10 Questions with ... Carol Hughes
May 20, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I've been working in Wichita radio for 21 years now (of course I started when I was ten). I spent eight years at T95 doing everything from receptionist to promotions; did mornings at Q106.5 with Pat James and enjoyed every morning of it and then was offered a job at KFDI in December, 1999 - a job I immediately declined thinking I wasn't good enough. Finally changed my mind and I'm currently celebrating my 12th year on the air at KFDI doing Middays along with wearing Music Director and APD hats.
1) You've been at KFDI for a little bit now- what made you want to get into radio?
I loved copywriting and planning events - then I realized that if you worked in radio you could do both! I never for a minute wanted to be on the radio, I just kind of fell into that after I started in radio. I was actually a senior in college when I realized that if I had a degree in radio I could pursue my dream job of copywriting AND promotions! I went back to school, got a second degree and am probably one of the most over-educated people in radio today. (Especially since I started as the receptionist.)
2) What's your favorite part of being on-air?
Definitely the music. Doing a midday shift means I play a lot of music - and as the music director I get to program the music which is something I really enjoy. I love listening to new artists and my favorite part of the day is my "Test Tune" when I play a new song and my listeners tell me what they think about it. The listeners are very interesting because you never know what you're going to hear when you pick up the phone. They really feel a strong connection to KFDI so I've been invited to weddings, funerals. I've calmed kids down during storms and helped people work through heartbreaks, pretty much anything you can think of, I've had a call from a listener about it. Sometimes I feel like a very unqualified psychiatrist.
3) What's one of your funniest/ craziest stories regarding a listener?
I was working out our sister station, T-95 (a rock station), we had a guy who really liked me and all the jocks called him "Chad The Stalker" thinking it was funny. Chad even referred to himself as Chad The Stalker! I found it creepy. At a remote one night, he came running over to me screaming my name, when he got to me, he immediately turned around, dropped his pants and had a sharpie in his hand yelling "Sign my a*&! Sign my a*&! I want to tattoo your name on my a*&!" I told him to pull up his pants. And no, he doesn't have my name tattooed anywhere on him.
4) Who has influenced/ mentored you the most in the business?
Without a doubt, Beverlee Brannigan. She has taught me so much about programming, about being a better jock, about problem solving. I could go on and on about how much it has meant for me to work with her. She's encouraging, she's honest and she sets a high standard for employees and I appreciate that. And she is entirely too young to be in the Country Radio Hall of Fame. I'm very proud of her accomplishments and I am honored to work with and learn someone like her.
5) What artist has made the biggest impact on you? Whether it was a favorite interview or a conversation you had with them.
That's a tough question - I have talked to so many artists throughout the years from on the air to over a beer. So I don't know if it's possible to pick just one. I do have a big love for animals and I have had lots of conversations with Miranda Lambert about rescuing animals. I think she's an amazing artist but any person who will stop and rescue an animal from the side of the road is a class act in my book. In fact, I recently saw her at a concert and the first thing she said was "I rescued another dog!"
6) Have you always listened to Country? What else do you listen to?
When I was growing up my parents listened to Country music and my Dad's favorite was Merle Haggard - so of course, I'm a huge Merle fan too. I listened to all kinds of music in my life from Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd to David Sanborn, Nat King Cole and Todd Rundgren. So my taste has always been kind of all over the place, but I truly love Country music. I listen to it ALL the time.
7) You are a HUGE dog lover. Tell me about all the charity work you do for homeless pets.
I very strongly feel that people need to advocate for animals since they can't speak for themselves. I think the way you treat an animal says a lot about you as a person, so I have no tolerance for abuse of any kind. I have worked with shelters in the Wichita area for years to create awareness for adopting shelter pets as well as spaying and neutering your pets AND not buy puppy mill pets. (I wish the world only had responsible breeders!) I've organized lots of fundraiser for different shelters, anything to help one more pet find a home!
8) You also write plays- how did you get started in that? Do you have any shows coming up?
I used to be a cocktail waitress at a melodrama dinner/theater and I had a funny idea for a play. I attempted to write it and went absolutely no where with it. A few years later a good friend of mine opened another theater and I asked her if I wrote a play would she read it - well she actually liked it and produced it! I've written 17 shows for them now so if anyone wants to produce one of my shows I'd be happy to send you some scripts! I actually have a show running now - "Eastside/Westside Story". Wichita is definitely an Eastside or Westside type of town, and this show just kind of makes fun of that. When you sit in a studio by yourself for 25-30 hours a week it's so fun to actually hear people laugh and react to what you do!
9) Who are some of the newer artists in Country that you are excited about?
I have a few I'm really excited about: Eric Paslay, Jon Pardi, Edens Edge, Dustin Lynch, I would like to hear more from Thomas Rhett too. I haven't met him yet and I'm intrigued by his single.
10) If you were to leave Wichita, where would you like to go?
Chicago. GO CUBS GO!
1) Who is your favorite person at All Access? I promise, I won't tell.
Damn. That Dustin Hensley is one fine looking man - and gets more entertaining the more beer that is consumed.
2) What is your favorite song in the whole world?
OK, that is the hardest question ever and it's impossible to answer. But for sentimental reasons I will say "That's The Way Love Goes" by Merle Haggard.
3) What's the most embarrassing thing you've had happen on air?
I had to record weather for a station that was pretty much syndicated all the time. I normally recorded a studio that was never live, and that particular day no one bothered to tell me that the mic was hot and the station was actually live. I got interrupted twice and the third time I was interrupted I said a word that I would never say in polite company - just as I heard the guy who interrupted me say "THAT MIC IS HOT!" Let's just say I know a girl who doesn't swear in any studio anymore.