Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Post 2402 - My Buddy!

Here is a link to my interview with my buddy Neil Spence.  It took place in 2011 after he had finished a shift at Live 105.

It's interesting how many of the things we discussed have some come to be.  Neil is now working Afternoon Drive.  He speaks very highly of Gary Tredwell.  Which is good, because Gary is Neil's boss again.  And Neil's insights into radio and how jocks can be treated should be required reading for anybody getting into the medium.

Read it.  Let me know what you think.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Post 2401 - Katey Day

Hello again, my friends.

Today's re-presentation features my friend Katey Day, whose last day at Lite 92.9 in Halifax was documented and reported by moi.  I remain grateful to her for allowing me in studio and then trusting me not to damage things while she left me alone to go outside for a cigarette.

Katey's first love is music, and in particular the Blues.  She is excellent at it, and should be a major star. I am hopeful that her upcoming album will do that for her.  I am also hopeful that she gets back on the air sometime.  She's too good not to be working in radio.

Anyway, here is my report on Katey's last day on the radio in Halifax!


See you tomorrow.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Post 2400 - Things That Bug Me

Welcome to post 2400, my 4.7 readers!

I have tried several different series over the years.  Some of them I began and stopped them, not because I didn't want to write them any more, but because I found other things to write about and ran out of things to discuss in these narrowly-defined series.

One of them was the Things In Halifax That Don't Make Sense series.  I would pick out something in the city that made no sense to me and write about it.

These haven't been read in a few years, but you can find them under the "nonsense" label.  In the meantime, here is my favourite in the series.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Post 2399 - Everett True

Man, was it hot today!  I had to unbutton the second button on my golf shirt.  Newbie was ringing out his fur.

Anyway, today's blog post is about Everett True, the early 1900's comic strip that was unique.  It is about a man who assailed the common annoyances of the time and beat up the people who committed them.  There is a timeless quality to many of these strips.

I first heard about the strip some 30 years ago.  Someone had reprinted some of those posts in a small paperback.  And my dear, dear friend  Tony Isabella decided to revive the strip, which ran in the Comics Buyer's Guide for years, before settling to Amazing Heroes and perhaps one other magazine.

I was so inspired by this character that I wrote a few entries of my own.  They were printed in my university newspaper.  I got a bit of press about it, too, because a woman took umbrage at what I had written and lambasted me in the next issue of the paper.  My artist quit as a result, and I think we were done after 2 or maybe 3 editions.  I also wrote an article about the strip for the same newspaper.  Juvenilia.  I hope it is never unearthed.

Anyway, that didn't stop me from running a few of the strips on the blog.  I hope you like them.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Post 2398 - Norm Riley

I sure am enjoying my vacation so far.  I am laying back with Patricia and the cats and drinking and eating and not thinking about work at all.  I hope that you get to have some time off this summer as well.

I have written several blog posts about legendary-to-Halifax radio personality Norm Riley.  Riley worked at CJCH AM between 1947 and October 1, 1950 (yes, I have been able to pinpoint just when he left).   He is a symbol for all the jocks in any community who come and go and who are swiftly forgotten by most everybody.  It is almost as if they never existed.

I became fascinated by this man.  Why would an American come here to go on the radio?  How did he get involved in being a manager for recording acts?  Was he the scoundrel that people still think he was?  Is there any audio of the man out there that I could digitize and put up somewhere?

Eventually, two of his grandchildren found me through the blog posts I'd written and gave me some background on him.  His son wrote me as well.  They sent me quite a few pictures of Riley that refuted some crappy things said about him by his contemporaries. There is much more than meets than eye about Norm Riley, and I haven't given up on finding out more about him.

Here is the link to the first real post about Norm.  And here is the most recent one.  In addition, my interviews with Don Tremaine and the late Pat Connolly both discuss Norm Riley.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Post 2397 - Read It This Time!

Here is a link to an interview I did which I feel is criminally under read.  It is with our cottage neighbour James Taylor.  Not that James Taylor.  Another one.

We talked for hours.  It took me 9 months to transcribe and edit the thing, and more time again to move text around to make things flow better.  Then, I gave it to James to vet.  It was about a year after the interview that it finally went up.  And nobody seemed to care.

James has had a very interesting life and has an avocation that is nearly unique.  We discuss that plus things like minstrel shows, circus side shows, the art of transcription, and other stuff.

Please, read it this time.  I worked my ass off on it.

And, I still have a signed copy of one of his journals.  I really should have some kind of contest to give it away.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Post 2396 - My Most Controversial Post

This one came about after the incident with Sully Sullenberger, the airline pilot who finessed an emergency landing of his distressed plane in the Hudson River.  This was back in 2009.

The thing was, once again, women and children were the first ones to be let off the plane and to safety. Then, the men were allowed to go.

I have always wondered about this policy.  It is not enshrined in law or anything.  If a guy insisted on being part of the first group to go to safety, I don't think he could be arrested for anything.  He might be permanently deemed an asshole, but I am unaware of any laws being broken.

I began to ask myself some questions, ones which I feel demanded answers.  These are uncomfortable, inconvenient questions, and I posted them in this blog post.

Let me know what you think.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Post 2395 - Jim Shooter

Hello again.  How is your day going?  Oh, that's good.  Things are just fine at this end.

The previous post wrote quite a bit about Tony Isabella.  This one is about one of his bosses, Jim Shooter.  For many years, Shooter endured the slings and arrows of bitter comics creators  who were sore at him about some perceived slight.  I took their side of things for years.

In recent years, Shooter began his own blog.  Among other things, he took a great deal of time to refute these disparaging stories.

I decided to write a blog post acknowledging his comments and tried to  put them into some perspective.  I still stand by my comments.

As a bit of an update, Shooter's blog has been all but abandoned for the last year or so.  I hope his schedule allows him to resume it.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Post 2394 - Why?

Yawn!  Tired of reading these posts yet?

Here is post #300.  It describes in quite a bit of detail just why I began Bevboy's Blog.  I am still miffed with Tony Isabella, by the way.  I had thought he was a... if not a friend, then at least someone I could count on.   For him to accuse me of revelling in the death of another person was unconscionable, and unforgivable.   At one point, I even gave him an unopened Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game, and would not accept money for shipping.  It mattered naught when he decided to call me out on this.  Some people are so strident in their opinions and feelings that they are assholes. 

Anyway, life goes on.  I started this blog.  And I have become world-famous by doing so.  Life could be much worse.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Post 2393 - Speaking of Humble Beginnings

Hello again.  I hope I am enjoying my vacation by now.  Pray for me.

I thought you would like to see the very first post in this here silly blog.  I write a bit about what I want to do with the blog, and allude to its origins.  There is not much more to say.

Here is the link.  And be kind.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Post 2392 - The First Radio Interview

We all start off humbly, and there are few things more humble than my interview with the lovely Deb Smith.

It is not her fault.  I didn't know what I was doing.  I didn't have a digital voice recorder back then.  I knew my BlackBerry had a microphone and a recording app, so I thought it might do the trick.

I didn't test the app before I used it.  It picked up all the ambient noise around us at the Pogue Fado.  I took a few notes along the way, and those scribblings formed the basis of the first interview.  I am embarrassed about it, to be honest with you.

I hope you think that I have come far since then.  Here is the link.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Post 2391 - Karen Begin

Hi.  Let's get my vacation off on a good footing by re-presenting some posts from just over five years ago.

Karen Begin was a jock at Magic 97 between 1988 and 1991.  Along the way she claimed to have been more than friendly with Kiefer Sutherland; this turned out to be bullshit.

I met Karen in late 1990.  I asked her out.  We ended up going to a Hallowe'en party in Kentville.  There is a picture of us together at the party somewhere out there.

Karen left town not long after ward.  She made her way to the States after having doctored her resume in such a way that she would be sure to be hired.   And she got the non du radio Darian O'Toole, because she was the host of a dance music radio show and the name rhymed with "the dancing fool".

She bounced around a bit, ending up in New York city going against Howard Stern.  She ended up in San Francisco where people still remember her.

Many years later she returned to Nova Scotia and ended up working at Q104 here in Halifax until she ended up being fired due to the demons that plagued her.  She returned to the States and died suddenly  On  April 1st, 2008.

When I learned of her death, I wrote quite a few blog posts about it.  I was trying to deal with my lingering feels for her.  I had been interested in her at one point, and when that feeling was not reciprocated, it was... well, pretty upsetting to me.  I'd like to meet the person whose heart has not gone through the wash once or twice.

These blog posts attracted quite a bit of attention.  I got a few dozen comments on these posts, from Karen's family, from her former colleagues at Magic 97, and people who knew her and worked with her in the U.S.  The man who gave her her new name posted a couple of comments.

This is the first time I really felt that my blog might have some direction to move toward.  Prior to that, I was floundering around, writing about frig knows what.

It occurs to me that most of you reading this have never seen those posts, because you never knew they existed.  Well, here is one.  Here is another.  And another.  Don't forget this one. Or this one.  Or this one.  Oops: Another one.

I hope you take the time to check them out.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Post 2390 - Vacation Is Here!

Hey, folks.  I am officially on vacation!

I do not return to work until August 12, three weeks and two full days from now.

As I have been teasing all week, Bevboy's Blog will go on a form of vacation as well.  Starting Saturday, tomorrow, and continuing until August 12th when I return to work, this blog will be re-presenting posts from years gone by.  The blog started in November of 2007.  I will dig way back into the mists of time and provide links to these posts to expose them to present readers who would not know that the posts existed.

You will see posts pointing to older interviews.  Some ones I hope are comedic.  I will post what is probably my most controversial thought-provoking post, and a bunch of surprises.  I hope that you will like what I have to re-present to you.

By all means, feel free to comment on the posts, using twitter or FB or even responding to the posts themselves (either the ones I will do that point to the older posts, or the older posts themselves).  I will sporadically be checking my Facebook and Twitter on vacation.  By no means will I be checking things out on a regular basis, so please play nice.

For those of you who care, I will be spending two weeks at the cottage, starting Sunday.  After that, I will spend my final week of vacation in the Valley at my mother's.  I will have to mow the lawn there and so some other stuff around the house, like figure out how to put up a piece of pegboard all by myself, when I only have two hands to do it with.  If I return to work minus a few fingers, my colleagues will know I was less than successful.

Oh, my kindle?  Which I loved?  Thing bricked on me today.  The screensaver would partially not go away, there was a white rectangle on the screen, and other delights were on there.  I reset it several times, to no avail.  I finally did an online chat with Amazon during my lunch hour.  Because the kindle was just out of warranty, they are sending me a refurbished one at a reduced cost.  I also purchased a second kindle (a third one, if you want to look at it that way) for 40 bucks, through someone on kijiji.  It is a kindle keyboard, and it seems much more robust than the other one.  I'm told I can link as many devices as I want to to my kindle account, so having more than one kindle should not be a problem.  In theory.

I wish they made those things so that they could take a little punishment.  I wasn't torturing my kindle, but to make them so flimsy is silly.

Anyway, I have a bunch of post-dated blog posts to write.  Better get to work.

I will be back "live" on August 12.  Have a good few weeks without me, and please enjoy these "reprints".

See you soon.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Post 2389 – Interview with Newsperson Julia Kirkey, Part Two


February 22, 2013

This interview was conducted at the Chinese restaurant next to the Lower Deck in Clayton Park on the above-noted date.  We had planned to go to dinner at The Lower Deck until we realized it has become the watering hole of choice for lots of locals.  There wasn’t a seat to be had.   So we went next door and had a very nice chat indeed.



Bevboy: For the benefit of my readers, the reason why we decided to hold off on publishing the 2011 interview with Julia was...

Julia Kirkey: Because of the ongoing strike situation at MBS radio.

BB: Exactly. But now you don’t work there any more. You can say whatever the heck you want.

JK: Well, to a degree, yes.


1. I know that morale at MBS has declined since the strike started on June 25, 2012. Can you tell me just how bad it has become? How do management feel about the strike?

(#3, #4)

JK: The morale was down well before the strike. That was what led to the union. Other stations were already unionized before Halifax; they had their own negotiations. Some other ones had already got their contracts. Saint John was coming up on their collective bargaining process. But, in Halifax, they were in the situation of we didn’t know whether or not it was going to be the right choice for us. Ultimately, one person from the news room took the lead, contacted the CMG [The Canadian Media Guild], went ahead and started the talks with them.

BB: Do you want to say the name of that person?

JK: [Redacted]. We were all approached individually about whether or not we wanted to be part of a union. For me, I didn’t have much of a vested interest because I was only working one day a week, Sunday mornings. I didn’t see, from my position, why I would have any reason not to go along with what everybody else was doing. It didn’t make any difference to me at that point. I wanted to support my co-workers and go ahead and sign my union card.

There were things that were happening that I was completely oblivious to because of the fact that I only worked on Sundays. Things that I found out well down the road about things that were happening between management and managers that wanted to be part of the union and whether that was allowed. There were things happening to do with our union that were happening in court that I didn’t know the details of. 

