up in my room at night, listening.
BB: Well, I still do it. I did it last night.
K: I listen online a lot. And, you're right. There's probably something to tuning into someone. But, I wake up to the radio in the morning. That's what comes on.
C: When we were kids, we'd go out to the garage. We got the tape recorder from Sears...
BB: I used to do the same thing!
K: And make the radio show?
C: "Talk of the Town" with Richard Brown.
C: Because there was Tom Young's "Talk of the Town". We made our own talk show.
K: We would voice over Mad cartoon sketches. Whatever would be in a Mad Magazine , some sort of big thing. We would act out the cartoons on top. Losers! Kids today I don't think do anything like that.
BB: I used to play records, and then... I didn't know the term "back sell". I just said, "That was KISS!"
K: You instinctively do a better job if you don't know the words "back sell".
C: We don't do "radio speak" well.
K: If you don't do "radio speak", you sound better.
C: We don't play a cue to call. We play "The Winnie Thingie, because that's listeners call it.
K: "Cue to Call" is a radio thing.
C: "When are you going to play 'The Winnie Thingy'?"
"Well, 'The Winnie Thingy' will be up later, after 2."
K: Because "Cue to Call" is radio, same as "top" and "bottom" of the hour. Real people call it, "30's". Very few people get to the top or the bottom, certainly not the bottom. Sometimes you get to the top of the hour. And, I didn't even know the bottom of an hour was. Somebody in radio said it to me, and I said, "I don't know what you're talking about!"
C: It gets confusing when you look at a digital clock. "The top?! You mean, the bar at the top, or the dot at the bottom?"
K: Radio people get so involved in radio speak. It's the same in any profession, right? IT would be idiotic....
C: I'm pretty sure you could throw out words about a computer to us. Well, the colour of the hat [that they gave Bevboy as the interview started]
BB: Ubuntu. It reminds me of Ubuntu.
K: Right. What? Who? How?
K: And, that's the thing. You get so involved in your own job. The trouble with our own jobs is that everybody needs to know what you're talking about. So, if you get involved in radio speak... My news director in Regina would go around and interview neighbours. One time, as a 12 year old, he went around and said, "So, how do you feel about blah blah blah coming to our neighbourhood?" You're 12, interviewing neighbours. Nerd! But, he was a fantastic news director. He was a great reporter. He was unbelievable.
BB: That's why I do it. I just think that radio is a really neat medium. I listen to it a lot. It's a joy to live in Halifax where we have so many radio stations because I flip from one to another.
C: It's a great job. You wake up each morning and you enjoy going to work. We like getting to work, and doing what we do. Even if there's days when, "I just can't get in there". But, you know what? I'll get in there and we'll have fun.
K: I've read your blogs. When you were 18, you should have done it. Go back. Next time around.
C: As soon as you find that Hot Tub Time Machine.
K: We'll send you back.
BB: Colin and Kate, thank you so much for the last hour and a half of your life. It's been a joy talking to you. I've never talked to a morning team before.
K: And you may never do again.
BB: Well, I hope to do it again. I just have to find someone who would deign to talk to me.
K: Absolutely. I think everybody should talk to you.
BB: I keep thinking every time I do one of these interviews, it will be the last one because I don't have the connections that you guys do.
K: Well, we will find the connections for you. And, interview all of those people so that I don't have to say I'm new here. I'll know everything about them.
BB: OK. Dave Chaulk, Blaine Morrison. JC Douglas is in the works. Darrin Harvey, Did you read the Darrin Harvey interview?
K: I read the Darrin Harvey one, so I'm good with D. I know lots about D. So, yeah, do everybody else, and I'll totally be in the loop.
C: I'll just follow her. She's in the loop; I'm in the loop.
K: That's great. Thank you so much, Bev.