January 27, 2011
People ask me all the time how I arrange these interviews. Well, this one was arranged for me. The woman who hired me for my first job after university, Yolande Delmar, had Christmas dinner with Brad Dryden and his lovely wife. Yo emailed me Christmas evening to tell me that she had extolled my virtues to Brad. I thanked her then and now, and contacted Brad shortly thereafter. We arranged to meet at the C100 building on January 27th.
Brad got me a cupcake (green, to go with my eyes), we repaired to a boardroom, and we started to talk about his life, how to break into radio, and Cub Carson, because all roads lead to Cub Carson. Really. They do. Check google maps.
I am at the C100 studios with the lovely and talented Brad Dryden
Brad Dryden: Lovely, you say?
Bevboy: Yes. Welcome to Bevboy’s Blog.
BD: I don’t look so lovely at 4 in the morning. You should see what I look like at 4:30. Bloodshot eyes.
BD: Yes. I would imagine all of the morning jocks you talk to are probably up at that time.
BB: Denyse Sibley told me she gets up at 2:30.
BD: She’s crazy.
BB: That’s an obscene hour.
BD: Isn’t that crazy?
BB: I can’t imagine. I get up to pee 2:30 in the morning, and go back to bed.
Anyway, Brad Dryden: How did you get your start in radio?
BD: Well, much like you, Bev, I’m a guy who just loves the whole entertainment business and loves to talk for a living. To get paid for this is beyond my wildest dreams. I always tell people, “It beats working for a living.”
When I was younger, I started out on CBC radio. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, in my home town of Winnipeg. There was a show called “Anybody Home?”, which was kids who would read scripts and perform little skits. So, I got a job there. But, you know what? I left that job after a month and a half because I got a gig on a nationally-televised show on CTV called, “Let’s Go.” It was based out of Winnipeg.
We were all the way from Newfoundland out to Vancouver. We got fan mail from everywhere. I’d get stuff from all these far-reaching places, these little outposts. It was great.
The bottom line is: I always wanted to entertain when I was younger. Throughout this whole thing, I would sit in my room. I would spin my records.
BB: I did the same thing.
BD: Absolutely. I would do my back sells. I would write my little charts. I always loved it.
BB: You didn’t know it was a “backsell” when you were 8 years old, did you? You just knew you were coming out of a song and you said that’s who it was. Right? You didn’t call it a “backsell” then, did you?
BD: [chuckles] I did not. When I was, say, 16 (and this was a few years after of doing theatre, playing in bands) my mom approached Jim Johnson. JJ is a big guy at Corus Radio. She said to him, “How does my son get into this business?” He was looking at my resume and all this stuff I did. He said, “This kid looks like he’s got some previous experience. We have openings for OP’ing. Just starting out at the bottom.”
So, I worked my way in there. These were the days, mid to late ‘80‘s, when there were still overnight shifts. There was still the specialty jazz programming. This was a big rock station in Winnipeg called 92 CITI- FM.
BB: They had to provide a certain amount of spoken word content as well?
BD: Oh, yes. It was nasty stuff. But it was my in.
So, I started out OP’ing the jazz shows on the weekends. But, it was better than any schooling I could have gone to, because I was learning firsthand with updated equipment, state-of-the-art stuff. Winnipeg is a market of 700 000 people. It’s not small.
BB: Twice as big as Halifax.
BD: It is. Halifax is twice as lovely. This is a joke, but I always say, “The best view of Winnipeg is in the rear-view mirror.”
BB: People in Winnipeg could read this, you know.
BD: Well, people from Winnipeg know we all have a sense of humour. I love my home town. I was there until I was 22. So, from high school until 22, I worked at CITI FM. I was learning on the fly, and it was cool. I was working with guys who’d been in the business forever, meeting all these bands (Scorpions, Motley Crue, Deb Leppard). Here I was, a long-haired, mullet-wearing kid who loved rock and roll, loved radio; and I got my first gig. New Year’s Eve 1987. Terrible time for me because, I remember the first time I cracked the mic, I wasn’t in sync with the countdown clock. For anyone listening to 92 Citi FM that New Year’s Eve, they heard, “10...9... “ now, all of a sudden, something happened, and the clock was 2 seconds ahead of where I was supposed to be!
“10...9...7...6...4“ All over the place. I think they thought I was drunk while I was doing the countdown.
