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How Two-Station Host Bill Carroll Got His Start

10-11-2013

Im ordinarily not a jealous person, but I find myself envious of my friend and colleague Eric Weiss who has the distinct honor of representing Bill Carroll. Bill has the unique task of working both in Los Angeles at KFI in middays, and in afternoons at 640 Talk Radio in Toronto. Its not a matter of how does he do it, its more about, How can you afford to miss Bills show? A loving husband and father, a man of ethics and morals, a guy who you would be lucky to have as a friend, and above all, a guy who gives great radio to his listeners.

Now, in his own words, is how this "Man of Two Stations" got into radio

Like most broadcasters featured in this space in the past, I stumbled into radio. Unlike most, I stumbled into it at age 14. Since that first week at a Toronto high school, I was focused on one day making a living doing what I knew I loved. Yes, I was laser focused on achieving a radio career since ninth grade.

My fascination with radio goes back even further. I still remember, vividly, staring into the acoustic grill of my parents vacuum tube radio in the small town where I was born near Glasgow, Scotland. I would spend hours tuning the dial and hearing the voices and languages coming in from far off lands like France and Germany. The lights from the tubes seemed like the skylines of those exotic places. I also loved the music that turned our damp little public housing living room into a concert hall. Music and voices from all over the world were right there in that little box. It was awesome.

Years later in Canada, I was this incredibly shy kid at a brand new school in a brand new country. Terrified to be left alone in the halls for my first high school lunch break, I latched onto a guy Id just met. Jamie Anderson. Jamie had heard on the morning announcement from the principals office that the school radio club was looking for new members. There was no chance I was going to talk into that microphone in the schools brand new TV and radio studio. I would, however, be glad to mix the music.

Show number one and Jamie wasnt so sure. I told him it was easy. Here in the basement where no one can see you, you can be anyone you want. I marched into the sound booth and showed him. Ive wanted to be in that little room alone with a mic ever since.

A few years later, I was finished with school and sending out audition tapes to every small town in the country. I had some help with my search. My television production teacher was a part-time newscaster at a legendary Toronto AM station. That stations morning anchor was running a small talent agency. A meeting was arranged.
I went to his office overlooking the city skyline and toured a real station for the first time. If I had any doubts about deciding to skip college and heading straight into radio, they were quickly destroyed. My wise father had insisted I get a real job while waiting for this radio miracle to arrive, so I started work at the local building store and waited every day for the phone to ring.

Months passed. There was a long train ride to an interview for a late-night DJ opening in some forsaken town whose name you wouldnt know. They liked me but wanted someone with a diploma. I went back to the building store and waited by the phone again. It did ring one more time.

A little town of five thousand people in Northern Canada had an opening for a morning news anchor. Of course I can write I lied and took the job. A week later, I was in a cheap motel room reading a broadcast journalism textbook and waiting for my first professional news shift the next morning.

A few hundred easy steps and thousands of hours of airtime later and you can stumble into mid-days at KFI in Los Angeles; and only a few decades too late to be heard by a little boy staring into the lights of a vacuum tube radio.

Reach out to Bill at bill@billcarroll.ca

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.
So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.




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