BB: Do you know them now?DSCF6314

JK: Not enough that I can speak about them. But all these things I started finding out about afterward; and I realized just how huge it was. I didn’t really grasp the severity of how bad things had become until I started my internship, actually, because I was taking Public Relations at NSCC. I was starting my internship.

There was a bit of a conflict between me working as a reporter and working as a public affairs person for the Department of National Defence, in that I would be privy to information through the Navy that be interesting to a reporter. So, I chose to remove myself from the situation by taking a few weeks off. My internship was only six weeks long.  

The day I went in to ask Deb Rent for those six Sundays off, which also included Victoria Day weekend (which I knew would be a problem), she wasn’t there. Brynn Langille told me at that point that she [Deb] had taken the day off.

BB: Help me out. This was around April of 2012?

JK: Yes. It would have been the last week of April, the first week of May. Around there.

So, at that point, I said "all right". I sat on the information for a couple of days. Then, I went back in. She still wasn’t there. At that point, it was Garry Barker whom I dealt with and had to ask for the six weeks off. It was my first time ever really dealing with Garry. I knew of him. But I didn’t work during the week. I’d seen him in passing a couple of times. I never really dealt with him. I didn’t have any issue with that. He was actually very supportive of getting me that time off and made sure that my co-workers were able to cover off the shifts and worked everything out.

BB: OK. Seems reasonable.

JK: It was very reasonable. What I didn’t know was that Deb was not off for the day. She never came back.

BB: So, as of April 2012, she was gone?DSCF6315

JK: Yes. The end of April. She was off work. I didn’t find that out until I got home later that day and Brynn sent me a private message on Facebook about what was happening.

BB: So, Deborah Rent was gone. Garry Barker was conciliatory, at least initially.

JK: Yes.

BB: You did your internship with DND for six weeks.

JK: When I came back, Brynn was still doing the afternoons by herself. We had no idea what was happening with Debra. Then, Vicki was having some shoulder issues. She went on sick leave. At that point, they said to me that as soon as my internship was done, I was going to have to start filling in those days that Vicki was going to be away.

BB: Did you feel obligated? "They did something for me. I’ll do something for them"? 

JK: Absolutely. I absolutely did. I knew that Vicki and Darryl [Goode] and Doug [Cogswell] and Brynn had all stepped up for me. The least I could do was do the same for them. It was two weeks. It’s what Vicki had originally said. In two weeks, she got a reassessment at the doctor; he gave her more time off.

By the time July rolled around, she came back. She worked for 3 days and put in her resignation. There were a lot of things going on in the background. Our happy little newsroom was very slowly deteriorating. None of these people who were leaving were ever replaced.

BB: We’ll talk about the newsroom later on.

JK: What was the second part of the question?

BB: How bad has morale become? It was crappy anyway. It got how much worse?

JK: It got a lot worse in fact.

[Dinner is served]


BB: OK. We were about to talk about how bad morale became at MBS. Vicki Gesner left suddenly. Deb Rent had left. And Mike Cranston came back from retirement.

JK: Daryl was actually the one who went on vacation. We went the whole summer with it just being the four of us. Brynn. Myself. Doug Cogswell. And Daryl Goode. Then, they hired a girl named Ferne Wynnyk. She works in Fort McMurray now.

BB: Did she stay very long?

JK: No. She stayed for maybe a month or something. She was fresh out of NSCC. They hired her because she had done her internship in the Valley at AVR. Then, she came on board. She started working in the afternoons with Brynn. She would have done the New Brunswick and PEI stations, while Brynn did Halifax, Saint John, Moncton. The bigger markets.

BB: And at those markets, they have no live news person.

JK: Kentville didn’t have a news person. That was a big problem, too. At the same time all this was happening in Halifax, Robb Lepper left. That left us with having to do an extra market. So, we did Kentville, Halifax, Amherst, Moncton, Saint John, Sussex, Miramichi, Campbellton, Charlottetown, Sumerside, and Sydney on the weekends.

BB: Did you ever mis-identify the station you were providing news for?

JK: Luckily, we never had to say it. But, I will say that I did get an email once from Sussex that said, "I now know what’s going on today in PEI, but can we get some New Brunswick news?

BB: Who messed up?

JK: Me. The stations were CJRW in Summerside, PEI; and CJCW in Sussex, New Brunswick. It got to the point where I was doing so many markets, that it was just "In the booth. Record them all. Come out. Send them all. In the booth. Record them all. Come out. Send them all."

BB: Were these mp3 files, or avi files?

JK: We record them all in Burli. You dispatch them from Burli. It turns it into whatever file you need it to be before it gets there. It got really crazy and really taxing because they eventually moved Doug to the afternoons. Then, it was just myself and Daryl in the mornings. We were all pretty burned out. At this point, Saint John has gone on strike.

BB: This was after June 25th?

JK: Yes. This was in July and August. They told us, from a union perspective, that we had to wait. They couldn’t move on negotiating for Halifax until Saint John was settled.

P: That could take forever.

BB: They haven’t even talked since June.

JK: From what I’ve seen in press releases, I believe they have made the motions to begin to move to Halifax negotiations. But, at that point they were saying there’s no point to because they were going to be basing everything they were doing for Halifax off of what happened inDSCF6316 Saint John. So, we just had to wait it out.

But, while we were waiting, tensions continued to grow, especially with other people in the station. I don’t know how this was perpetrated, but a lot of hurtful things were said via social media and behind people’s backs, about people who were in the union.

BB: The seven people who were on strike?

JK: Yes. The seven people who were on strike, and those of us in Halifax who were unionized. In September some people were saying, "I sure hope this lasts through the Winter and that you’re all outside and freeze to death." This is your co-workers who were saying these things about you.

BB: These were non-management people? These were staff?

JK: Yes.

BB: Who are working in Halifax, who were saying these crappy things about the strikers?

JK: Yes. And these were admin people, sales people, jocks, that had all been ... I don’t know if it was brainwashed or just turned against us: led to believe that the union was going to be bad for them, because they weren’t in it. So, it was going to be these union people that were going to ruin everything else for everyone else.

BB: Meanwhile, these folks who were saying these things were being paid the same cruddy wages that you were.

JK: Absolutely.

BB: So, why would they feel that their life would get worse when it was in the toilet to begin with?

JK: I think they didn’t like that things had changed. The fact that management was really high strung. If people were asking for raises or for full-time hours or anything, it was "Oh, no, we can’t. The union problem." Or, "Because of the strike. Because of the union." Always.

BB: How much of that was a reason? How much of it was an excuse?

JK: I can’t be totally sure, but I think most of it was an excuse. There were things that were said to people that the union later told us, "Well, our negotiations would have had nothing to do with that." And, there’s no law that says that. It made it clear that it was just an excuse. I was told [third-hand] that a comment had been made after somebody asked for full-time hours that, well, maybe they should have thought of that before they signed a union card. There were comments like that being thrown out.

BB: The people in the union were just the news people?

JK: Just the newsroom.

BB: So, Denyse Sibley is not in the union?Denyse Sibley B

JK: No. None of the announcers are. The announcers, I believe, were under the impression that they couldn’t be. Most of them are contract. So, that was how bad it became.

BB: How did management feel about the strike? How angry were Robert Pace and Garry Barker?

JK: Very, very angry? I guess this ties in with telling you about Garry Barker, my first negative dealing with Garry ended up becoming about the strike. I was covering for Daryl when he was on vacation. Garry and I had a disagreement over what the content of my newscast was that day because an announcer in Saint John complained that their news wasn’t local enough, from the person doing it in Halifax.

BB: This is one of the scab announcers?

JK: Yes. And, at the time, the biggest story in Saint John that day was the strike. I said, "Well, I certainly can’t talk about that!" To which he encouraged me to right ahead and do so. To say on the air, "Well, CBC is lying. Here’s the truth." It’s slander. It’s salacious. I said, "No. I can’t actually do that."

So, I had a big, blow out fight with him that day that ended up in me writing a very strongly-worded letter quoting things from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Code of Ethics about journalism, and how a News Director is supposed to conduct themselves. Technically, he was supposedly our News Director.

BB: And he was trying to tell you to lie?

JK: Yes. Well, I think he actually believes it. So, maybe it was his truth. His version of the truth.

BB: OK. Well, I guess we’ve exhausted question one.

JK: [laughs]





2. Tell me about Garry Barker. Tell me about Robert Pace. Tell me about your last shift at MBS.

JK: My relationship [with Garry] was gone, after the incident that I just talked about. Any small semblance of a relationship that I had with him, was gone.

BB: He had helped you in terms of getting time off for your course, which was nice of him, I guess.

JK: Yes. He did me a favour. And I couldn’t even bring myself to be respectful to return that favour later on. It got to the point where I was uncomfortable coming to work every day. I would leave through side doors. I would intentionally not walk down the hallway past his office. It was very, very uncomfortable.

BB: He was not up in the executive level?

JK: No. He was down on our floor. It was very uncomfortable for me. I don’t think it was any more comfortable for anybody else either. But, suddenly, one day, we came in, and Garry had retired. A sudden retirement, if that happens. Not even the receptionist had been aware that he was retiring until that morning.

I had worked the previous day, which was a holiday Monday. Garry had been upstairs having a meeting with Robert Pace, that whole day. And, the next day, [Barker] was retired.

He was then hired back on as a consultant, an independent contractor, which in my opinion absolved the company of any liability they had to him. They could wipe their hands of any complaints coming from staff because, well, this guy doesn’t actually work for us. And, he was still left in charge of the Saint John strike situation, and still managing everyone else.DSCF6320

BB: His job title changed, but everything else was the same.

JK: Yes. So, then the Vice President of Finance became the News Director. Garry then handed things down through her.

I actually only ever met Robert in person, one time. He came in on a Sunday back when I had first started. He seemed like a nice guy. He asked me about school. His daughter was taking Public Relations as well as myself. He talked to me about Emma [his daughter], who did Cruiser also. But, I never actually had any engagement with him beyond that.

[I was told] he would always be more than happy to meet with people, if you wanted to meet with him; but nothing would ever come of it. You’d go up to his office. You’d speak your piece. He’d smile and nod. You’d leave, and nothing would happen.

BB: But, when he came into the office, and talked to you about his daughter and your course, you told me before that he was looking for a newspaper. I’m told that Robert Pace will come in at 5:30 in the morning to make sure that people are actually working. My suspicion is that he was checking up on you to see if you were at your work station.

JK: Probably. He was there quite often on weekends and holidays. Especially if it was a holiday Monday, he would be there. There were times I’d see his car pulling into the garage under the building; or you’d know because the 7th floor elevator would work. Otherwise, it was turned off because it is a penthouse suite. It has to have a key.

BB: And it was just to check up on folks?

JK: Probably.

BB: So, you never had unpleasant direct dealings with Robert Pace?

JK: No. Everything that I know about him is through other people and their dealings with him.

BB: OK. Tell me about your last shift at MBS.

JK: My last shift was the most anticlimactic thing ever. It was a Sunday; the only other person in the station was Mark Roberts, who was doing the day shift at Hal on Sunday, because Hal is live on Sundays and Saturdays. Mark is there, I think, from 8-2 on Saturdays, and then 10-4 on Sundays.

BB: I’m astonished that they’re live on weekends.

JK: Yes. And one of the few stations that is live on the weekends. So, Mark was the only person there. I left my keys on the desk, went and told Mark, "This is it. I’m leaving". And, I have never been so relieved to hear the door lock behind me. It’s the first time I ever left a job and been happy to go. Ultimately, every job I had never left had been hard to leave.

BB: What was the low point of your time at MBS? The time that you the most discouraged or the most upset or whatever?

JK: It was definitely in the late Summer, early Fall [2012] after I had my falling out with Garry. Every day, I basically wondered if I was going to have a job the next day. And that was at the point where I had contacted you and said, "I don’t think that I’m ok with going ahead and releasing the [2011 interview]." I was worried that if it did come out, I wouldn’t have a job.

BB: You said nothing bad about anybody.

JK: Because I knew that they read your blog.

BB: Who does?

JK: Robert Pace and Garry Barker, to see what people who worked for, or work for MBS, are saying.

BB: I had heard from a third party that, when I publish an interview, somehow, someone who is on my Facebook or whatever, reports that information to Garry and Robert. Now I have that confirmation.

JK: It was a very, very low point for me. This is totally random, but I was upset all the time. I was eating really badly, which for me is very unusual. I was putting on weight. And I said to myself, "I’m clearly not OK here. You know what? I just spent a year in school, taking Public Relations, so I should be doing what I just went to school for." That was when I said, "After Christmas, I’m not working here anymore."

I gave myself until December 2DSCF63175th to get another job. I went on the hunt.

BB: When was your last shift?

JK: December 23rd. I took a week off between MBS and my new job, to get a week to re-adjust my sleep schedule. I had been getting up at 2 o’clock in the morning for six months. I’d found that even on the days that I had off, I was still up at 4. That was sleeping. Four o’clock in the morning was sleeping in!