But, I worked my way up. I started doing evenings at CITI FM. I started doing some mid day swing. Hell, I even did some afternoon swing. Here I was, this kid just out of high school. I was 22, playing in a band at the time. We were close to going on the road. We had management. We had recording time. I was lovin’ that, but I thought, “I don’t know if I want to be playing in smokey little bars until I’m 40 trying to be the next Burton Cummings.
I got an offer from a guy I knew from Winnipeg named Greg Diamond out at CHXL in Brockville. XL 103.7 at that time. He said, “How would you like to do the morning show?”
I weighed my options. I thought that doing mornings would be the next step for me. I would always be thought of as the kid at this radio station in Winnipeg. Sometimes, the best experience you can get is going out on your own and learning it and living it. If I wanted to be a serious morning guy, because for us, that’s the whole enchilada when you’re on air. You want to be doing mornings.
BB: It pays the most, doesn’t it?
BD: Oh, sure. For the exact reason that you’re waking up at 2:30 in the morning.
So, I went out to Brockville. There I was, a 22 year old, meeting some psychotic girlfriends and living the dream. Brockville is a town of 22 000. I worked in Brockville from ‘92 until ‘94. I had a great time; I learned a lot of stuff.
I went to The Wolf in Peterborough, just outside of Toronto. That’s a market of 75 000. I did mornings there. I met a lot of people, really honed my skills. I figured out who I was on the air and how to do it.
There’s different ways to [get the experience] for everybody. Some people will start out at a station in their hometown. They’ll work their way up. And, they’ll stay there the rest of their career. That’s cool.
BB: Peter Harrison. “Biggs for Breakfast”, 1986.
BD: So, you know how it works. It works differently for different people. For me, it was bouncing around the country and learning that way.
From Peterborough, I went to CJ 92 in Calgary. That was ‘96. I actually met my wife just before I left Peterborough. She took the jump with me; we drove out in our car from Peterborough. We had only known each other for a few months, but we had to take the chance.
BB: That was a leap of faith for both of you!
BD: A leap of faith for both of us. And, here we are, 14 years later. I worked in Calgary at a CJ with a brilliant morning guy named Gerry Forbes. He’s pretty well known in the industry. Gerry is one of those guys who, you get on his good side, and you’re in. I think I did. I did a lot of song parodies. I did some stuff for his show. I think he took a liking to me. But, if you’re his enemy or his competitor, he did some nasty stuff. He was the type of guy that would order 100 pizzas and send them to his competitor’s house.
BB: He’s still working?
I went from CJ in Calgary to K-Rock in Edmonton to do afternoons.
BB: A Newcap station.
BD: Absolutely. The flagship [station]. I worked with Steve Jones, who’s now based out of Halifax. He works all over. I believe he’s head of programming for the entire chain. He lives in Halifax, but he’s flying all over the place and consulting the different stations. He’s a smart programmer. He’d just let me do my thing and If I went over the line, he’d pull me in. I loved working for Steve and K-Rock. It was a good station.
I got my shot to do the morning show in Ottawa at The Bear.
BB: And you met Cub Carson and Lea Miller.
BD: I did, yes. I’ve got some stories about Cub for you. Anyway, I worked in Ottawa from 2001 until ‘07. My wife and I came on a camping trip with some friends to the Maritimes a few years prior. We always said, “If we ever had a chance...” We just fell in love with the area. We did The Bay of Fundy, The Cabot Trail.
The call came from Terry Williams in ‘07, and here I am.
That’s a lot of history. That’s how I did it. I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody. I broke into the business at a time when I was able to hone my skills early on. There were overnight shows. There was a lot more opportunity. Nowadays, kids need all the education they can get, because it’s so competitive and that resume has got to look good.
We’ve got young people who work at this station just like every other station in the market: Some are kids who start out driving the promo truck, setting up remotes. [They should] never take that for granted. Work it to the fullest, because it’s a great “in”.
BB: I didn’t hear you talk about formal training or education as a broadcaster. You didn’t go to school to learn how to become a broadcaster?
BD: I did not. It takes very little training to do what I do [chuckles]. I never went to radio school. I didn’t have to. Fortunately, I learned the biz [on the job]. I’m not slagging radio schools. What are some of the places that people go to around here?
