A Little About Me
You may have been wondering who runs theradionerd.com and all the social media pages involved (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) I've been torn between keeping my identity a secret and telling you who I am. I've had followers try and guess, the funny thing is they always guess that I'm a man. Surprise! The Radio Nerd is actually a woman.
My name is Emily Carter, but I went by Kat Carter while I was working in radio. I grew up in Toronto, Ontario and fell in love with radio at a young age. The radio was always on in my house growing up, it felt like a comfort, a joy, a familiar place to turn to when I had nobody else. Having insomnia made me love radio even more. I would grab my dads yellow Sony walkman and spend my nights listening to Toronto radio, dreaming about the day I could bring comfort to others who couldn't sleep at night. My favourite stations growing up were CHUM, CBC, Z103, KISS and Mix 99. As I got older, I would spend my evenings driving around by myself listening to the radio in my Impala. Again, this was a huge comfort to me. It felt like I had a friend as I would try to escape my home life.
While in high school at Martingrove Collegiate in Toronto, my grade ten English teacher, Ms. Huggins would always choose me to read aloud to the class. Confused about why I had been chosen so often, I finally asked "Miss? Why are you ALWAYS picking me to read in front of the class?" She said "You can actually read aloud, you sound GOOD! You should join the announcements club!" I was hesitant at first, I thought I would be considered a 'nerd,' a title I didn't want at 14. She kept pushing me to give it a try and finally I went for it. I joined the announcements club at my high school and LOVED it! Each morning I would play music, the national anthem and read that days announcements. I ended up being the President of the club and loved it so much that I would show up each morning ready to do the announcements bright and early at 8:30am even though I had 2 spares and classes for me didn't start till 12:30pm. That's how dedicated I was. My future career path was obvious for me, I HAD to be in radio, no matter what. I had a ton of doubters, people who would laugh at me and tell me there was NO WAY I was going to be on the radio. The hate fueled me. I wasn't going to give up on my dreams and goals because a handful of jealous people told me I "couldn't do it"
Right after high school, I enrolled in the Radio Broadcasting program at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, just a few hours east of Toronto. I loved the program, excelled in it and graduated with many honors and scholarships. I still speak to most of my professors, even though I graduated in 2009.
Right out of school, I started my first radio job at Quinte Broadcasting (Mix 97, CJBQ & Rock 107) in Belleville, Ontario. I wanted to start in a small market so I could learn as much as I could about radio, make my mistakes in a small environment and slowly work my way up. I did pretty much every job at that station; promo, copy, prod, on air, music and even working the front desk. I ended up doing the mid-day shift on Mix 97 as well as being the music director for all three stations. I was in my early 20s programming classic rock, country and pop music.
By 2012, I was ready to move onto a new market. I felt it was my time, I needed to grow and gain my experience. I had no idea that I would be heading to Vancouver, BC next! I applied for a job at Virgin Radio 953 Vancouver to be their assistant music director and weekend announcer. I figured there was NO WAY I would even be considered for the position since I was coming from such a small market, but applied anyways. There's no harm in applying, it's a good way to get exposure with PD's. The worst they can say is "no." I had numerous Skype and phone interviews with Virgin Vancouver and one day I got the call, I had gotten the job! A week later, I was off to Vancouver, I was only 22, by myself. It was terrifying heading to a major market after being in a market with only 50,000 people. A completely new part of the country where I knew not a single soul. Being scared helps you adapt quicker, it helps you push yourself to places you never thought were possible. Fear can be a great thing, it helps you grow. Don't be afraid to take a chance.
While working in Vancouver, I also gained experience doing voice work. I became the voice of SHORE 104 Vancouver, they said they needed a voice that sounded "depressed and monotone" I also gained experience programming the SHORE which was an alternative station. At a certain point we flipped to Z953 and I gained experience in flipping a station, which is hard work. I ended up as the mid-day host and music director for Z953. Making the move to Vancouver was the best thing I could have done, I gained tons of experience in radio and got to live in a gorgeous part of the country. I made tons of awesome radio friends and met my fiance. I always wonder what my life would have been like if I had been too scared to move across the country.
By 2016, I was ready to make another move. I was ready for bigger things! Off to my hometown of Toronto again. This time I had gotten a job at CHUM, the station I had dreamed of working at since I was young. I accepted the position of assistant music director/on air and got to work alongside radio legends like Roger and Marilyn on CHUM. I worked there till 2018 when my health took over and I could not work anymore. Since I was a teen, I had suffered with depression, anxiety and PTSD and it finally started to consume me, it completely took over and I psychically could not work at all anymore. All these years I was not looking after my health and was constantly overworking myself to the point where my body shut down on me. I couldn't get out of bed, had days where I couldn't speak or eat. My sleep was so bad I was only getting a few hours of sleep a day. I could not function. All motivation was lost, and I realized that my health needed to be my number one priority and not my job. I made the decision to leave CHUM in late 2018 so I could focus on myself and my health.
When I started getting back on my feet, my motivation and love for radio came back as well. I wanted to do something radio related without being in the industry. I knew if I got back into it, I would put my job ahead of my health again and I could not do that again.
This is why I started theradionerd.com, I wanted a way to be connected to radio, share my love of it and work for myself. I gotta say, working for myself has been the best thing for me. Since I'm so motivated and passionate about this industry, it's been an easy transition for me. I'm the only person running the site/social pages. I can work on my own schedule and I don't have to answer to anyone.
As I write this, I'm sitting in my new place in beautiful Barbados. My fiance and I moved here in August 2019 as we both have roots to Barbados and the Caribbean.
Please do not be afraid to follow your dreams and DO NOT let anyone tell you that you 'can't do something' that's not true. If you've got the passion and drive for something, you can do it! My life would suck if I had listened to the doubters/haters in my life. Do what makes you happy in life.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your support of The Radio Nerd! - Kat (a proud radio nerd)