10 Questions with ... Kim Carson
August 21, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I grew up listening to great radio in Detroit. My favorite station at the time was WDRQ! I attended summer school for two years so I could skip ahead a grade, graduate a year early, and move down to Knoxville. That was where my mentor, Ron Baptist, put me on the air and taught me lots of valuable things I needed to know about radio. My career has taken me back to Detroit, where I had the good fortune of working at WDRQ, the station I grew up listening to.
I've also worked in Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Greensboro and Toledo. Having worked for some really great program directors like Mike Wheeler, Bill Bailey, Nick Allen and a plethora of others is really just an added bonus! Recently I published my book, "Essence of Life," and I just released "Conversations With Kim," my first and second line of greeting cards. I currently co-host on a local female-oriented talk show, "Take Five and Company" on ABC and do a regular feature segment on the Early Morning Weekend News, also on ABC. But ... my love is still radio and the mystique of it all.
1) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
I think it's a really good idea to step away from the business for a while, whether it's purposefully or not. You get the perspective of the listener a bit more. Like that driving vacation I took recently; I have a new car and it came with XM for three months. Lots of channels that are micro-focused on specific artists and formats ... granted, not everyone has XM but most of us have an iPod. Why is radio continuously promoting and offering up "30 minutes of continuous, uninterrupted favorites?" If I want to hear 30 minutes of real uninterrupted favorites, I'll listen to 30 minutes that I downloaded on my iPod. Those truly are my favorites. Same with XM, a channel there is a closer match for what I am looking for because it is micro-programmed to a specific sound and format. I don't think some programmers actually think any more, they do much of the same. But listeners are looking for different things from radio in 2012 than they did three to five years ago.
2) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Yes! I LOVE radio. It is a medium that, when done right, is unmatched by any other. Someone talking to you through the speakers in your car, your home, your office, sight unseen, it doesn't get any better than that! There is an intimacy that radio has, that is unmatched. It is one of the last places imagination can be ignited. Yes, yes radio may not be done in the traditional way, because lots of companies are killing it right now. But the art form itself, it WILL survive. As we become more and more global, and the world a bigger more disconnected place, that desire for a connection will grow. Radio personalities have always filled that weird void, and now more than ever, they still will.
3) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
Thirty days. One piece of advice: It's not always the wisest thing to jump on the first opportunity that presents itself. I have been guilty of that in my past a couple times. I understand the fear factor, but if you do have the means and the opportunity to wait until you know something is right, that's probably the better way to go. Sometimes great ideas and opportunities come in those desert times, when you jump too quickly you miss the chance to possibly reinvent yourself.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Wow, the next job I would like to obtain is with a forward-thinking radio company. I stress "radio company" because much of radio isn't owned and operated anymore by people who love or even get radio. When I worked for Mike Wheeler, he got it. I did a Love Songs show for him on an AC-formatted station and we looked at it as more than that: I did the show, I was involved in the community, I wrote a book that Clear Channel and Mike encouraged me to promote on the air, I was connected to the listener directly and indirectly, and I was #1 for three years straight with a local, night time show, on an AC station. The next job I would like to obtain is with a company who understands the value of someone who does radio, TV, Internet/social media, blogger, author ... I write for a local magazine. Someone I spoke with recently said, "Kim, you're a brand!" I never thought of that before because I am just doing all the things I love to do! I'd like a job where my time could be structured in just that way. :)
5) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I think you just do what you do ... and if you continue to do it and if you do it well, you will be noticed. If not, well, sometimes you just have get creative and make your own way. For me it has always been about relationships. I don't just say the words; I live it. You will learn pretty quickly if you live it or you just say the words. Relationships are not all about what can you do for me; they are also about what can I do for you. It's a mutual thing.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
No, because there are so many other mediums vying for our time, my time. That's why radio has to be more than a music machine. A great jock is magic! It can't be taught, the technical's can be taught, but either you have that little extra sparkle or you don't. The only reason someone is going to listen to a radio station when they can listen to an iPod, CDs, watch music videos, listen to downloads, be entertained on TV, play on Facebook and the Internet, is the personality keeping them company, because they can get the music anywhere. It doesn't matter what you look like. All that matters is what you say and how you sound and come across. I love that! So you have to be better to listen to than all those other things. You may not get all of their time anymore, but the objective is to get more of it.
7) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your family and friends that you probably did not have time to do while you were working?
Yes, I call it decompressing. You have to get rid of the old and make room for the new. I don't dwell much in the past, what's over is over, I really don't give it space in my brain. It's best to be a forward thinking person. An old boyfriend once told me, "God made our feet pointing forward for a reason, if we were meant to go backward they would be pointing in the opposite direction." (Good word for the evolutionists out there, too. :)
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
There are two of them. One is serious and one is fun. 1) A number of years ago I was voted in the Top 10 Female Program Directors in the Country in R&R (however, I do not want to program). 2) I won the celebrity Grand Prix in Detroit; Bod Bondurant gave me the trophy and told me he thought I could do it for a living if I was interested (I was not).
9) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
I miss my connection with my listeners, but thank God for Facebook, because they post and e-mail daily. What do I miss least? Meetings. Ron, one of my old bosses, used to say, "Meetings are fine but eventually someone does actually have to do the work, not just keep talking about it." I love that...
10) Where do you see yourself in three years? Ten years?
I am excited about the future. Technology is changing so rapidly, so I see me still being a part of this business in some form. I guess, ideally, I would like to be doing a couple different radio shows. I hope I will have written another book or two, created some more greeting cards and other products that utilize my gifts or talents, do some more TV, like maybe an interview talk show or video, and inspirational speaking. Gosh, there's a lot I want to be doing! Again, forward thinking is where my head is at! I would love to work for/partner with someone who gets me and can add some constructive direction.
Care to contribute a low-cost recipe to our "ON THE BEACH" cookbook?
Kim Carson's Easy, Fast and Cheap Chicken Soup
Get a cooked rotisserie chicken for 5 bucks.
Peel off all the meat, and put the chicken carcass in a pot, cover with water, salt and pepper to your liking and throw in some bay leafs, if you have them.
Bring water to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
Strain and save the chicken broth, toss the carcass.
Put the chicken broth back in the pot, add some chopped carrots, celery, and onion, about a cup of each to the pot and simmer again till the veggies are just about how you like them.
Then add egg noodles to the pot with the veggies and cook the noodles accordingly, 8-12 minutes or so (if water seems low at any point when you are cooking, add some more hot tap water).
Just before taking pot off burner, add your ripped up pieces of chicken and you have lots of meals in that pot of soup all for $10. I make chicken soup and freeze the portions in little plastic Glad serving cups. I do it with pea soup, chili, bean soups etc. Speaking of chicken soup I have some on the stove right now ... gotta go!.