BB: Most notably, the community college in Dartmouth. Alex J. Walling used to have something, The Atlantic Media Institute. I’m not sure if that’s even still around.
BD: Do you know of a lot of kids who graduate from these schools?
BB: Megan, Nikki Balch, Denyse Sibley a long time ago. NSCC used to be in the Valley; they were in Kentville for the longest time. A lot of people went through there. They would get shifts at Annapolis Valley Radio because AVR was just down the street from the school in Kentville. That’s how a lot of people got their start.
BD: And I, too, probably would have done the same thing if I wasn’t fortunate enough to get my start at a medium-to-major-market station and work my way up.
BB: Ian Robinson did the same thing. He started right after high school and worked at local radio stations in Cape Breton.
BD: I should mention Danny Kingsbury was also one of my first bosses.
BB: He’s the GM at Rogers across the way.
BD: He is. You know what? It’s such a small industry. There’s so many people in this market that I either have worked with or know from previous experiences.
BB: There aren’t six degrees of separation with you guys. There might be two.
BD: That’s why you never, ever want to burn your bridges, if you can. It’s a small world, and chances are you’re going to run into these people again.
2. How difficult was it to integrate yourself into a morning team that had worked together for such a long period of time, before you arrived at C100?
BD: I didn’t find it tough at all. Peter and Moya certainly knew the market and each other, which made things a lot easier for me coming in. The show already had that wonderful heritage thing going for it, and I think I was able to bring a fresh new energy and approach to things. They were very open and receptive to the new ideas I had when I came in. I like to think some of those ideas are responsible for the great success that we’ve had as a morning show.
BB: The ratings have been good since you’ve arrived?
BD: Yes, and I’m really proud to say that we absolutely have held our own with all the new competition in the market. We’re #1 overall as a station and a morning show, and have been for much of my tenure here at C100.
One of the biggest compliments that I’ve received since coming here is when people say, “I wasn’t sure what to expect when Kelly Latremouille left. But, you just took over from where he left off. The transition was seamless. The chemistry is just great. And, now, I feel the show is even better.”
BB: How did you establish a chemistry? Did you go out to dinner a few times, or to each other's homes? There must have been some bonding that had to take place.
BD: Bonding, and booze. We’ve all been in it long enough. We just sort of clicked. I was very lucky to have Peter and Moya because they knew the market and the players in it. Peter has a huge rolodex of numbers that we were able to call upon so I didn’t have to come in cold and try to establish myself that way. I could get to know the market at a more relaxed pace.
But, a mixing of their experience in the market, my experience elsewhere; I think the two really married together quite well. We were fortunate to have that great chemistry from the beginning. Does that answer things?
BB: It does. I just figured you guys would have had to go out and have a few drinks and bond a bit off air before you went on.
BD: We did. Peter and Moya are very gracious people. When I got here, we went for a tour. They showed me all the sights. We did go out for lunch down by the water and chatted about things. There were also numerous phone calls and meetings. I was so excited about this opportunity. I think they were, too. So, absolutely. It wasn’t just, “Show up and let’s make it happen.” You have to work hard at these things. You’ve heard this before: Being in a morning show is just like being in a marriage. You have to work at it to make it successful.
3. Please tell me about a couple of on air mistakes you've made.
BD: I made all sorts of errors in the early days when I was just starting out at Citi FM in Winnipeg. I was just out of high school and really had no idea what I was doing. Some of the characters I tried, and the people I put on the air, and the ideas I had... I was just a kid. But, it was 3 o’clock in the morning on the all night show, so no harm done, I suppose. I met some very strange people, some radio groupies.
I have said some wrong call letters on air. I actually said the wrong call letters here. I said the station I was previously at a couple of times. I figure Peter and Moya had silent bets on the side whether I would do it. It’s hard after so long when you have to say new call letters. But, I did; I blurted out, “The Bear” once or twice in those early days. But everyone just rolled their eyes and made no mention and knew that, sooner or later, I would get it.
BB: But nothing really, really bad that you had to be called into the boss’ office and be threatened with dismissal?
BD: No. I’ve been pretty good. Like I said, I know where the line is. You can creep up to that line. I’ve worked in rock radio my whole career, so I was able to be a little edgier in an earlier life. Here, we have a lot of families listening. We’re very aware of that. Everything we do on the air, we have to think about the audience that is listening to you, and the audience that is buttering your bread, that are paying the bills. You can get close to that line, but you never want to do anything that is going to jeopardize your listening audience. You have to know who your core is.
