10 Questions with ... Randy Carroll
June 14, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
During his 32 years with KAJA/San Antonio, which nearly equals the station's tenure as a Country outlet, Randy Carroll has been a mainstay in mornings for San Antonio Country radio listeners. Carroll also doubled as KAJA PD for many years and is already a member of the San Antonio Radio Hall of Fame. During his time at KAJA, Carroll has received multiple nominations for industry honors from the ACM and CMA, winning the CMA Large Market Personality trophy in 2012 with his on-air partner, Jamie Martin. Carroll will be inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame on Wednesday, June 24th at Nashville's Omni Hotel.
1. Thanks for taking the time for 10 Questions. Let's begin by asking what induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame means to you and what you think it says about your radio career.
It's a big deal! When I look at the people who are already in the Hall I am extremely humbled to be there.
2. OK, so exactly where you, and what were you doing when you got the news?
I was putting gas in the truck when I got the call from [CRS Executive Director] Bill Mayne. Yes, I was on the phone at the gas pump. No, the phone didn't start a fire.
3. What station or personality did you listen to most growing up and how did either - or both -influence you in pursuing a radio career.
I listened to KBUC-FM in San Antonio when I was in High School in the mid to late 70's. Ricci Ware and Gene Kelly were the jocks I remember most. I really didn't think about doing radio at the time but I loved country music and so I listened.
4. Tells us about your first radio job - and your first-ever live break on the air. Certainly, you remember both, right?
My first job in radio was at KBOP in the small town of Pleasanton just south of San Antonio. I started as an assistant to the Sales Manager when I was in high school. One day the Program Director asked me to record a spot and I did and a few months after that he put me on the air. I can't recall my first on air break but I am sure it was terrible!
5. Mentors - everybody has a few of them. Who was it for you that helped you, challenged you and made you believe you could actually make this a career?
Travis Hall was the PD of the station I worked at in high school and I have to credit him with seeing something in me. My first PD at KAJA (John Merriam), consultants Ted Stecker and Doris Thompson, Ed and Pam Shane (Shane Media) and others I have probably missed. Bob Cohen is probably the person who challenged me the most. Bob was my GM at KAJA for many years while I was Program Director. Bob's encouragement and work ethic were a great inspiration to me.
6. You're part of a rare breed anymore - the personality that has stayed in one market for a long time - the majority of your career. I know you grew up in the San Antonio area, if I'm not mistaken, but was there a deliberate decision to "Marry the market" as they say - or did it happen organically.
At a certain point you have so much equity in a market that it becomes a huge decision to leave. I think by the time I thought I could go elsewhere I had reached that point. It just happened organically.
7. And, about your market - San Antonio. I've heard Texans say Austin and San Antonio are the best cities in the Lone Star State. What makes the Alamo city so magical?
San Antonio has a great blend of cultures and is rich in history. Combine that with the strong military presence with multiple bases and you have a vibrant city that is never boring.
8. You've also served as PD for KAJA a couple times over the years. Did you enjoy that role? How would you describe yourself as a PD - and has that role helped you work better with PDs who have come through KAJA over the years?
I did enjoy the challenge of being PD. Not sure I was very good at it but I was surrounded by great people who helped to make it a successful time in my career. It's made it easier for me to understand the pressures that my PD's are under and hopefully support them better.
9. The job of on-air personality has evolved, what with PPM and Social Media becoming bigger factors. How do you exert your personality in shorter bursts - and how has social media changed the way your show and its brand are presented?
It hasn't been hard because that's what I was always taught to do. Get to the point and move on. Social media is just another platform to connect with your audience. It's a great tool to share your life outside the studio and hopefully build an even stronger emotional bond with your audience. It makes it much easier to define who you are and any other characters on a show.
10. There's industry-wide concern about the thin on-air talent pool and its lack of development. How will we get younger talent ready for prime time, and where will we find younger creative types, in a time where radio isn't seen as cool as it once was? In short, where is the next Randy Carroll coming from?
Wish I had the answer. I'm always telling kids who are interested in what I do to get a foot in the door any way they can. Most start on the promo crew and work their way up. The pool of talent won't be as big so we have to look for those young people who are willing to work hard find creative ways to allow them to develop. My youngest daughter, Hailey, is interested in being an on air talent. I've had her come in and sub for my partner and she takes to it well. Maybe the next "Randy Carroll" will be "Hailey Carroll!"