10 Questions with ... Larry Trask
June 8, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started at KHUM in early 2003 in the Traffic Department, got a weekend air shift a year later, and subsequently got the afternoon slot, which I've had for more than 10 years.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Some of my earliest memories are of falling asleep listening to AM radio in St. Paul, MN, in the late 1960s. I caught the bug then and never lost it.
2. How did you get your gig at KHUM?
I got lucky. I moved to Humboldt County from the SF Bay Area and couldn't get a job. After 11 months, I was out of money and didn't know what I was going to do. I heard KHUM advertising a front-office position, applied for it, and got it. During my interview, management stressed that this was an office position, NOT an on-air job, and never would be. I guess I got the last laugh.
3. Tell us what it's like to work at what is basically a free-from station.
It's an enormous privilege to work at one of the last truly free-form radio stations. It is incredibly fun to have the freedom to put together sets comprised of music from a wide range of genres. I have to admit that I sometimes think, "Please just tell me what to play. I've played every song I know. Twice!" But mostly it's great to be able to create the kind of radio I've always wanted to listen to.
4. How do you and other DJs strive for some continuity from show to show?
That's a bit of a challenge. Of course, we want our individual shows to be unique, but we also don't want the radio station to sound like an iPod on shuffle. We review each other's playlists and talk to each other about new records we love. We meet weekly to review the songs we've added to the station's playback system.
5. Your goal for each show?
When I first started, my goal was to make it through a show without throwing up. Now that I'm more experienced, I try to put together a show with highly localized content that, musically, sounds like no other radio station.
6. Do have any favorite musical genres you gravitate towards?
I particularly enjoy artists that include jazz influences, such as Thievery Corp., Quantic and Nicola Conte. I also have a big soft spot for highly melodic pop, like Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian.
7. What events and/or organizations are you involved with in the community?
The combination of long work hours and a homebody personality type limits my involvement in community organizations. However, we do a lot of remotes that keep me out and about in the community and involved with musical and other community events, food and clothing drives, etc.
8. What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
Before my first show, Cliff Berkowitz, the station's founder, told me to pretend I'm talking to my mother. That was excellent advice because it helped me not only to relax and use my own voice, but also to make the listener feel that the show is especially and only for them.
9. What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I'd almost certainly be making a lot more money! (But having a lot less fun.) Prior to radio, I'd worked in the legal profession and I imagined I'd be doing that for the rest of my life.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... A little help from my friends.
Last Non-Industry Job:
Center For Law & Technology, UC Berkeley Law School.
First Record Ever Purchased:
Mr. Jaws, by Dickie Goodman (I was a kid, stop judging).
Ted Nugent, Mahogany Rush, Blackfoot and Cheap Trick (Orange Bowl, Orlando, FL, 1979).
Favorite Band Of All-Time:
Boring, I know, but if you make me pick only one, I'm picking Led Zeppelin.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Not sure what you mean by "free time." I work in radio.