When I got my vasectomy done; we played it on the radio here. I didn’t air the whole thing, but I brought my little recorder along and played the highlights. As soon as the doctor said, “There’s going to be smoke and you’re going to smell a little burning now”, that’s when things got serious and I shut the recorder off.
BB: It’s educational for people, isn’t it?
BD: I guess. Thank God it’s not TV . People can use their imaginations. “Theatre of the mind”, right?
4. What is the best piece of professional advice you've ever received, and who provided it?
BD: When I was 22, just before I left Winnipeg, my dear uncle said to me, “Don’t tell them what you can do. Show them what you can do.” I’ve always followed that example. I think it’s important to toot your own horn, but to the right people. We all have an ego in this business, but I’ve tried my best to keep it contained. When you lose, say nothing. When you win, say even less. Does that make sense?
BB: It does. Do you want to say the name of your uncle?
BD: Uncle Lloyd.
Always take the high road. Be yourself on the air. I know people have told you that one. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting praise. I like it, but you work in this little bubble when you’re on the radio. A lot of times you do things solely if it feels right, if they’re entertaining to you.
We do a lot of contests on the air that I think are really entertaining. For instance, The Squeaky Toy game, where you conference 2 people, and the other person doesn’t know that they’re on the radio. Every time you hear the squeaky toy, you yell out something absurd, like “Chocolate chip cookies!” And, you just listen in. It’s not rocket science here. We’re just having some fun. If it feels right, do it. If it’s entertaining, do it.
So, when someone compliments me on something, of course I say, “Thank you”, but sometimes I just feel so blessed to do this that I don’t know how to react when it’s just something that I think comes pretty naturally to me and my team.
BB: Has there ever been a piece of constructive criticism that was especially helpful to you?
BD: Hmm. Know when to get out of a bit. I think there’s a lot of people who go way too long with certain bits. I think, in this age of the sound bite, and brevity, you have to be to the point, because there’s a lot of other competition out there. I think we do it really well. That’s one thing that was given to me in my earlier career that stuck. Know where you’re going, and know when to get out.
BB: That might include a job, too, couldn’t it?
BD: Yes. [laughs] You’re very right, Bev.
5. The Megan Edwards Question. You lose you iPod. I find it. What songs on it would surprise me the most?
BD: Well, I’m a classic rocker from all those days of working in rock radio. It’s meat and potatoes stuff for me. Stones. Zeppelin. Beatles. Moya says that my music choice is very heavy. It’s not. I’ll occasionally slip in the odd Iron Maiden or AC/DC track, but I think most people would be surprised that there’s also quite a bit of ABBA, Bee Gees, and even the odd Village People song.
BB: Oh, my God!
BD: Come on, man!
BD: Absolutely. On a Saturday night, when the beers are flowing, you have to do the old Y-M-C-A. [Brad and Bev sing a bit of the song and act out the familiar refrain. Brad is much better at it than Bev is]
BB: I’m keeping this question. I get a different answer every time.
BD: It’s a good one. Who was your favourite Village Person?
BB: I think The Cop.
BD: Everybody says The Cop!
BB: What was his name? Victor Willis?
BD: You see, the scary thing is, you know that guy’s name. Do you know another name on The Village People? I’m busting you right now!
BB: I don’t know any other names.
BD: OK. Thank God. Victor Willis actually got in a lot of trouble recently. He went to jail or something like that.
BB: I hadn’t heard. They’re still around in some capacity.
BD: I believe one or two of them have died. But, they can find another guy to fill the spot and tour casinos world-wide.
I didn’t know the whole interview would be about The Village People, so let’s move on.
6. Please say something about the following people
A. Moya Farrell
BD: One of the kindest and most generous souls that I’ve ever met. No ego at all. On air, she has this great sense of who she is and how to get it done. She’s so reliable and good at what she does. I’m damned lucky to work with her.
BB: When you came on board, was there a redistribution of duties among the three of you? Peter always does the news; Moya always does the weather and the entertainment spots. Was there discussion about what roles people would play on the air, with the new fella coming on board?