P: I never see that hour of the day.

BB: Unless I have to get up and have a pee. I’m at that point in my life. Never mind.

P: I’m just being Devil’s Advocate here. By you talking to him now, and this will ultimately be on his blog someday, will you be in any shit with this?

JK: I haven’t said anything negative about anyone. This is my personal experience. I’m not looking for a reference from them. I’m not worried about them not liking me anymore. A reference from MBS doesn’t mean very much.

P: I love that comment. I was thinking about any repercussions for Bev.

BB: We’re not crossing any lines here. They’ll never get the audio files. What will they do? It takes a court order. Judge wouldn’t do that.

JK: So, my last shift at MBS was my Christmas present to myself.

BB: And by that time, Deb Rent was gone. Vicki Gesner was gone.

JK: Fern was gone. She had gone to Fort McMurray.

BB: When did Brynn Langille leave?

JK: Brynn was gone as of October of November. ‘

BB: Having been hired by Rogers.

JK: Yes.

BB: I didn’t know you guys were friends until last month. I covered Katey Day’s last day [at Lite 92.9] a few weeks ago. She took me around to meet people. I met Scott Simpson and Brynn. She dropped your name. You must have told her...

JK: When I did the first [interview].

BB: She knew who I was at least.

JK: I think that she and I worked together the day that I went and met you. I would have told her that I was meeting you after.

BB: "Bev Keddy? Who’s she?"

JK: I think she was actually reading interviews of other radio people on your blog, that day.

P: I’m thinking that if they’re reading your blog now, they must be hellish bored.

BB: I write about other things, too, besides radio. 

JK: Cats.

BB: Cats, and Mark Dooley, whose comic strip I run for him.

All right. I’m going to be a little self serving for a moment.

JK: Please do.

BB: How well known is my blog? I don’t get much feedback on the posts.

JK: Actually, the [radio] people in Nova Scotia know it. I don’t know about my radio friends in Ontario and Westward. It’s easy enough to find out; I have connections. But you’re definitely well known amongst the people in Nova Scotia. Even if they don’t necessarily know your name, they know of the blog. It’s such a small circle. We all know each other.

P: You do realize I won’t be able to live with him this weekend.

BB: I’ve never asked that before. When I met Chris Lawrence last summer, he looked at me and said, "You’re famous!"

JK: [From what I’ve heard] he’s done all this big-time acting. I don’t know exactly what, but he was at least in callbacks and auditions for a lot of major motion pictures.

BB: Oh, really? What brought him to Halifax? Working for Hal?

JK: They probably hired a headhunter. A lot of companies, especially the Bell’s and Roger’s of the world, will hire people to source morning show hosts.

BB: And still pay them shit?

JK: Yes.

BB: OK. That was my self-serving question for the year.







3. Deb Rent left the company in 2012. You did. Brynn Langille did. Vicki Gesner. Who is working the newsroom these days?

JK: Daryl Good. Doug Cogswell. Mike Cranston, part-time. Rick ---. He came from Toronto. That was another situation where they actually went after him, I believe. He just came out of nowhere. I think it’s also because he’s a jock; they wanted somebody who could fill in for voice tracking too.

And, I believe they have hired someone new, but I’m not sure who it is.

BB: So, the only veteran people there would be Daryl Good and Mike Cranston.

JK: Doug Cogswell is an awesome journalist. He’s a great writer. He came from News 95.7 to MBS.

BB: Was he full time at News 95.7?

JK: No. He was part-time. He’s part-time at MBS, too; but he works full-time hours. Doug was a writer for morning. He worked the 3‘clock in the morning shift, just writing news, at Rogers.



4. Can you say anything nice about your time at MBS? If so, what is it?

JK: The people I met were great. I made probably one of my best friends in Brynn Langille. She and I, in so many ways, are the same person. In the same way Mel Sampson was to K-Rock, Brynn was to MBS.

BB: I met Brynn for 2 minutes or so. She seemed like a nice person.

JK: When we met, it was like, "Oh, I like this!" and "So do I!". We just had a ton in common.

BB: Do you hang out?

JK: Yes. We’ve gone out when we can because once she left and went to News 95.7, I was still working at two o’clock in the morning. It’s impossible to co-ordinate any kind of activities. We’ve gone out for dinner anDSCF6318d stuff. We’ve done things outside of work and still genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

I think for most of the MBS stations, the biggest redeeming quality is the people. It’s the same at AVR: The people are just awesome folks. They make it good for themselves. In Halifax it got bad because there wasn’t very many people. You couldn’t get morale high when everyone was gone. It was just empty offices and a few scattered people. But I still have a great relationship with Mark Roberts. He and I chat on Facebook. We spent the weekends together, hanging out in an empty radio station. So, I can say, it wasn’t all bad.

BB: It must have been disheartening to see people get fired who you knew were supremely talented.

JK: Absolutely. For a while, it seemed that every day you came in, someone else had been fired.

P: I don’t understand. How can a company survive on so few people?

JK: Well, they have an advantage (in Halifax and a few other places) of having monopolies. There’s nowhere else for the advertisers to go. For the longest time in the Valley, your choices were AVR and Magic. They’re both owned by the same company. Then, when Newcap came in and it got hard for them. They’ve been alone there in Miramichi for the longest time, and now Newcap is going in.

BB: That’s where Mel Sampson is going, right?

JK: Yes. So, it’s going to get hard for them. But, in Halifax, they have the advantage of having the only Country station in the city.

BB: So far.

JK: So far. Country fans are Country fans. There’s no flipping the dial between The Bounce, Energy and C100 and Lite. You only have the one.

BB: There was 780 KIXX for years. They did relatively well for an AM station.

JK: And you can sometimes pick up Cat Country. But, ultimately, they are Halifax’s only Country station. It’s a huge advantage for them.

BB: I’ve never understood why another station never jumped on that.

JK: I don’t know either.

P: I just didn’t think it was a big enough market.

JK: Country is pretty big. The Taylor Swifts and Carrie Underwoods of the world are getting younger girls into Country. Lady Antebellum.




5. Please say something about the following:

a. Deb Rent

JK: I consider myself lucky in that I have had nothing but great News Directors. 

BB: So, Deb was News Director? She was management?

JK: Yes. She was great. I learned a lot from her, but it was an interesting dynamic in that she never really acted like a manager. When you walked in, although she ultimately was the one that was making the decisions and doing the schedule, she felt like someone you could be comfortable bringing your issues to or expressing yourself to without any fair of repercussions.

She wanted so much more for that news room. When I first started working there, we had regular staff meetings where she would talk about ways she wanted to start producing more news ourselves, and to get out of scalping from newspapers and other stations. She wanted us to start making phone calls to people in New Brunswick and to follow up on police leads and follow up on Council meetings, and doing anything we could to source our own local news.

BB: Would you physically cover stories?

JK: Yes. I remember once. There was a hurricane coming. She sent me out to do voicers for Doug the next day and to interview people on the street to ask if they were prepared for the hurricane. She really had high aspirations for doing good things with that news room.

BB: With no money.

JK: With no money. And, every roadblock there could have been, she had, as far as the management above her.

BB: She was hinting at some of that stuff on her Facebook. I’ll leave it at that. She’s gone from MBS. She’s back in school.

JK: Yes. She’s taking Interior Design. She seems a lot happier.

BB: I’ve never met her, but would she consider going back into radio if something came along, elsewhere?

JK: I’m not sure. It would probably have to be a good offer. She has a young daughter. [Interior Design and decorating] was always her hobby. She’ll be happy actually making money doing it.


b. Brynn Langille

JK: Some people call her Brian.

BB: I think if people met her, they wouldn’t call her Brian!

JK: I know I’ve already talked about Brynn a little bit, but, honestly, she’s an amazing broadcaster. I fully expect to see her hosting her own television morning show some day. I think she belongs in TV rather than behind a microphone in studio. She’s a physically stunning individual. And she’s so smart, and has such a good presence that I think she would lend herself very well to being in television, which is where she started. She worked for CTV. That’s where she did her internship. Brynn Langille

BB: Did she do some reporting for CTV?

JK: Yes.

BB: People move from station to station and from medium to medium. I knew I’d heard the name when I first heard on News 95.7, but just couldn’t place it.

JK: I absolutely anticipate that she will move her way up and up and up until she is hosting a show on television someday. We can all watch her. She’s awesome.

P: Like Megan Edwards.

BB: Have you met Megan Edwards?

JK: No.

BB: It’s funny. I tease some of the women. I say, "This is not a date. Do whatever you want." After we ate, she stood up and said to me, "I have to go pee!" I knew then it wasn’t a date for sure!

[Patricia and Julia laugh]

JK: She just ruined the allure.


6. Would you recommend that someone seek a career at MBS? Why or why not?

JK: I think it depends if you’re talking career or a job. If you’re looking for a job, because especially in radio there are not a lot to go around, sometimes you just need a job, a pay cheque, something to pay your bills with. I wouldn’t say to anyone that it wasn’t a pay cheque, because it was. So, as long as you’re willing to accept that it’s something to have in the mean time until you can find something else, absolutely go right ahead. But I wouldn’t tell anyone to plan on having their career at MBS because it would burn them out. I don’t believe that MBS is any kind of place to make a career. But, it’s a stepping stone, especially for people that are just getting out of school and don’t have many other options.

BB: Some didn’t go to [Broadcast] school at all.

JK: Exactly.

PB: So where is that guy, anyway?

BB: Who? Sheumas? He’s in Moncton now. And there was a guy who was working at the Sussex station who’s 21...

JK: Ryan Everest? He’s in Saint John. They’ve moved Brad from Miramichi to Sussex.

BB: This Ryan Everest guy is one of the... I’ll use the word "scab". I don’t mind. I’m in a union.

JK: He [seems] naive enough that he doesn’t understand, though. He doesn’t understand that he has somebody else’s job. [I was told] he made a lot of comments on Facebook about, "I got a new job!" "I got a promotion!" He doesn’t really understand that it’s somebody else’s job.

BB: He’s a very young guy. Eventually this strike will be over. People who are scabs never benefit when a strike is over because even management doesn’t respect scabs because they figure, "Well, he’ll work for anything."

JK: Yes. And they’re not loyal.

BB: Ryan Everest is 21 or so. Maybe he doesn’t know any better, but it’s going to bite him in the ass.

PB: He’ll learn the hard way.

BB: He may never work in radio again. He might be a nice kid for all I know. But he’s naive. Ryan, you’re naive.



7. Bonus question courtesy of... Dan Barton!

I’d love to contribute a question, and feel free to use my name.

This can be in relation to previous environments, her current environment, or both….  Staff and management both contribute to the culture of a work environment in their own way.  Do you feel one outweighs the other?  Can a positive staff create a good work environment when management is negative, and vice-versa?


JK: I think it all filters down.Dan Barton A I know, with us, at MBS, we tried our hardest to stay positive. But, as more and more pressure’s put on you, and the squeeze gets on, it gets harder to stay positive. The biggest problem (and every radio station I have worked at has this problem) is the gossip. Radio people, like all media types, are very gossipy. It’s just the type of personality that it attracts.

P: Gossip whores.

JK: Yes. It was always people whispering in corners. "Did you hear this?" "Oh, I heard this!" "So-and-so said this!" That brings the morale amongst the employees, down.  

BB: I will ask a potentially sexist question. Is it more women who gossip, or are the men just as culpable?

JK: I think the men are just as [culpable]. I find, sometimes, the men have the tendency to be the more negative, who can’t see positive side of a situation. But, maybe the women feed into it a bit more. But, that kills the inter-employee morale. I know in the newsroom, we segregated ourselves, big time.

BB: You wouldn’t talk to the rest of the staff.

JK: Yes. We very much pulled ourselves away and just stayed in our own little bubble. We didn’t know what people were saying about us. There’s a trickle down effect. What decisions management make affect the staff; and the staff can either self destruct within themselves or somehow be above it. And, it’s hard to be above it.DSCF6319

BB: And once again, you guys in the Halifax newsroom were unionized.

JK: Yes.

BB: And the rest of the staff were not.

JK: Yes.

BB: That was creating a rift.

JK: And we did have other on air staff who supported us, but they would never say it publicly.

BB: For fear of reprisal.

JK: Yes. I don’t know if that answers the question.

BB: It’s a long question.

JK: I do agree that even when management is negative, positive staff can make a good work environment. That’s what I said before. The greatest thing about MBS was the people. For a long time, before there were no more people left, we still had management that was not ideal, but managed to be happy every day that we went to work because we were only dealing with each other. And, we were all friends. It was when people got picked off, one by one, there were no more people left, and there were just two or three people left standing around going, "Is it my turn?"

Great question, Dan!

BB: Yes. How well do you know Dan Barton, anyway?

JK: Dan was at MBS when I started there.

BB: He was a consultant. He’s my neighbor, too.

JK: We’re not besties, but we probably should be.


JK: It’s funny that I just complained about people gossiping. Technically, all I’ve been doing for the last hour is gossiping 

BB: You’re venting.

