What happened to Kid Carson? The popular DJ explains why he left The Beat and the future of The Kid Carson Show on SONiC
Van Halen front man David Lee Roth jokingly paraphrased the fleeting nature of fame as being an example of “here today, gone later today,” which is equally applicable when it comes to Vancouver’s tumultuous radio market.
With radio experiencing a near-constant barrage of format flips and name changes, local listeners on April 25 may have assumed that broadcasting’s revolving door had claimed its latest victim when Kid Carson was noticeably absent from his usual perch as host of Vancouver’s No. 1 morning show on The Beat (94.5 FM).
Having been a fixture in the pivotal morning-drive slot at The Beat for seven years, and a Vancouver radio staple since he arrived in town back in 2004, Carson’s sudden absence — and the station’s refusal even to acknowledge it — caused a lot of listeners to wonder what was going on. In fact, by the very next day, The Kid Carson Show had been restructured, recast and renamed, with Beat regulars Holly Conway and Jonny Staub moving from their respective timeslots to join Carson’s former co-hosts Nira Arora and Amy Beeman in the hastily rebranded Beat Mornings With Holly, Jonny, Nira and Amy.
Carson, however, was nowhere to be found on local airwaves. His name went unmentioned, all sign of him abruptly vanished from The Beat’s website and even his Twitter feed went silent, his photo replaced by a bug-eyed extraterrestrial and the caption, “We’ll return Kid Carson . . . eventually.”
For all intents and purposes, Carson had disappeared.
Within broadcast circles, whispers immediately began to circulate as to the whereabouts of the popular radio personality. No one would officially be the wiser about the puzzling situation for months, while Carson himself remained eerily quiet all along, bound contractually to maintain his silence on the matter, and offering only occasional cryptic messages to his myriad followers through social media. Until now.
With a new radio home on SONiC (104.9 FM), The Kid Carson Show will hit the air at 6 a.m. on September 4. In an extensive interview, we sat down with the 33-year-old Toronto-born deejay, who candidly answered an assortment of Vancouver radio listeners’ most frequently asked questions, accumulated over the past few months.
Kid Carson Leaves The Beat
Q: Take us back to the morning of April 24 when you vanished from the airwaves of The Beat after finishing your radio show. In essence, you were literally and figuratively there one day and gone the next, prompting many to think that you got fired. What exactly happened?
A: I resigned from The Beat but continued to host the morning show while they found my replacement. Then one afternoon, two weeks after I resigned, my cellphone rang and I was told that my last show had been that morning of Tuesday, April 24. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye on-air, and that’s cool because it’s not goodbye, I’m just sliding down the dial a little.
Q: Was this the culmination of an ongoing situation that had been brewing for awhile, or did it just happen?
A: I had wanted to change some aspects of the show, kind of give it a reboot. After seven years, I was hoping for some change to fire me up again. When my boss didn’t agree, it became clear that the station was no longer a place where I could lean beyond my edge and grow. Sometimes we all have to take a risk to avoid being happily stagnant in the comfort zone.
Q: Being part of a morning-show team, were your co-hosts Nira Arora and Amy Beeman in on what was about to transpire? And how did people react to the news of your departure?
A: There may have been some ruffled feathers at first, but that’s because change can be scary. The truth is, change almost always leads to awesome new storylines in your life. All of the deejays at The Beat got promotions when I quit — you certainly can’t hate on that!
Q: Did you leave The Beat on good terms with staff and management? How is your relationship with Nira and Amy today?
A: The Beat’s general manager is James Stuart. He’s the kind of guy who makes you want to be a better man. I didn’t grow up with a dad, so I’m grateful to find male role models that inspire me as a guy. When I wanted to leave, James made a potentially awkward situation much easier for me. I’ll always be friends with Nira and Amy. We’ll have dinner and laugh for hours. We have some great memories together!
Q: So you leave The Beat and completely vanish without so much as a single word to your fans. Why have you been so silent for so long?
A: Don’t you read Facebook? I was abducted by aliens for awhile. I broke a few probes so they dropped me off in Eastern Europe where the wi-fi is sketchy.
Q: What kind of feedback have you received from listeners who recognize you on the street?
A: I’ve learned that people will scream at you from their car windows — if you give them a reason to. Apparently disappearing from the radio is a good reason. Ha!
The Return to Radio on SONiC 104.9
Q: So, as of September 4, you’re the new morning-show host at SONiC. How did that opportunity come along? Did you seek them out or did they come looking for you?
A: I’m a science nerd . . . I love reading about the laws of the universe. The frontier sciences have discovered some astonishing things, one of them being that thoughts of intention have an effect on physical things. It’s something I’ve been very keen on. I remind myself that every thought I have has a tangible energy. I try to be mindful in that way. The better I get, the more I seem to sculpt my reality. So, here’s how it went down: I set my internal desire to work at SONiC and a few days later, my agent bumped into the president of Rogers radio at the airport in L.A., and the rest is history. This kind of stuff happens to me every day. I have ‘power of intention’ engraved on the back of my iPad.
Q: What exactly can listeners expect from The Kid Carson Show on SONiC?
A: Kid Carson in a waaay better mood.
Q: Will you be flying solo as a host or are you partnering with others?
A: Randi [Chase, formerly of KiSS 92.5] and Chelsea [Hobbis, formerly of CKNW] will be joining me as of September 4. It’s sort of a three-way arranged marriage. Randi will be my new co-host, while Chelsea will be the show producer. In three months, you won’t imagine a time when you didn’t know these girls. Listeners of the show will also be happy to know that much-loved “Andrew the Intern” [a.k.a. Andrew Sosa] will be following me to the new show on SONiC as well.
Q: The Beat is at the top of the Vancouver radio ratings, while SONiC is down near the bottom. As a broadcaster whose career can live or die by the ratings, isn’t that cause for concern?
A: We’ve all been the underdog at one time and I think we can agree that it’s by far the most exciting place to be. I used to do the nighttime show at a top-rated radio station where management constantly mocked our competition, who at the time was sitting at the bottom of the ratings. The ignorance really bugged me back then. Well, those scenarios still exist years later. At this point, sure, SONiC is clearly not the No. 1 radio station in Vancouver, but you know what? I’m going to do everything I can to make it so and take it to the top.
Q: But unlike The Beat, which has been a steady and dominant force in the ratings, the 104.9 frequency has languished and undergone radical format and personnel changes over the past few years, from Xfm to Clear FM to Fun FM and now SONiC. Are you at all worried that this current incarnation could be short-lived as well?
A: Yeah, that would suck [laughs]!
Q: SONiC caters to a relatively young audience segment by comparison. How will you adapt the overall content and material that you present on the show?
A: I’m bringing my own audience: Men, women, all ages, all sexual orientations, all races. What we share is a curiosity about the world we live in and how we can be happier in it. Basically, everyone who liked listening to me on 94.5 can just switch to 104.9. A big factor in moving my show was SONiC’s commercial-free Mondays. For obvious reasons, it’s a great way to start the week.
Q: Being a self-described “science nerd,” what is your overall philosophy on life in general?
A: I think I hit a point in my life where I realized that all the stuff that our culture tells us we need to be happy . . . is a bunch of BS. We’re raised to be insecure so that we’ll buy stuff to feel better. It’s crazy. I think we all tap into one massive consciousness as we float through the cosmos. Computers have measured energy spikes in our global ‘mood’ during events like Obama’s history-making victory speech — how crazy is that? There is definitely a measurable energy being shared between us. I find it empowering to know that our thoughts are actual things that affect other things . . . in a giant cloud of stuff.