BD: I’m the one behind the boards, so I guess I’m the quarterback. But, you know what? The thing that I like about the show is, it’s not just one person. It is a team. It’s a 3 person show. It’s The Breakfast Club with Brad, Peter, and Moya. Everybody has a say, and everybody gets to play. We try to include all 3 of us. We try to develop our characters on the show. Moya is the Newfoundland girl. Loves her husband. Loves running. Hates her dog.
We just had a conversation about that the other day. We phoned her husband and asked, “If the house was burning down and you had to choose between your dog and Moya, who would you choose?” Kevin loves his dog, Charlie. He had to think about it for a little while. He said, “Well, I think I would take Charlie, because Moya’s smart enough where she could just get out on her own." Let me tell you: He was sleeping in the doghouse with Charlie after that call.
Peter loves good wine, but isn’t drinking as much of it anymore. He’s really getting into shape and looks great.
I’ve got my wife. I call her The Honeybunny on the air. I never use her name because sometimes I say a little bit more than I should. You always want to try to relate to the listener, so nothing’s off limits with me for the most part. I’ll talk about how my wife likes to pee with the bathroom door open. Or, how, occasionally she’ll fart in bed. Well, she doesn’t want her name being said, and I can see why. So since I started talking about her, many years ago (before Halifax), I’ve always referred to her as The Honeybunny. She comes on the air as well. She’s great; she takes it in stride. She’s got a good sense of humour about it.
BB: My nickname for my fiancee is “Sugarbunny”.
BD: Oh, Sugarbunny!! I think I’m going to be sick.
B. Peter Harrison
BD: Peter’s a true pro. We can be seconds from on air with no idea of how we’re going to get out of a break, and Peter just knows how to do it. He’s always cool under pressure. He’s a great newsreader, too. He has this way of transitioning from serious news to saying some really whacked out stuff throughout the show. I find it amazing, because he never really loses that news credibility of his. It just comes from years of doing it. He’s so comfortable and in touch with his sound and his style, that he’s able to pull it off.
BB: I asked him for an interview last year. He said yes. We haven’t been able to interface yet.
BD: Well, I’m going to kick his butt, and I’ll make sure that he’s coming your way, bud. That’s my promise to you!
BB: I’ll hold you to it.
C. Terry Williams
BD: I like and respect Terry a lot. He’s been around a long time, and he knows his stuff. One of the things that I really liked about working with him was how appreciated he’d make you feel…that you were the most amazing talent in the world. This motivated me to work even harder and do even better the next day. I think that’s a really important trait for a programmer to have.
BB: What’s it like to compete with him now? You guys are going for the same demographic.
BD: I don’t know. We’re all friends. I’d be interested to hear what the other people that you talk to say about that question. I think they would be relatively similar to what I say. We’re all just trying to do our thing. Competition keeps you sharp. We’re all friendly. I see all these people out and about, and I like them.
I don’t think about it as competing against him; we just do our thing. Think about yourself. Terry hired me for Halifax, and our time working together was too short. I actually knew Terry 10 years before coming to Halifax.
BB: He bounced around for quite a while before settling in Halifax.
BD: He has worked in other markets, for sure. About 10 years before coming to Halifax, I was in Calgary. It was determined at that time that I would be going to Newcap. But, was it going to be Afternoons in Edmonton, where Steve Jones worked; or was it going to be mornings in Halifax? It was eventually decided it would be more beneficial if I went to Edmonton. I’m glad I did at the time. It was a good move. I enjoyed Edmonton. It was a good stepping stone for the next moment in my career.
BB: Somewhere on my Facebook, Ian Robinson linked to a picture of the old CJCH on air staff, circa 1974. There’s a picture of Terry Williams there with a big beard and hair. He was a jock back in the day.
BD: He’s been around. He knows a lot of people. He has a lot of stories. I think we all do. It’s been 25 years for me. You get to know everybody. It’s such a small industry. That’s why you never want to burn your bridges in an industry like this. You’ll eventually run into these people again. And, I like to think that my track record is squeaky clean.
BD: Be edgy. You know, I was never an overly blue announcer. That wasn’t my style. I would occasionally go over the line. It happens. When you’re spur of the moment, and you’re having fun, and there’s something going on, on the air. Sometimes, it happens. But, I think the successful jocks know where that line is. I think I’m one of those guys who has a pretty good feel about it.
D. Cub Carson. He told me to call you “Oatmeal”.
BD: Damn you, Carson.