P: And sharing your experiences.

BB: Garry Barker is the only one you spoke about in a disparaging way.

JK: And at least I started off by saying that we had a good relationship.

BB: An ad hoc question. Is there anything else you want to say about your time at MBS? I presume that you’re supportive of the Saint John Seven?

JK: I definitely am. They came up. We met with Gary Stackhouse. We told them that we were behind them. Because ultimately what happens with those people in Saint John is going to reflect on what is going to happen with everyone in Halifax. You have to think, at some point, as much as MBS is against the union, you have to think: "What would drive our employees to want to unionize? There has to be some reason." It all comes down to pay, vacation, overtime, all those things that no one was taking care of.  

BB: Let’s talk about vacation. You would get two weeks to start?  

JK: I was part-time. I just got my hourly wage. If I took a day off, I didn’t get paid.  

BB: How about the Deb Rent’s and Daryl Good’s of the world?

JK: Daryl had a considerable amount of vacation actually. But he worked there for a very long time. He had probably four weeks or so, which for me is pretty good.  

BB: I think I finally saw a picture of him last year. He’s a beefy guy, isn’t he?

JK: He’s not huge. He’s...

BB: Stocky. 

JK: Yes. I feel he has been underappreciated by the company for many years. I think he has a few more years left before he hits retirement age. I don’t know what they’ll do once they lose him, because he’s invaluable.

P: I have a question. How much support is being lent to the Saint John Seven? It was reported that they were going to ask advertisers [in Halifax] not to have their advertisements on MBS radio, to show their support for the strike.

JK: The support in New Brunswick has been outstanding. Saint John is a huge union town. Lots of labour unions. The people here do not [seem to] support them. At all. Even amongst the staff, they would say not very nice things about the people who were on strike. The advertisers didn’t seem to care. And I think, too, that they’re going to be starting negotiations for Halifax. They’re going to be doing all these same things over again. The people in Saint John, knowing that there are very few people left in this Halifax union, want to be there for the Halifax people because there will only be two of them. It’s a two person union right now.

P: It’s sad that the staff doesn’t support...

JK: Well, Doug and Daryl are the only ones [that I know of] that have signed union cards. Technically, we were told by the union guy...

BB: Gerry Whelan?

JK: Yes. We were told that Rick Fleming is technically part of the union because as long as he works in the news room, he’s part of the collective bargaining unit. So is Mike Cranston. But I don’t know if they realize that.

P: I just think it’s sad that even though they are getting support from New Brunswick, their counterparts here in Nova Scotia are not supportive.

JK: I think there’s a lot of Halifax personality in it. "Oh, New Brunswick. This is Halifax!"

BB: But, in Saint John, the boycotts have been...

JK: Outstanding. They’re really hitting them in the pocketbook. They’ve got so many advertisers off the air. They beat the pants off them in terms of doing the same promotions they would be doing at work.

BB: At Christmas they stuffed a huge truck in less time than when they were working at the radio station.

JK: And they’re making their way around the province. They’ve brought it down to the Valley. Sydney, I think, is unionized, so they probably wouldn’t bother with going there. Charlottetown is also unionized. But it took Charlottetown two years to get a contract. We were told that the person who was negotiating, just gave up: The couldn’t take it anymore.

BB: Sometimes I complain about my job, but we have it pretty good.

Let’s talk about health benefits at MBS. When you were an hourly employee, did you get anything?

JK: No. Part-time employees get nothing. Contract employees get nothing. It’s only full-time employees who get benefits. That’s why they haven’t filled any full-time slots, I’m assuming.

BB: Is there a pension plan? DSCF6321

JK: I’m not sure. Right now, Daryl is the only full-time employee in the newsroom. I will say that another thing that ties into the positive things about MBS was that I never knew the Maritimes as well as I do now. I’ve done news for places I never even knew existed.

BB: Like Quispamsis.

JK: You learned how to spell it; you learned how to say it. You learn all about these random little places in PEI that have the strangest names. There are places like Crapaud [pronounced "Crapo"]. There was constantly a stream of emails from PEI going, "This is how you actually say that." Which is always helpful. We love pronouncers. But now, in my new job, we do media monitoring. As soon as they were saying, "Where do you want to media monitor", I was like, "Oh, PEI." I’m familiar with the news outlets and the area. One day I’ll go to Miramichi and Summerside.

BB: Well, you can go visit Mel and Goose if nothing else.

JK: Exactly. There are probably people who know my name in places I’ve never even thought to visit, which is strange, but kinda neat.

BB: And you told me your parents would hear you on AVR doing the news.

JK: Yes. Or I’d have people in the Valley who would comment on my Facebook and be like, "Oh, are you home? Do you live back here again?" Gary Tredwell told me once that he was home in Cape Breton and heard me on the radio in Sydney.

BB: He must have fallen off the toilet.

JK: To which I said, "Why are you listening to it?"


BB: Let’s talk about K-Rock.


BB: After you left, there was another person who took over for you, in terms of news and doing the morning show. I wrote about this on the Blog last year. I was happy to learn that they had a live night-time jock, as well as someone who does a Saturday night request show. That’s pretty cool.

I’m happy about that, but they did it at the expense of the third news person. When they went on the air [in June of 2008], their mandate was to have a pretty decent local news presence for private radio. In your opinion is that an abrogation of their Promise of Performance? It’s disappointing if nothing else.

JK: It is very disappointing. It makes Dave’s [Chaulk] job a lot harder. It doesn’t make it very different from how things were when he was at AVR. He was by himself.

BB: Isn’t Lea [Miller] a news person?

JK: I don’t think they would send her out to report anything. But, she fills in when necessary. I was just really discouraged to hear that they did it. I was told through the grapevine that the reason was that nobody cares about council meetings.

I don’t think that can be any less true. I’ve sat in packed councils in Kentville and seen the passionate reaction that a lot of people have to things that are going on in their communities. I would have to say strongly that people do care about council meetings. They may not care about the meetings, but they care about things that are happening in them. Maybe they don’t even realize what is happening at those meetings; maybe they don’t realize that’s where those decisions are made. But, that was part of the testing they did, after Chris left. They did post the job, but they never filled it.

BB: OK. Well, like I said to you before, if [GM’s and PD’s] want to do something, or if they don’t want to do something, they can do some research to justify their decision to do it, or not to do it. I’m convinced that those research people who call you when you’re getting dinner ready and ask you what you think about this station or that station, are careful what they ask. They’re even more careful about what they don’t ask.

JK: Yes. The questions are worded very specifically.

BB: "Do you want to hear more of this music, or less of that type?"

JK: Well, if someone asks you, "Do you care about council meetings?", you might say, "No. Why would I care about them?" But, if they said to you, "Do you care about local news?", that’s a different answer.

BB: Yes. And I’m sure they did not ask that question. That’s how they would justify not filling that position. If Chris had not left, would he have been laid off?

JK: I’m not sure if they would have made the decision if Chris had not left. I think that was an opportunity to take another look at what was happening there, whether or not that was a worthwhile position. I don’t think they would have laid anybody off.

BB: If you had remained there, would your DSCF6322job have changed?

JK: It might have. They may have changed his duties, but I don’t think they would have eliminated his position while he was still in it.

BB: Or yours, if you had remained there? You might not be doing news any more.

JK: Perhaps, yes.

BB: How would you feel about that? In your heart, are you a news person, or a jock?

JK: In my heart, I’m a news person.

P: You look newsy.

JK: I like being a jock; but at the same time I really like the news.

BB: So, when you want to listen to radio news, is it CBC or News 95.7 that you tune into?

JK: News 95.7. That’s what I have on my radio at work. I never listen to CBC. 

BB: How come?

JK: [long pause] I don’t know if there is a specific reason. I’ve never really been one of those "CBC People" that have been super passionate about the CBC. My roommate is. Loves the CBC. CBC television. CBC radio. Everything CBC. I’m sure she would wear all the gear they had if she had the finances to do so. Although I use them as a news source on the internet, I never really listen to them for radio.

BB: You never listen to Information Morning?

JK: No. "Maritime Morning" with Jordy. He was talking about the zombie apocalypse this morning.

BB: I know. I missed it. I was in a meeting. We’re all over the place here, but Jordy Morgan has been a surprise to me in terms of doing a talk show. He was a jock for years. He did that tv show on CBC Newsworld with Joanne Clancy or Stefanyk. Then, eventually, he was back to playing music at the Q. He’s been revelatory. I enjoy listening to him more than I do Rick Howe.

P: What?DSCF6323

JK: I think of him as a Darrin Harvey type. Darrin could be an amazing talk show host.

P: Even the name. "Darrin Harvey."

JK: Exactly. Apart from the fact that everything would end up being comical. I think there are some jocks who are just great talkers. They are good at going for 10 or 20 minutes, off the cuff.

BB: I’m not sure why this is, but Conservative talk show hosts are more compelling and entertaining than the Liberal ones. Jordy is a pretty conservative guy. I’m not saying anything bad about him. He is just a Conservative fella. He gets wound up about things. I find it interesting.

JK: He’s very passionate. It’s interesting to listen to somebody who’s engaging and passionate than somebody who’s just talking on and on about whatever.

P: Wasn’t he on Rick’s show last week or the week before?

BB: They do a half hour "scrum" on Friday mornings, between 11 and 11:30.

P: I heard it at night. They must re-play it then.

BB: Yes.

P: They were really going at it! He was putting the boots to Rick.

BB: OK. I just wanted to know how you felt about losing that third news person. I guess there were only technically two news people. Kate Peardon, I think, would consider herself a news person.

JK: Yes.

BB: I know she’s doing news-type stuff at Newcap in Halifax. [BB Note: This interview was conducted before Kate Peardon became a temporary co-host at Q104.]

JK: And she went back to school also. She went to NSCC.

BB: It’s nice to hear her on the radio again. Anyway, we’ve been all over the damned place here.

JK: It’s been an interesting conversation though.


Wrap Up


BB: Julia Kirkey, thank you very much for the last couple of hours. I’m sorry that we couldn’t have the steak at the Lower Deck. I will go on the record as saying that I will take you to the Lower Deck. Patricia and you will be my sort-of dates. I will buy you a steak at the Lower Deck. 

JK: Well, I appreciate that. I look forward to it. Thanks for having me again.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Post 2388 – Interview with Newsperson Julia Kirkey, Part One


This one was a long time in the works, folks.  More than a year and a half, in fact.  The first half of the interview was conducted in December of 2011.  The second half took place in February of 2013.  The reason for the extreme delay will become clear in due course.

The second part of this interview will be published on Thursday the 18th.


December 29, 2011

Julia Kirkey and I met for dinner after our work on December 29, 2011. We decided to meet at the Old Triangle since it’s close to her work, and not close to mine. Ha ha.

We had crossed paths a few times over the years, but this was our first time in a face-to-face meeting. We ordered our beverages and our food, and began to talk.



1. How did you get your start in radio?

Julia Kirkey: It was 10 years ago. When I was 17, I had to do co-op in high school. I decided, randomly, that I wanted to do my co-op at AVR/Magic.

I started volunteerinJulia Kirkey Cg there in the Summer of 2001. I got bit by the radio bug. I’ll never forget Mike Mitchell’s advice to me at the time: "Don’t get into radio. There’s no money."

I went, "Oh, money! Who needs money?" Being 17, living at home with my parents, it’s irrelevant.

So, I went off to Ottawa. Went to school. Took Broadcasting. And, then, started working in radio.

Bevboy: You’re from the Valley, right?

JK: Yes, and no. My parents were both Military. My parents have lived in Greenwood for 12 years now.

BB: I’m wondering why you didn’t go to the Valley [school of Broadcasting at NSCC]?

JK: I didn’t want to take Television. You had to go to Kings Tec and take your screen test. I was very intimidated by the whole television portion of everything. My dad was posted to Ottawa at the time, so we started checking out schools there, and Algonquin College out in Ottawa offers Radio-only, Television-only [programs]. So, I took the Radio Broadcasting course. It’s very different from NSCC. You don’t specialize. You take everything. So, you don’t have that second year, just Broadcast Journalism, just Radio, kind of thing. You just take everything.

BB: Was it one year or two years?

JK: Two years.

BB: And, you probably got everything. News gathering. Reporting. How to be a jock.

JK: You trained as a jock. You have to have a certain amount of hours of shows. I had a specialty show; I had a Classical show that I did Mondays at noon. Then, you had news writing, commercial writing, Production, pretty much everything you could possibly imagine. Everyone took all the same things.

BB: So, you graduated in... 2003?

JK: 2004.

BB: What was your first professional radio job?

JK: The first time I got paid was during school. It was during my first year. I started working for CHUM in Ottawa. They have 4 stations there.

BB: Which one?

JK: All of them. I was what you’d call a glorified button pusher, or an Operator. We were still running off cd’s at that point. Automation had just started. We were automated as far as commercials went, but everything else was cd’s. Even voice tracking was done off mini disc.