BB: I don’t know what the Hell that’s all about. First of all, what do you want to say about Cub Carson? And where does this “Oatmeal” come from?
BD: I’m a big fan of Cubby’s, although I don’t know how big of a fan I am right now after he told you about the oatmeal thing. He’s very talented. He’s got great timing, and he’s really quick with characters and voices.
BB: Did you help him make the decision to come here? Did he consult with you before making the decision?
BD: He did. Absolutely, which I think he should have. It’s not like you’re just moving down the road. A trip from Ottawa to Halifax is a big move. I know that his wife was leaving her job to come out here. I told him, “Halifax is a great area. Great [radio] market. Great people. And a great opportunity for you.” I’m glad he took it. I think he’s going to be great at that station. I know he’s just started, but I think he really fits the whole mold of what that station’s about.
BB: Do you check out the competition from time to time?
BD: I can only hear so much in the morning. I’ll be honest with you: When I’m on holidays, absolutely. I’m tuning around to see what’s going on out there.
BB: Do you have a favourite competing station you listen to? Do you want to say it? [Bev laughs evilly]
BD: I like it all for different reasons. I’m a radio junkie, so in the morning time, I’m not listening for the music. I’m listening for what goes on between the records. But, I’ve got my rock roots. I like to listen to a little bit of Q or maybe Hal or maybe Live, or even Kool for that matter. They’ll play the odd Gold track that I grew up on. But, C100 and Bounce? They’re great, too. They’re upbeat stuff. Hey, even CBC and Rogers for talk. So, I basically have named every station in the market. I like it all. I really do. I’m a fan of radio, so I like to hear what everybody’s doing.
BB: All right. Have you seen Cub very much since he came to Halifax?
BD: We were supposed to go out for a beer today. The bugger canceled on me because he’s got big wigs from Evanov in town. He’s got to meet with them. I mean, seriously? Really? Them over me? Come on, Cubby! I was even going to buy. Your loss, suckah!
Oatmeal. I like to wear oatmeal. See? I’m wearing oatmeal today. My pants.
BB: The colour?
BD: Yes. “Oatmeal” pants. That’s all it came from; and now, it’s starting to catch on here in Halifax. There’s a few people on our staff: A couple of people in the sales department. At the Christmas party, they saw something on Facebook. And, they called me “Oatmeal”. My butt cheeks clenched. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like, “Oh, no. This is following me, 1500 kilometres to Halifax from Ottawa. I’m never going to live it down.
BB: Did Cubby come up with that name?
BD: Yes. I have 2 young sons as well, Mac and Jamie. He always calls them “Mac and Cheese”. He’s a character. He’s a good guy. I’m glad he’s here. I think he’s going to do really well. I think he’s going to have a really great time. There’s a lot to do here.
E. Earle Mader
BD: Such a great guy, and a strong team player, who was at every event that C100 did. To look over and see your boss busting his butt for your product meant a lot to me as a member of the team. It was sad to see him go.
BB: 30 years of service with the company I think it was. It is sad.
F. Tom Bedell
BB: Do you listen to Route 104 very often?
BD: I don’t. When’s it on?
BB: Sunday nights at 9.
BD: No. It isn’t going to happen for me. Sunday night at 9 o’clock I’m either already in my jammies or eating a big box of Cheez Doodles. Or, I’m getting ready for the show.
7. Tell Me About a Typical Work Day
BB: What time do you have to go to bed at night?
BD: It depends on what’s on the night before. If there’s a good game on the night before, or something like that, or the Academy Awards, I’ll stay up later.
BB: You’ll stay up until 2 o’clock in the morning?
BD: No. But, I’ve stayed up until midnight if it’s something big that I should be watching. Part of your show prep has to be knowing the pop culture and what’s been going on. My day is: In bed about 10 o’clock. Up at 4. A nap in the afternoon for sure, from about 1 until 3, so I’m not falling asleep at the dinner table. Then, the cycle continues. Having 2 young boys and the Honey Bunny, it’s busy.
But, having young kids really provides a lot of on air banter. It’s stuff that our audience can certainly relate to, because I think a core of our audience is probably in my shoes. They’re in their late 30‘s or early 40‘s. Couple kids. Mortgage. Hockey practice. We really like to relate a lot of our personal experiences on the air.
But, we do other things, too. We’ve got, “One Minute Inside A Woman’s Head”. Neville [MacKay] joins us on Friday mornings. Dean Leland from Empire Theatres joins us on Friday. So, we have some benchmark features. Brainbusters at 6:45. Wheel of Games at 8:15. These are some games I brought with me from Ottawa. We have some other features such as Moya’s Daily Dirt as well. You add stuff like Beat the Bank to that or the $10 000 Give Away, and it gets busy. Time flies. Then, back home we go to hang out with the little ones and go to bed. That’s my life. That’s what happens. I don’t know if there’s any morning person you talk to who really has a life outside work, especially the week, when it’s just “to bed, get up, work”.
BD: Yes, you’re absolutely right. There’s just a plethora of events throughout the year. They happen every year at the same time. You always look forward. You plan for them. And, you have a blast doing them.
BB: You do, but it sucks time away from the family and even sleep time. I wonder, how do you budget your time to do everything. There must be times when you’re dead on your feet.
BD: Alcohol. “Mac, get me another beer!” You just find time. You know what? This is my passion. This is my job. My other passion is my family. You’re a busy guy. You’re getting married. I’m sure things are pretty crazy for you. You do what you have to do.
BB: Totally out of left field here. You’ve lived all over the country. How expensive is Halifax compared with other cities you’ve lived in?
BD: Real estate-wise, it’s not as bad. In Ottawa, we sold our home for more than here. And, what you’re able to buy here. We bought just over an acre [in a well-known HRM subdivision] for less than what we sold a house half the size in Ottawa.
Calgary? Edmonton? Forget it. Alberta is through the roof.
BB: How about food?
BD: Everything’s a bit more expensive these days. They’re getting you everywhere, right?
BB: You can’t complain too much too much about the cost of living here.
BD: You gotta eat. It’s not bad. Housing. Electricity. All the bills. You’re paying what you pay. It’s pretty comparable.
8. What is one thing about yourself (that you're comfortable discussing) that would surprise your listeners?
BD: You know one thing that I get a bad rap for on the air by Peter and Moya? It’s that I’m cheap, that I’m thrifty. It’s not true. You can put that in capitals. IT’S NOT TRUE!! I tip well at restaurants and the hair stylists. I buy gifts for people I know. And, I just want everybody reading this right now to know: If you listen to The Breakfast Club with Brad, Peter, and Moya, don’t ever believe what Peter and Moya say about me being a tightwad, because it’s not true.
BB: Is there any element of truth to it?
BD: It depends on whom you talk to. You’re giving me a loaded question, here.
BB: Do you recycle paper towel?
BD: No. Paper towel. Toilet paper. I never recycle them. I’m just sayin’. But, OK, maybe in the past I’ve been known to do the old, “Oh, I’ll grab the bill in just a second. Oh, you’re going to take care of it? Oh, thank you. I’ll get you next time!” That used to be a big phrase for me.
BB: And, there’s never a next time!
BD: That’s right. If I know that my time is coming, I ain’t showing!
So, I want our huge audience of listeners to know that I am not cheap.
BB: OK. You’re not cheap at all.
9. Tell me about a couple of things about Nova Scotia that you particularly like.
BD: The ocean. All the things to do when you have a young family. There’s still parts of the region that we haven’t had a chance to explore yet.
BB: Do you vacation here?
BB: My fiancee is from Pictou County. We spend a lot of time up there. We have a cottage up there.
BD: You do? Can I come sometime? I’ll call!
BB: Of course.
BD: I’ll bring the beer. We’ll have a great time.
BB: It’s a huge piece of property.
BD: That’s the best thing about this area. There’s so much to do in such a short drive. PEI is within 3 hours. People know all this stuff.
We love the usual spots, like Lunenberg, Mahone Bay. Acadia University? Gorgeous school!
BB: I went to Acadia.
BD: You did?
BB: So did Peter Harrison.
BD: I knew that about Peter. I didn’t know that about you. If the commute wasn’t so long, I would live in Wolfville.
BB: I love Wolfville. I love the Al Whittle Theatre.
BD: It’s a quaint, little town. There’s so many of those in this area. I love that. People out here are friendly. I’m having a blast.
BB: Well, had I known... my dad died last year.
BD: I’m so sorry to hear that. My condolences.
BB: Thank you. But, he had a rental property in Port Williams, and we just sold it. Had I known, we could have sold the house to you.