I worked for CFRA, Team 1200, Magic 100, and at the time it was KOOL FM. Then, we flipped to BOB FM, just shortly before I left.

BB: Is that where they fired all the jocks and they just had wall-to-wall music?

JK: Pretty much. They also cut back on all of their part-time staff.

BB: You were out of a job at that point.

JK: Yes.

BB: What did you do at that point?

JK: I tried to get another radio job in Ottawa, but it’s a very, very competitive market. There are a lot of stations; but there are also a lot of broadcasters. Even if you look at job postings for places like Ottawa now, for overnight jobs, they want someone with 5 years experience. It’s tough to get experience when you can’t get a job, because you don’t have enough experience.

So, I ended up saying that maybe this radio thing isn’t meant to be. I moved home and did the working-wherever-I-could thing for a while. I kept up with my radio. I would go back to Ottawa and get to a studio to make sure I was keeping up on my skills, doing new demos, things like that, until K-Rock came along.

BB: So, you had about 3 years to kill between the time you left CHUM and when K-Rock went on the air?

JK: Yes. The job posting for K-Rock came out in July of... what, 2007?

BB: Yes.

JK: I applied then. I didn’t hear anything. I applied again when they re-posted the jobs in the Fall. Originally, I had applied for Neil’s job [Neil Spence], the part-time announcer job.

When I applied the second time, I thought, "Well, it’s not going to hurt to broaden my horizons. I’ll just apply for whatever I think I can probably get." It ended up being Dave Chaulk that called me, that resulted in my K-Rock job.

BB: It was as the weekend news person.Julia Kirkey E

JK: It was five days a week. I was full-time. A lot of people, even people inside the building, thought that I was part-time, because they only saw me 3 days a week.

BB: You were the roving reporter.

JK: Yes. So, sometimes people wouldn’t see me at all because I was at evening Council meetings and things like that. A lot of people thought I was part-time, but I was full-time.

BB: We’ll talk about the roving reporter stuff in a minute, but you remained at K-Rock until six or seven months ago.

JK: Until July of this year [2011].

BB: You’re working for MBS part-time. It’s probably to make some extra money while you’re at school.

JK: It is. It’s the only thing I’m qualified to do.

BB: How did this opportunity at MBS come up?

JK: They just posted the job. I actually had zero intention of getting a radio job after telling everyone how great it was going to be not getting up at 3:30 in the morning on the weekends any more. I was going to work in a bar, work in retail or something. Most people would find radio interesting, but I wanted to be a waitress. Then, all of a sudden, MBS posted this job. I thought, "Well, it really is the only thing I’m qualified to do. I might as well apply."

BB: And, you’re making more money than you would if you were a waitress, right?

JK: Yes, I am. I thought, "Well, I’ll see how it goes in the interview." But, when I walked into the interview, Deborah Rent offered me the job on the spot. They don’t often get people with multiple years of experience applying for part-time jobs.

BB: Well, your case is a little unusual, isn’t it?

JK: It is a little unusual, yes.

BB: And, you’re on this week because you’re filling in for people on vacation.

JK: Yes. Deborah is on vacation. Someone is filling in for her. I’m filling in for them.

BB: You’ll go back to working weekends only starting when school starts in January.

JK: Yes. School starts again on the 4th. I’ll go back to just doing my Sundays and holidays at that point.





2. At first, you were a roving radio reporter for 3 days and did the local news on K-Rock on weekends. How did you make the transition to hosting a music-intensive radio show and do the news? I can only imagine how busy you were.

JK: I don’t think anyone could have really grasped how busy I really was. But, I like being busy.

BB: A six hour shift.

JK: Yes. Longer than any other announcer shift, and I was doing more. But, I enjoy multitasking. I’m good at it. I didn’t feel as challenged as I probably could have been, just doing the one cast an hour on the weekends. Weekends are really slow unless something happens, like a fire or an accident or something. Then, it would get busy for maybe 15, 20 minutes and go back to just bobbing along, doing the same kind of thing.

Neil leaving was a blessing in disguise. As much as I hated to lose him as my co-host, as soon as he left, I said to Gary Tredwell, "I think I can do this. I would like to have the experience of being an announcer."

BB: I’m sure it was a way to save money, too.

JK: They saw it as that. They did save a fair amount of money by just having the one person instead of paying someone hourly and paying someone’s salary at the same time.

So, Neil left. I think it was the first week of ratings, actually, that September of 2010, that I did my first shift on my own. The first couple of weeks were nuts. I was thinking, "Why did I do this? I’m so busy right now!" But, once I got into the swing of things, then I was able to do show prep and write news casts and everything at the same time.

BB: Well, let’s talk about that a little bit. You go to work in the morning, and you’re presented with your playlist, right?

JK: Yes.

BB: I know that much.

JK: It’s all there for you.

BB: You do your show prep the night before or the day before or something.

JK: Depending. I’d keep my eye on things. My weekend was Thursday and Friday. I’d be on Twitter and that, so I’d keep my eye out for things that seemed interesting, but generally, I would do a lot of my show prep on the day of. That way, I would know what songs and artists I could play off of, other than just general entertainment stories.

BB: You’d be on the air at 6. You’d be at the station by, what, 4:30?

JK: Yes. Which beats MBS now, because our shifts during the week start at 3 o’clock in the morning.

BB: You physically have to be there at 3 o’clock?

JK: Yes.

BB: Why?

JK: Well, you’re doing a lot of different markets. They do the entire chain here, right? You start at 3 o’clock in the morning. You start recording casts (because you’re writing 6 casts at a time); they start airing at 5:30. You have to have them out to the stations by 4:30.

BB: They’re an hour old at that point, anyway?

JK: Yes.

BB: Well, were you pre-taping your newscasts at K-Rock?

JK: No. Everything was live. The occasional newscast was pre-taped if, say, there was a fire and I had to run out to something. I would record a newscast, but it was usually only 15-20 minutes ahead of time. That’s when I was just doing news.

BB: I was wondering about that as well, because if you had to a newscast at the top of every hour, and there’s something happening, and you’re physically out covering it, how would you do that?

JK: Well, it got to a situation where I couldn’t leave the station. If there was something I could do on the phone, like calling a Fire Chief or something, then I would just voice track a couple of breaks or just throw in an ID. Gary and then Curtis didn’t mind there just being some music if I got busy in the newsroom. Kate became a valuable resource at that point. If I needed somebody to go out and actually cover something, she was always available to do that. And, Darrin, too. I actually sent Darrin to a fire once. He left the gym and got in his car and went out to a fire to go cover it for me.





3. At K-Rock, how did you decide what stories you would go out and cover in person and which ones you could cover by phoning someone? I know you used to cover Kentville Town Council.

JK: All of the councils, actually. 8 councils.

BB: You’d physically go and sit there for hours?

JK: Well, it would depend on the schedule. Some of them are scheduled at the same time. You’d have to choose which one would be better to go to. But, the short answer to that question is Dave Chaulk. He was really the decision maker that decided whether or not I went to something or just called about it. He did my schedule for the most part. Julia Kirkey FSo, I’d say it was 90% of the time that Dave that said, "Well, here’s this pile. Follow up these on the phone. You need to be here, here and here at these times."

BB: All right. What hours were you officially working Monday through Wednesday?

JK: It would depend on council meetings. The day that I had a council meeting, I would either come in at 1 or 2 and then work until 5. I’d then take an extended lunch until such time that council meeting started, whether I’d have to drive to Windsor or Annapolis Royal or wherever.

Then, sometimes I was there until midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning.

BB: I ask this question with respect. To what purpose? Because, if you’re covering a town council meeting to the wee small hours of the morning, 10 seconds of that will make it to a news story the next day. Was it a waste of your time?

JK: Sometimes they were. Sometimes I didn’t get a single story out of a meeting that I was there until 11 o’clock. The latest meeting was generally 11 o’clock, but the councilors didn’t realize that when the meeting finished, they all went home. But, I went back to the station and had to go through all the audio and go through the interviews I’d done afterwards, go through my notes, and start writing stories for Kate the next morning.

BB: At what time would you leave the station?

JK: I think the latest I was ever there was 1:30.

BB: And, the next morning, Kate would or would not decide to use the story?

JK: Yes. There were many times where I would go to a council meeting on a Monday night. I’d be there until Tuesday morning. And, then, 3 hours later, when Kate came in, she would decide not to use that story.

BB: You never took it personally, I hope.

JK: No. Dave would usually use it later in the day. At that point, you usually need something local, just something, anything; so something would always get used. It just wouldn’t necessarily be the next morning.

BB: Did you ever cover Port Williams council?

JK: No. I didn’t do village commissions. I did County and Town councils. I would do Kings County Council; and West Hants Council, Annapolis County Council and Kings County Committee of the Whole were on at the exact same time. I would have to decide which one [to cover]. That was a 9am-3pm one. I would decide which one of those would take priority.

I went to Kentville Town Council, Wolfville Town Council, Windsor Town Council. I know I’m forgetting one. I would cover by phone Bridgetown, Middleton, Annapolis Royal, Hantsport, Berwick, and occasionally Greenwood/Kingston Village Commission.

BB: And, you and Jennifer Hoegg or Sara Keddy would be the only reporters there.

JK: Or Kirk Sterrart, yes. There was always myself, and someone from the newspaper. Depending on the level of controversy that was happening that night, you’d occasionally get Gordon Delaney from the Chronicle Herald. Then, if the story was big enough, then you’d start to get the television and the people from AVR and things like that.

BB: So, the Save the Farms story?

JK: Yes. There were always CBC, and The Chronicle Herald, and AVR that would come in. That’s the only time we’d see them.

BB: AVR has a reporter?

JK: They have a News Director who occasionally acts as a reporter. It’s Robb Lepper. When something’s big enough, he’ll cover something in the evening. But, he only works 7-3. [Robb left AVR in spring 2012]

BB: I can just imagine some of the material that you would have to sift through. You’d have a digital voice recorder like mine, only probably better quality.

JK: Yes. It was a big one. It picked up everything.

BB: I can just imagine how eye-crossingly dull some of that stuff would be.

JK: The worst time for me personally was always budget because when they did the financial audits of the previous year, it’s irrelevant as a news story because it’s from the previous year, unless they found something really huge. But, 99% of the time, they were just telling them that their audits went great. You’d have to sit through 45 minutes of an accountant going through their budgets line by line showing them that they were correct.

BB: Even if Dave Chaulk used the story, it would only be 20 seconds of it, and you would have been there for hours.

JK: Yes.

BB: I’ll go on the record and say that it wasn’t always a good use of a reporter’s time. Is it?

JK: No. Not always. I know that a lot of councils, even Kings County at one point, had been talking about making their councils on the web so that people could watch online. That would have been amazing. I would have been able to do other things at the same time.

I also covered School Board. Nancy Kelly would often be writing another story from earlier in the day, but she had to write during our School Board meeting because she had wanted to optimize her time. I never had that advantage because, being in broadcasting, I can’t be sitting there cutting audio when I don’t have a computer. Newspaper people can do a couple of things at a time.

BB: Other than Council, would you have been allowed the initiative to go to a fire on your own?

JK: Yes. I could have. And Dave was the one sitting next to the scanner. He was usually the one who would say, "Oh, this is happening. Go cover this."

We didn’t do a lot of coverage of fires and things like that because the Valley is so spread out. A lot of times, by the time I got there, we’d find out it was nothing. So, we’d usually hold out as long as we could, listening to the scanner, saying, "Is this something that’s actually going to be going on 15 minutes from now?". So, there were a few bigger fires that I went out to.

BB: How about robberies or something? There is the odd one down there. Would you go cover that?

JK: Not really. Unless it gave itself to really good audio, then I generally wouldn’t go. I covered court. If there were any court cases that were happening, I would go because you always have an opportunity to interview a lawyer, or interview [the accused] as they walk out of the courtroom. But, in a lot of cases, especially with fires, you get down there and all there is, is background noise of trucks idling, and sirens, and people talking.

BB: You can get that off youtube.

JK: Yes. So, half the time I’d do an interview and I couldn’t actually hear it for the sound of the firetruck idling behind us. It didn’t always lend itself to good audio.

If there was a big lottery jackpot, I would go down to the mall and talk to people who were buying lottery tickets. You get the noise of people in the background checking their lotto tickets. In those kinds of situations, it’s great to be there, because you get good audio for it. But, to go down to an armed robbery, you get probably something I could get over the phone while I’m doing 2 other stories.

BB: How busy were you at times when you were the reporter?

JK: When I was busy, I was really busy. When I wasn’t busy, I was really not busy. There were times where I was just sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, praying for anything to happen. It was usually the same for people working at the paper and things like that. We’d see the same ebbs and flows.

But then, when it did get busy, it was constantly, "Go, go, go!" I worked a couple of 16 hour days just because there were so many things going on. Something in the morning and something in the afternoon. Then there was a meeting in the evening. There were just so many things happening in one day that I had to cover them all. And, then there were other days when I was just staring at Dave thinking, "Is there anything you can think of, because nothing is happening. There’s literally nothing happening in the world!"