BD: Are you serious?
BD: Is it winterized?
BB: Of course. It’s a house. There are houses around it. It’s on municipal water and sewer. I love that question, though.
BD: You have to go out and pee in a hole.
BB: There’s a little shack out back with a crescent moon above the door.
BD: When I hear the word cottage, I am just used to people going in the Summer and closing it up in the Winter.
BB: That’s what we do at the cottage in Pictou County. We could winterize it; we have not.
BD: It would be expensive, wouldn’t it?
BB: It would be pricey, yes. We love it down there. There’s no internet connection, but we go to the library for that.
10. Why did you agree to this interview?
BD: I think, first and foremost, you do seem like a real fan of the biz. I thought it would be fun talking shop with you.
BB: I hope it has been.
BD: It’s been a blast. Radio is such a great job. It’s one of those jobs where I can’t believe I get paid to do this. “It beats working for a living”, is what I tell people. I’m getting to that point now where more and more people come up to me and say, “I listened to you when I was growing up. You’re the reason why I got into this business.” Which makes me sound very old. But, I’m also really flattered by that. I’m hoping that if there’s somebody reading this who listens to the show, maybe they’ll be able to gain a little insight as to why it’s the best business in the world, and decide to do it for themselves, because it really is. It’s a wonderful business, a great way to express yourself, have fun. You sit around and drink coffee and play music and laugh.
I was always a creative person. I was never good at math and science, when there was one answer. I was better at Drama and English, where it was open to interpretation and creativity. That’s what I was always about: Creativity. How do you take something and put a different spin on it? “A different camera angle”, I like to call it. Everybody can do something one way; but find a different way to do something, presenting something, talking about something that everybody else is talking about. That’s how some of us separate ourselves. That’s how you separate yourself from the rest of the pack. I think, at the Breakfast Club, we do a pretty good job at it.
BD: I did, yes.
BD: Thank you. You’re stuck with me for another 3 years, Bev.
BB: Is that the most stability you’ve had in your career?
BD: Yes. You know what? I’ve signed contracts in the past. They’re good things to have. You’re only as good as your last ratings book. But, it certainly is a nice show of faith when the company comes to you and signs you for a new deal. I don’t want to appear like too much of a suck up, but it’s true when I say that it is a great company to work for. Trent McGrath, our General Manager; Chris Duggan, our Program Director; and the team that I work with in the morning, and everybody on the air, it’s a really good bunch of people. And they’ve all been here for a long time for a reason. Zach Bedford, whom you met upstairs? He got in this business very young as well.
BB: He’s not exactly old now.
BD: No. He’s a young ‘un. And, he’s been here for a long time. He’s a talented guy. He stays here for a reason: It’s a good company. It’s a good building. It’s a fun business.
BB: Brad Dryden, thank you very much for the last 90 minutes or so of your life.
BD: How long does a normal interview usually take? Have I been talking way too much?
BB: Heck no. I’ve talked to people who went on for hours. Frank Cameron talked for about 3 hours.
BD: Was it all interesting?
BB: It was all very interesting. Pat Connolly and I talked twice. We talked for about 3 hours total. We just scratched the surface of the man’s career. So, 90 minutes is one of the shorter interviews.
BD: It’s interesting because there are so many facets of the career. There’s so many different things I have had the pleasure of doing. I have no problem chatting about some of that stuff. It’s all a blur after a little while, unless specific examples are brought up to me.
BB: Well, I want to keep these interviews positive, so if you ever worked with a jerk, I don’t particularly want to talk about that, so that leaves out a certain range of stories. Sometimes I like to ask different types of questions.
BD: Absolutely. I think your questions have been fabulous. I’ve really enjoyed this.
[Radio] Where else can you sit on top of the Macdonald bridge on your first week here?
BB: I remember that! How was it?
BD: It was awesome. It was cool, although when you’re up there, and a big bus or something goes by, that bridge starts shaking.
BB: Anyway, Brad Dryden, thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure meeting you. I’ll work hard next time to draw you out. You’re so shy. It’s been an interesting challenge.
BD: Thank you very much, Bev. It’s been great. Let’s get together in the Summer and let me buy you a drink or two on the patio down by the water. It will be just us shooting the shit and having a couple of pints. How about that?
BB: I will hold you to it!