BB: Back in the day, many years ago, radio stations would have several reporters; they would have to go out and beat the street to find a story.

JK: We would have lots of time when it would be like, "OK. Let’s try to think of something. It’s May. Maybe an Apple Blossom story." But, a lot of times you’d call someone and leave a message and just have to hope that they’d call you back. A lot of my job was spent leaving people messages and hoping they’d call me back. I left a lot of messages through the years I worked at K-Rock.

It’s different with newspaper: They have a daily deadline. It’s a bit different now with the web. But, for radio, we have a deadline every hour. People don’t understand that, when I call you, I really need to speak to you.

BB: Who did the "Because You Asked?" feature?

JK: That was me.Julia Kirkey A

BB: Was that discontinued because you left?

JK: I think so. I don’t really know. I thought it would be continuing after I left. I had set Chris [Meaney] to take it over. But, the next thing I knew, it had just fallen by the wayside.

We didn’t get as many questions as we had hoped. We really wanted it to be interactive, where people were asking questions.

BB: "Why is it called Gallow’s Hill, anyway?"

JK: Yes. Exactly. We thought, "People have all kinds of questions, so when they think of them , they can send them in." But, they really weren’t. The first couple of weeks, we got a couple of people we expected to get lots of questions from, who sent in a few. Then, it really died out. Basically, for the last couple of weeks, it was all the questions I had been wondering about.

BB: That’s too bad. How would you research those stories?

JK: I had an invaluable resource in Maynard Stevens, who volunteers for the King’s Historical Society. He’s also a New Minas Village Commissioner. If there was anything Kings County related, or really anything at all, I would email him or call him, and say, "I’m trying to find out about this." He would find someone who knew about it, find out the information. If it was something that was West Hants, he would get me in contact with people I needed to talk to in West Hants or Annapolis. He really, really made a lot of that possible.

BB: Good. I didn’t hear that feature as much as I wanted to. At one point, you could download them; but I don’t think they’re even on the website any more.

JK: No. Probably not, because they have my voice on them.

BB: Did you keep them?

JK: I think I have them, yes.

BB: Can you help a brother out?

JK: I have a folder on my computer. They’re probably in there.

BB: I would really appreciate that.

JK: For sure. I’ll check for them.







4. The Megan Edwards question. You lose your iPod. I find it. What songs on it would surprise me the most?

JK: You almost said "impress". I was thinking, "Oh, that changes my answer." I think what would not surprise you, anybody who listened to K-Rock in 3 years would know I'm a huge Beatles fan.

You are on my Facebook. I think what would surprise you is that I'm a huge Backstreet Boys fan.

BB: You went on the cruise!Megan Edwards K

JK: I went on the cruise. I am a Backstreet Boys super fan. I have been since I was 13 years old. No one expects it. People always say, "I wouldn't have thought that of you!" Oh, yeah. And, I own it. I'm not ashamed.

BB: What was the reality of seeing and hearing the Backstreet Boys as guys in their 30's, when they were 10 feet away from you?

JK: I did not cry, nor did I squeal like a 12 year old girl. I've seen them many, many times and met them many times. If you act like a normal human being, they'll treat you like a normal human being in return. If you want to talk to them, you can't act like you're 12 years old and scream in their faces. So, I've never done that.

BB: Has it reached the point where they go, "Oh, it's that girl from Nova Scotia. What's her name again?"

JK: They remember your face more than they remember your names. They remember things about you. I'm to the point now where they remember things about me. Some people think that's embarrassing. I think it's amazing.

BB: It is fun to be remembered for something positive, right?

JK: Yes. So, that, I think, would surprise most people, on my iPod. I'm a huge fan of Top 40 music. I just like Pop music.

BB: Do you listen to those stations in town that play that music?

JK: I do. Yes.

BB: So, The Bounce? Z?

JK: I do flip around a fair amount. I listen to Live when Neil's on because I usually just want to know what he's talking about. I flip around between The Bounce and Z103 and sometimes C100. They're my preferred stations. They're my 1, 2, 3.

BB: Very good. Any other musical artists you want to surprise me with?

JK: I love Coldplay. I'm super pumped if they come to Moncton this Summer. I haven't seen them in years and years. I really am a big Classic Rock fan. I did really enjoy working at K-Rock. I got to listen to a lot of music that I liked. Apart from The Beatles, I love David Bowie. I love Joni Mitchell. I've been on a huge Joni Mitchell kick lately. I have Darrin out looking for vinyl for me as we speak. I love Simon and Garfunkel. I loved The Beach Boys when I was a kid. I really like music from all kinds of genres. I like rap. I like Rock. I like classic hits. I like everything.

BB: With the classic rock stuff, are there songs that you wish that K-Rock and Q104 and Hal would play? My criticism of Classic Rock and Classic Hit stations is that it's a narrow play list. They play the same 4 Fleetwood Mac songs, the same 4 Stones songs.

JK: I think they all need to step away from assuming that everybody only wants to listen to hits. At the same time, I would really like to hear more '90's. I think that '90's is really being neglected right now. There's a huge block of music that no one plays. You get the occasional Tragically Hip because you need to make your CanCon. K-Rock plays a lot of '90's, early 2000's Tragically Hip, but, really, nothing else. My biggest complaint about Classic Rock stations is that I don't hear nearly enough '90's. If you think about it, people that are in their mid 30's, the start of their demographic, that's their music. That's what they want to hear. They want to hear their Counting Crows and their Nirvanas. I think that's Classic Rock that needs to start being incorporated into stations' [playlists]. It's not just '60's any more.

BB: If you were a Program Director, would you push toward that?

JK: Yes. Absolutely. It's not necessarily about adding new music, but newer music.




5. Please say something about the following people.


A. Darrin Harvey

JK: Well, there’s so many things that I could say about Darrin. I think I mentioned before that I had done my co-op in high school at AVR/Magic. My first time meeting Darrin Harvey was when I was 17 years old, and he was the morning show host on Magic. He really wanted to make me feel accepted and have fun. I sat in on his shows; he let me go on the air. He was the first person to ever put me on the radio.

BB: Does he remember that?Darrin Harvey C

JK: He doesn’t, really. He had a head injury. He remembers meeting me, but he doesn’t remember a lot of the smaller details. I guess it was more influential for me. I remember all of the little details.

I remember he brought me in the cruiser. We drove out to West-Hants to a small little community radio station that was running down there. He had me listen to the very first Alicia Keyes record, before she was anyone.

Darrin was just an enormous influence in my life. He continues to be, him and Sue (his partner) both. He calls me his "work wife" because I would always make sure that he ate his sandwich for lunch, because he forgets to eat. I like to make sure that he takes care of himself. Darrin’s just really important to me.

BB: He’s a good guy. He’s always been nice to me. He calls me "brother".

JK: That’s his thing.

BB: Is there something about Darrin, that you would like to tell my readers, that would perhaps be a surprise?

JK: Darrin is an open book. He’ll pretty much tell you everything about himself. But, I will tell you, Darrin is the only person in my circle of friends or from my roommate, that will let me talk ad nauseum about The Backstreet Boys. He would watch my videos. He would look at my pictures when I came back from concerts. He loves music. He has respect for people who make music. He wasn’t necessarily going to go out and buy an album; but he was always impressed by the stories that I told, and particularly after I saw the New Kids/Backstreet Boys Mashup Tour in the Summer. He wanted to hear every story that had anything to do with Tom Selleck. There was a Tom Selleck story, and he wanted to know it.

He’s a really good listener. He’ll let you talk about anything, really.

BB: But, he won’t admit to being a Backstreet Boys fan?

JK: No. He would never, ever admit to that. And, I don’t think he is. But, he has respect for musicians.




B. Gary Tredwell

JK: While Darrin may be a personal influence, Gary is definitely a professional influence on me. I never would have even thought about taking Neil’s job if it weren’t for Gary. Those first couple of weeks, I was sure I was terrible. But, Gary was so patient, so willing to sit down with me and do as many air checks as I wanted to help me get the hang of not being a newsperson and being an announcer, because they are very different things. The way you speak is different. The things you talk about are different. So, hGary Tredwell Ce gave me a lot of really professional advice that I [found very useful]. I really feel that I got better because of things that Gary had me work on.

BB: Give me an example of a piece of advice that he gave you.

JK: I was going to use this later on, but he always talked about keeping it simple. He talked about thing like the weather, about how important the weather is to people, and how you don’t realize just how many people are listening because they want to hear the weather. So, making it a priority in the way you speak, to get your weather right up in the front.

And, just little things that people don’t really think about. The order, the way that you say things, of keeping things really short and brief. Someone’s attention span is only so long. Talking about ways to talk about music. I had lists of things that Gary had said. "Say the time this way. Say the weather this way." There are things that I learned in school that I had maybe forgotten or that maybe I was a bit rusty on, because it had been a long time since school.

BB: People know Gary for his alter ego. Would you describe Gary Tredwell as underrated as a Program Director?

JK: Absolutely. I actually had no idea who Greasy Gary was, until I met Gary, obviously. I think that Gary was a terrific Program Director. I think he was underappreciated. He really understood not the way that radio works, but the way listeners work, what people want to hear, rather than what you think they want to hear. I think he just had a different way of understanding radio that a lot of people who sit in the Program Director’s chair and look at it and say, "Oh, people will love this!". Well, radio people will love it; but people listening to the radio might not.

BB: He told me one thing that surprised me; and that is that he’s not in favour of request shows.

JK: No.

BB: He thinks that he has a pretty good idea of what people want to hear, like you just said; but he doesn’t think that people are that interested in request shows. You want to hear your song; but the people over there, may not.

JK: Well, he always told us, "This isn’t your iPod. If you want to hear a song on your iPod, listen to your iPod. You might want to hear that song; but the other 40 000 people who are potentially listening don’t want to hear it.

BB: In theory.

JK: In theory. So, it’s hit or miss. We did request shows on New Year’s Eve. Neil did a request show. He’s doing one actually on Live 105 this year.

BB: Oh, is he? [Bevboy note: Armed with this knowledge, Bevboy called Live 105 on New Year’s Eve 2011 and got his request played!]

JK: So, we did have them. But, he was never a big fan of the request lunches, and things, because people don’t realize that those request lunches are still programmed.

BB: How so?

JK: They’re still programmed with music because you aren’t necessarily going to get a request that you can play. It might not fit into something that you can play. If you get a request for BTO, and you just played BTO 2 songs ago, you can’t play it. You’re not going to play 3 Bryan Adams songs back-to-back. You still have to program those request shows, and then hope to get something that fits in. Maybe you’ll luck out. There were lots of times people called with requests. They’d say, "Oh, I want to hear David Bowie’s ‘Fame’". I’d have a different David Bowie song coming up and could just swap it for the song that they wanted, and call it a request. But, I was still supposed to play David Bowie.

BB: Were you allowed to do that?

JK: Yes. To a degree. You couldn’t mess with the playlist too much.



C. Mel Sampson

JK: I love Mel Sampson. I truly do. I have a friend for life in Mel. We have so much in common, so many similar interests. We hit it off right away. Even though we come from two very different kind of worlds, me growing up in a city, and her growing up in rural Labrador. We're very different; but at the same time, we get along so well.

She is such an amazing announcer. I really think that if anybody's underrated, it's Mel Sampson. I think that she is going to go places. We're going to hear her on the air in major markets like Toronto and Ottawa and other big places Mel Sampson Cbecause I think she has the talent to do it. She's incredibly talented. I don't think people realize just how talented she really is. I think she's going places. Maybe I'll tag along.

BB: If she wants to. She and Goose seem pretty happy.

JK: Yes. They're very happy. They have their house. They have their dog. But, it's the nature of radio to always want to move up. It's always looking for the opportune moment to say, "All right. Maybe I'll take that." I don't know if she's even considering that right now. But, I think someday Mel Sampson's going to move up. It's my prediction.

BB: Well, with the magic of the internet, I can listen to her wherever she is. I mentioned to her before that I have never heard anybody sound so joyous on the air.

JK: Her laugh is infectious. Whenever she and I got the opportunity to be on the air at the same time, when I was filling in for Dave, it was always her ultimate dream to have us have a show, together. To have me be her co-host. So, when I would fill in for Dave, I would sit in the studio with her and do my news in there. I could contribute to the things she was talking about. Eventually, they pulled back and said, "OK. She just needs to do the news. You just need to do your show." But, we so wished that we could have had our co-hosted afternoon show.

BB: That would have been fun.

JK: I think so.

BB: Is there anything else you want to say about Mel?

JK: She's just wonderful and talented. And, I miss her.

BB: You saw her just last week, didn't you?

JK: I did. But, I still miss her.


D. Dave Chaulk

JK: He really talks like that. That’s the thing everyone asks me. Every single person who says, "Do you work for Dave Chaulk? Does he really talk like that?" Yes, he does!

I shared an office with Dave for 3 years. I can honestly say that he’s an absolute riot. No one would expect that Dave was as funny as he is. There were so many times when the two of us would just be sitting in the newsroom in absolute stitches over something that we’d read. He loves stupid criminal stories. Any time a stupid criminal story would come on the wire, he would read it out loud. We would just laugh about it.

I learned a lot from Dave about news. A lot of people might not have realized, but before I worked at K-Rock, I had absolutely no experience in news, apart from school. I worked at a News/Talk station, but I had never been a reporter at any point.

BB: No disrespect, but why did they hire you as a reporter?

JK: I don’t know. I think it’s because, when I went for my interview, he asked to see examples of my writing. I re-wrote a bunch of stories out of the newspaper. I basically passed the test. He gave me a verbal quiz, in essence. He gave me a situation and then asked me, as a reporter, "What would you do?" I guess I answered the questions correctly.

I’d done a lot of news in school, but mostly just news reading. I didn’t really get a lot of opportunity to be a reporter. So, I had the experience of putting together a newscast, and reading it on the air. Reading out loud is not an issue for me. But, I really was very inexperienced as a reporter and probably could not have made it through those 3 years if I couldn’t have had that resource to say, "OK. I’m going to this, but I have no idea what to do when I get there. Whom do I talk to? What do I say?" There were no stupid questions with Dave; he was always willing to answer questions and understood that I had to learn somehow. I really jumped in feet first!

BB: He’s a good guy, is he?

JK: He’s amazing, yes.

BB: I met him one time, just in passing. The stories that man could tell. The first time I ever heard the name "Colleen Jones" was on CJCH AM, 30 years ago. On the weekends, he was the host of a sports show.

JK: He was the Sports Director.

BB: He did a story on Colleen Jones. He went from there to AVR in ‘84 or ‘85.

JK: Really, the K-Rock News department would have been a completely different situation than it was if they hadn’t hired him. He brought along so many contacts, an immeasurable amount of information and knowledge of the Valley. If they had hired somebody from outside, they probably would not have been as successful in local news as they were. He’s really important to that station.

BB: How successful is that station in terms of news reportage?

JK: Quite. Obviously, I haven’t seen this year’s ratings, but in ratings past, news was very, very well listened to, especially during the morning and middle of the day, and on the weekends.

BB: That’s why, here in Halifax, the news hits are maybe a minute long, max. It’s crazy. It’s stupid. But at K-Rock, they made the effort of making them 3 or 4 minutes long.

JK: Yes. We had a 4 minute news cast. When I started working here at MBS, they said, "Our newscasts are 2:30 max." I said, "Wow. I just came from a place where I was doing a 4 minute newscast." Immediately, the News Director, Deb Rent, said, "If only we could do a 4 minute newscast! Imagine how amazing that would be." And, it really was. You had an opportunity to do local, provincial, and international news, all in one newscast, and still have room for your sports and weather. It was amazing to be able to get my experience in doing such a full cast, and not having to rush it.

BB: I don’t know why they even bother with newscasts any more. They’re so brief and perfunctory.

JK: It’s true. It’s headlines.

BB: They might as well just cancel it. He said, cynically.



E. Neil Spence

JK: Neil is my brother from another mother. He and I became known at K-Rock for the fact that we fought constantly. Most of the time, we weren’t really serious in our hate for each other; but we had all out shouting matches with each other about anything and everything. Everyone commented on the fact that we acting like we were brother and sister.Neil Spence G It didn’t matter what it was; we found a way to fight about it.

To this day, we still play fight about everything. We’re always jokingly yelling at each other for whatever reason.

BB: You two spend quite a bit of time together?

JK: Yes. We do. We’re very good friends. He’s always coming over to my place. We have dinner. Whenever we can get together, we do. He’s a couple years younger than me. When Neil and I first met, I was in my mid-twenties; he was in his early twenties. We were in very different stages of life. He was just getting out of school, living at home. I was living on my own. We were very different people. I never would have imagined, when I first met Neil, that we would get as close as we are now. He really is one of my best friends.

Even after he had moved to Sydney, every time he came back, he would bring me Tim Horton’s to work in the morning. Or, we’d meet up and go out for lunch.

BB: He would sit in studio with you, the one he had just vacated? And, you couldn’t say, "I’m here with my friend Neil Spence!" You couldn’t even allude to that, could you?

JK: No. He worked for a different station. It was a Newcap station. It probably wouldn’t have mattered too much; but once he was in Halifax, then it would have mattered. He would just pop in and say hi. We’d chat for a while. We had this problem in that our 5 minute chats often turn into 3 hour chats. The two of us like to talk. We are really good at talking to each other.

BB: People start dating as a result of that.

JK: No. Neil and I are completely incompatible. Our fights would probably turn violent.


F. Kate Peardon

JK: Kate is another person that gave me a lot of valuable advice. It was important to Kate that I become a really good broadcaster. I would record things for the morning. She would always give me feedback, saying, "Well, maybe next time you could do it this way." She wasn’t the News Director. She and Dave were 2 very different broadcasters. They hadKate Peardon September 14 2012 2 very different styles, which was apparent just in the difference between the morning show and the rest of the day. I really appreciated getting those 2 different perspectives on things.

There were a lot of times when I would have Kate listen to my airchecks and get her feedback. Her advice, I’ll take with me everywhere. I took notes and printed it out. I do take her advice with me everywhere. She introduced me to people at stations in Saskatchewan where she came from that have led to job offers that I didn’t necessarily feel at that point I was ready to take. But, still, she has given me fantastic references and is just a wonderful person. I really get along with her well as a person. I love what she does on air. I’m sad to not hear her any more, on Q on the weekends.

BB: Do you think she’ll be back on the air sometime?

JK: I think she’ll eventually end up back on the air. It’s hard to get away from it. As soon as you’re off the air, it’s all you can think about. I can attest to that personally in that I’ve left radio twice and both times ended up back in it.

BB: Do you think you will end up back on the air permanently, again? You’re studying PR. It’s a different thing.

JK: It’s different, but the same. There’s a lot of parallels, especially to journalism. There’s a lot of journalism involved in PR. I think that taking PR has, if anything, made me a better journalist. A lot of the things that Kate had suggested to me were things that I’m learning now in school. Obviously, they weren’t wrong. At this point, I’m not sure; but sometimes I have days when I think, "That’s it. I’m going back. I’m going to work in radio." Other days I think, "OK. Well, this is fun, too." It depends on what comes along.


G. Vicki Gesner

JK: Vicki covers Amherst, Summerside, and Moncton. She does those 3 markets, Monday to Friday. I know she misses covering the Valley. She’s one of the busiest people that I know. If you ever thought I was busy, Vicki is a busy person. She owns her own business. It’s a motorcycle side car tourism business. She’s always traveling around on her bike all over the province, taking people on tours in side cars. She and her husband do it. And, she’s also getting her Master’s in Education. So, she’s an incredibly busy person. I don’t know how she can get up at 2 o’clock in the morning every day and go through the motions.

BB: Is she full time at MBS?

JK: Yes.

BB: She must have her classes in the afternoon...

JK: She’s part-time in school. She’s been trying to get her Master’s for a while now. She’s been working away it, because she does it part-time.

BB: You guys make me feel so lazy!

JK: We’re just tired.

[Patricia calls on Bevboy’s BlackBerry. He passes it to Julia. Patricia and Julia have a moment]

BB: Is there anything else you want to say about Vicki?

JK: She’s busier than anyone. I, of course, knew who she was long before I started working at MBS. She didn’t remember meeting me, but I remembered meeting her back in my first couple of days volunteering at AVR when I was in high school. She’s a Valley celebrity.

BB: She would have covered the Valley for many years, back when that station had more than one newsperson.

JK: Her and Dave. She and I get to talk about Dave a fair amount. We both have contact with him still.



H. You supply the name of someone you want to talk about.

JK: I thought about this. I thought I would pick somebody who doesn’t work in Halifax, so you could be exposed to someone new. I thought I would talk about my friend, Jay Scotland.

I think Jay’s a perfect example to anybody who’s thinking about getting into radio, of the fact that experience in broadcasting can get you so many places. A lot of people come into it, and they’re narrow focused. They just want to be an announcer. That’s all they want to think about.

I went to school with Jay. He was the same thing. He wanted to be an announcer. He was in the Reserves to pay his way through school. He got an Announcer job. I think he worked in Kingston, Ontario.

Then, the next thing I knew, he got offered a job at a television station. He hadn’t taken Television, but he took it any way. Then, he got promoted to start reading the weather on CHEX in Peterborough. He was always really good at science. He started going through the motions and taking Environment Canada courses, taking Meteorology in university. Now, he is the weather man for CBC national. When you watch the CBC News Channel, he’s the weather guy.

I strive to be like Jay Scotland, to be as successful as him, because he blows me away at what a hard worker he is.

BB: And he’s your age or so?

JK: He’s a couple years older than me. He’s around 30. He’s filled in on The National and got to read the weather for Peter Mansbridge. To see people I went to school with being that successful really impresses me. I’m so impressed that I know these people.

BB: Do you see him very much?

JK: I talk to him on Facebook from time to time. He actually helped me out with one of the "Because You Asked". I think it was about the Bay of Fundy tides or something. He had done a piece on just that for a feature story in Ontario. It’s about using your resources! But, it’s a lesson in how you can get into something and end up in something completely different.

BB: Do you hope to be in television one day?

JK: I don’t know. I often wondered that, but I don’t know if I could be in television.

BB: What kind of guy is Jay? Nice fella?

JK: He’s amazing. In school his nickname was "Booboo" because he’s a small guy and he kind of reminded us of Yogi’s friend Booboo.






6. What is the best piece of professional advice or criticism you have ever received, and who provided it?

JK: Gary's best piece of advice, and a lot of Program Directors use this, is the KISS theory: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Gary was really big on that. You don't realize how true it is until you start thinking about the ways that you can condense things and make them shorter. It's really easy to talk and talk and talk. But, it's really challenging to say what you want to say in a short amount of time.

BB: To speak with an economy of prose.

JK: Yes. Word economy. A lot of Gary's advice was in that regard. It was really valuable, because I do like to talk. With news, everything is written out in front of you. You know you can take out that sentence. I can take out that word. But, when you're ad libbing, it's easy to let it get away from you and snowball and end up talking and talking and talking. So, Gary really helped me learn how to keep it simple.

BB: OK. You mentioned Kate Peardon. What was a specific piece of advice from her?

JK: Kate really made me realize that news doesn't have to be formal. A lot of newscasters especially on News/Talk stations or on television, it's a very, very formal way of presenting the news. She presented me with a lot of different ways that you could, in more music-centric radio, be very casual and more personable. She really impressed on me that you really had to be personable, that you felt like that person was sitting in the car with you, just telling you a story about something that happened, rather than somebody who was "presenting" you with the news.

So, I tried to take what Kate does and what other people do, which might be more formal, and mix the two and find my own voice, and my way of saying things that are my level of casual. I'm not nearly as casual as Kate, and I don't know how to be as casual as Kate. I haven't learned that, yet. But, it helped me find my own place in being just more mellow.

BB: Has Deborah Rent or Vicki Gesner offered you any advice? Or are they happy with your performance?

JK: They seem to be pretty happy with my performance so far. I haven't heard anything negative. Vicki doesn't really get the opportunity to, because she's similar to me. Everyone's really positive, though. If you put a voicer in the system for the next day, I know Daryl Goode has said to me before, "Oh, thank you so much for those voicers! They were really fantastic." Everyone is so positive and will always give you a pat on the back if they feel you deserve it.



7. Tell me about a couple of on air mistakes you have made. I can imagine, working double-duty at K-Rock last year, that things might have happened.

JK: Actually, I think I made less mistakes when I was doing double-duty than I did before. I own my mistakes like you wouldn't believe. I will tell anyone and everyone the mistakes I have made, and so will Neil.

If we're talking about verbal mistakes, I once, during the span of a day, could not pronounce anything. I said the words "increasing crowd" and "playground ecripment". Neil determined that I was speaking as though I were speaking as Kim Jong Ill [from the film Team America: World Police]. Now, every time Darrin Harvey AI see him, he adds "r's" to everything. He says, "Herro! I noticed the increasing crowd today!" Those, I will never live down.

With Darrin, he one day, when the two of us worked on the weekend, (he did Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday; I did Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), let a stray cat into the station. He loves cats.

BB: Me, too.

JK: This cat was outside. It was cold. So, he brought the cat in. He was petting the cat in the studio. It was time for the news. He brings the news on. The cat jumps from the chair that it was on (sleeping) on to the desk. The cat then walks across the board, hits the pot on my mic all the way up.

Darrin's trying to deal with that. The cat walks all the way across to where I' m standing and is inches away from my face, while I'm reading the news.

BB: And you have to be professional.

JK: I'm trying to be professional. I start to laugh. I'm in the middle of talking about some story about some poor farmer whose cantalopes rotted in his field because Sobeys wouldn't buy them. I'm giggling uncontrollably. Then, I just had to say, "I'm sorry. There's a cat!" The number of people who came up to me later and said they almost drove off the road because I was just randomly laughing; and then just said in the middle of my newcast, "I'm sorry. There's a cat!" He was right in my face.

BB: What happened to the cat?

JK: We put it back outside.

BB: Aww!

JK: I know! We still left food out for it, and then got in trouble because someone kept leaving food out for a stray cat.

BB: Anything else? Ever say "poop" on the air?

JK: No. I think I'm pretty good in that regard. I'd say my worst actual mistake was when I worked for CHUM. The cd's were in carts. You put the cd's in the cart machines, and then you'd cue up the tracks. It was all on a paper log. I worked over nights. I would work a shift that started at 10 o'clock at night. and finish at noon. I did double shifts. I'd work a 10-6 shift and a 6-noon.

I remember one night. It was around 3 o'clock in the morning. I put all 3 of my cd's in. I didn't cue any of them up. I didn't even think of it. I was just on auto pilot. I hit the cd and realized, "This isn't the song I'm supposed to be playing." I faded it down and hit the next cd. That wasn't the song that was supposed to be playing. Faded that down and hit the third song that was supposed to be playing. That wasn't the right song either.

Who happened to be driving to the airport at 3 o'clock in the morning, was the station manager. I got a call. "What just happened?" You very quickly learn in radio that mistakes happen and you just have to say, "I screwed up." I think it was the first time that I had to be like, "I have no idea what I just did. But it was not correct." From then on, I was always super diligent about cueing up my tracks on my cd's.

BB: Getting back to the cat, when it potted up your mic, what did that accomplish? What did that do?

JK: It would have made me way too loud. I don't have a very soft speaking voice to start with. I would have sounded really, really loud and distorted in people's radios. So, Darrin had to deal with that. He had to bring that back down.




8. You lived in the Annapolis Valley for several years, and now spend your time in Halifax. Tell me 4 things you miss about the Valley, and 4 things you love about Halifax.

JK: I’d say the 4 things I miss about the Valley are easier. I miss my dog.

I miss Greenwood in general, because I know so many people there. Every where I go in Greenwood, I see people I know. I miss that community feel; of being able to go somewhere and see somebody I know, of never making it through the grocery store without being stopped to chat.

I miss the gym in Middleton. It’s my favourite gym ever because it’s so quiet.

BB: But, you lived in Port Williams, right? You’d drive to Middleton to go to the gym?

JK: Yes. I went home every weekend. I went to my parents’ house in Greenwood every Thursday or Friday, whether it was to do laundry or go to the gym or whatever. I love going to the gym. It’s my favourite activity. The gym in Middleton is my favourite place because it’s so quiet. It’s just perfect. The gym in Greenwood is noisy and busy.

The fourth thing, I think, would be [long pause]... I just miss how quiet everything is. Just being able to go for a drive and be the only person on the road in some places. I would just go for drives down the North Mountain and take pictures of horses. You can’t do that here. You can take pictures of the waterfront all you want, but there’s people there. There’s people everywhere.

BB: OK. Things you like about Halifax.

JK: How many more restaurants there are. There’s always somewhere different to go eat. There’s no way I think I could try all of them. I love that there’s so much variety in that aspect of Halifax.

The second thing about Halifax is my roommate. We met in Ottawa when she took Radio, but eventually switched to horticulture. When I moved to Halifax, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to live here on my own and go to school, so she moved from Ottawa to live with me. If I didn’t move to Halifax, I probably wouldn’t have her here.

BB: What does she do for a living?

JK: She works for the VON right now. She does intake. When people schedule appointments for the VON, she’s the person they talk to for home visits. She was just working in Ottawa; she wasn’t doing anything that she was really passionate about. She wanted a change of scenery. She’s definitely one of the things I’m happy for.

Further to that, the third thing is that I have lots of friends here. A lot of people I went to high school with, live here. So, it was an easy transition to move from the Valley to living here. I didn’t have that, "I don’t know anybody; I have to make friends." [thing]. As soon as I moved here, people were like, "Oh, we have to get together!"

The fourth thing I’m going to say is how easy it is to get from here to other places outside of this province. When you live in the Valley, it’s so daunting to have to make that loop around: Drive all the way to Halifax and then drive all the way up to Amherst or wherever. To have that 2 hours shaved off your time is fantastic. Moncton is less further away. Charlottetown is less far away. It’s awesome.

BB: And so is the airport.

JK: And, so is the airport!




9. Why did you agree to this interview?

JK: I didn't really see a reason not to. You had asked me a while ago. At the time, I was like, "Well, I'm getting out of radio. Why would you want to talk to me?" Then, of course, I didn't. That plan went well. I figured, "Why not?" Someone might find me interesting, out there, somewhere. Neil will find me interesting. I know he'll read it.





10. You ask me a question.

JK: I tried really hard to think of a question that you haven’t been asked by somebody else before. I can’t imagine what that would be. So, I think that my question is: You’ve interviewed so many people who are in radio. Is there anything that we all have in common?

BB: A passion for radio.

JK: I would hope so.

BB: A passion for communication. I said this to Jeff Cogswell. I haven’t met any assholes yet. I’m sure there are some. But, I’ve been lucky in that I have always met nice people. They’ve always been very generous with their time. Nicolle Bellefontaine had me in studio with her when I interviewed her. I interviewed Neil Spence last year in studio after he’d finished a shift. You guys have been very generous with your time, and with me. Almost to a person, you’re all very surprised that there’s a person who wants to talk to you. That’s what I don’t understand. You guys are in the media. You meet extremely interesting people that I would kill to meet. People who do radio shows get to meet The Rolling Stones, the Black-Eyed Peas, everyone. I’ll never get a chance to meet these people. I get to talk to people who meet these people, which is a pretty big thrill to me. I’m not sure if you get cynical about meeting other celebrities or not; but to me, that’s a pretty big draw in talking to you. You get a unique insight into meeting people that I’ll never have a chance to meet. And, you always have funny and interesting stories to tell.

JK: About cats!

BB: About anything. So, that’s what I found: You’re all pretty much the same kind of people. And, if there are jerks, I haven’t met them yet. There are some, right?

JK: Oh, yes. They’re out there.






11. A special bonus question courtesy of... Neil Spence!

I have 2 questions if that's cool. One's a joke, one's serious. Open with the joke but ask it with a straight face.

A. What is your most annoying memory of working with Neil Spence?

JK: He knows what I’m going to say here. There’s a rule at K-Rock, thanks to Neil. It’s called, "No Finger Puppets During the News." One day, there were these 2 finger puppets that were tacked to the wall. One was a little panda; the other was a Neil Spence Ebear.

I’m reading the news. All of a sudden, behind my monitor, come 2 finger puppets. They started dancing behind the screen. I lost it, in the middle of the news. I had to turn off my mic and laugh hysterically. I composed myself during the time that I had a clip playing. I continued, while he was literally rolling on the floor with laughter, because he made me crack.

So, after that, I had to institute the "No finger puppets during the news" rule. That is by far the most annoying thing that Neil has ever done to me.

BB: Typically, you’re pretty composed and professional, right?

JK: I like to think so. He would always try to make me laugh and was never successful. I was always successful in making them laugh. I’d throw in some really silly story. I threw in a story once about a guy who was trying to get a name change in Arizona. His name was "Slap Happy Fish Soup MacGilligan." I said it with a straight face. Darrin lost it. I was always getting them like that. But, they had never got me until the finger puppets.

BB: I’m trying to remember. Originally, Neil worked the afternoons on weekends. You were on in the morning and into the afternoon. Right?

JK: Yes. Originally, my shift started at 6; my first cast was at 7. I went until 2. Then, we changed it until earlier, so my shift started at 5. My first cast was at 6. And, I finished at noon. There was a recorded 2 o’clock cast. Then, they cut the 2 o’clock cast completely once I started doing Neil’s job.




B. If you were on the air while something big like the death of John Lennon happened, how would you approach announcing it?

JK: I’ve dealt with big things in the past, maybe not as big as John Lennon dying. But, I think the way I handle things is just to be straight up. Even if I’m particularly emotionally attached to something, it’s just to say, "Here’s what happened." I would rather be able to say something with some sort of information to go along with it. But, in that case, I think it would just be, "Stop everything. Something huge has happened. Here it is."

BB: If a plant is closing in the Valley, and friends of yours work there. It becomes a little bit personal.

JK: There have been situations like that when things have been a little bit personal. But, I think I’m good at keeping things at arm’s length. A lot of people will comment on the fact that journalists in general are very jaded. We aren’t really emotionally affected by stories, by tragedy. Even if I knew that I was going to be making people upset, they still want to know. I have an obligation to just tell people what it is, whether or not it’s going to upset them.

BB: Is that a product of your training, or your education?

JK: I think it’s a combination of both. I think it’s instinct, too. You do have to have a certain amount of instinct to know whether or not something is worthy of laying it all out there, and whether or not it’s better to keep it for now or get more information and see if it’s worth telling people about.

I know Dave was always good at saying, "These are things that people need to know, that people want to know." If it’s something that affects anyone, they want to know. You just need to be honest with people.

So, if while I was working, John Lennon died, I’d probably just stop everything and say, "Here’s what happened."

BB: When you were at K-Rock, did you ever have to interrupt a morning show or an afternoon show with breaking news? That doesn’t really happen very much anymore, does it?

JK: I can’t remember any time when we actually interrupted something with breaking news. We would probably give teasers to the news coming up at the top of the hour if there was anything. I know there were a couple of times when I would go on the air with one of the announcers to say, "Oh, this and this happened. I’ll be talking more about it at one o’clock or whatever." But I can’t remember any time, with the exception of an election, when anything was interrupted for news.

BB: Were you guys covering the elections at night?

JK: Yes. We had someone live at night. First it was Neil, then Chris. Dave and I would be covering elections. I’d be out sitting in returning offices. The last election, I had to go to Saulnierville and sit in the returning office and call back the results every time they came in.

BB: Why Saulnierville?

JK: That’s where the returning office for West Nova is.

BB: I hope you didn’t pay for all that gas.

JK: No. I drove the Cruiser. But, I had to drive back from Saulnierville after they announced that Greg Kerr had won. It’s about two and a half hours [from the radio station]. It’s far; it’s only one lane.

BB: I like talking about the news because I don’t get to talk to you guys about how news is gathered or how it’s presented. It’s almost like a mystery to a lot of people.

JK: I think it really is. A lot of people make a lot of assumptions about the way that we get news, and the way that news comes to us. I’m happy to say that it’s a lot easier than that, or a lot more complicated than that.

BB: If The Chronicle Herald stopped publishing tomorrow, would that be a major, crippling blow to how radio stations get their news?

JK: Absolutely. They have so many reporters. A lot of our leads for radio come from newspaper. The thing is, too, people will always default to picking up the phone and calling the newspaper, or picking up the phone and calling CBC before they ever think to call their local radio station. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality.

BB: Is that why, at K-Rock, they always say, "We want your news tips?" That was serious?

JK: Yes. We really wanted people to call. There were so many times where you’d see a story in the paper or on CBC and think, "Why wouldn’t that person call us? We can cover it better." If something is happening in Waterville, don’t let your story die because it didn’t make it into The Chronicle Herald. Call the people who are actually going to deliver your message to your community. A lot of people don’t realize that local radio is still there wanting your stories.

Even here at MBS, we still want local news, for all of our markets. This afternoon, I was trying to source local news for Miramichi, Campbellton and Sussex, New Brunswick. It’s really challenging when nobody’s giving you anything. I can’t be out there on the street, so I need somebody to say, "Hey, this is happening.", so that I can call someone and find out.

When I was at K-Rock, a lot of people assumed that I was a psychic, that I knew everything that was happening everywhere. "Well, why didn’t you cover this?"

"Well, why didn’t you call me?" I couldn’t have known this was happening unless somebody told me. I’m only privy to so much information!

BB: Is there an example of a story that you covered at K-Rock or MBS that the Herald didn’t bother with, but was still newsworthy?

JK: Oh, absolutely. There are so many stories, actually. The majority of what comes out of Council is things that a provincial news source doesn’t care about. But, someone local really does. At the same time, we’ve had people who said, "I called CTV, and they weren’t interested in my story. So, I didn’t think it was a good story." But, that’s not the case at all because CTV doesn’t necessarily have time to fit in your story that only affects 200 people in amongst their stories that affect 200 000 people. And, we do. Even if it is only 30 seconds, you still get your story read. Local stories are so valuable to radio. I don’t think a lot of people realize that.

BB: That’s good to hear, from a young person. I really appreciate that.



Wrap Up

BB: Julia Kirkey, thank you very much for the last almost 2 hours of your life. It’s been a delight seeing you again. Thank you very much for coming out and talking to me tonight.

JK: Thank you for wanting to talk to me.

BB: All my very best to you. I hope that you remain in radio.

JK: Well, if I get a job, maybe I will. I’ll start using your blog as my resume. "See? Aren’t I interesting?"



Come back here on Thursday the 18th of July for part two of the Julia Kirkey interview!