FM Jock to AM Talk Show Host


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By Drex

August 17th, 2014

Around christmas time last year I got a short e-mail from Ian Koenigsfest, the Program Director of CKNW, or as Corus calls them “Brand Managers”. The e-mail asked me how I’d feel about filling in for Mike Eckford while he went away to wash his hair or whatever Eckford does with his piles of money. I instantly had a smile on my face. It had worked!

After months of pestering Ian and his predecessor Tom Plasteras to get on air at CKNW. It had finally come full circle. I had started worming my way in over there by offering my services to comment  on all things entertainment and pop culture.

So, for the two weeks around the christmas break I got to host full talk shows for nine nights on CKNW.  Show number one was horrendous. It was like watching a grown man get kicked in the balls by a horse in slow motion. I hadn’t done anything like this in a long time, so it took a while for me to find my legs ( it was hard to get up after the horse kicked me) But what I did do is just be myself, a 35 year old sarcastic rule hating smart ass.

My opinion of talk hosts as it currently stands has never been a secret, they tend to all be rich white guys talking about rich white guy issues with other rich white guys along with a lot of content that doesn’t even relate to me.

What we’re seeing right now is a generational shift to younger hosts with different ideas about content and the way it engages audiences, and the way it’s delivered. It happened back in the 80′s, and it’s happening again now. I have the utmost respect for these guys and always will… Especially the way high paying radio gigs turn them into ravenous Bon Vivants. But, change is as good. Change is healthy. Change in radio is always inevitable, One day I’ll be expected to piss off into the sunset as well… Mexico baby! White sandy beaches & blue drinks!

There will always be naysayers who will tell you that putting on younger hosts isn’t the way to re-birth talk radio, because young people don’t listen to talk radio anymore, well I’m telling you that’s complete Horse shit. They may not necessarily listen to AM radio, so our job is now to get them to consume it in different ways, online, in bite size pieces, and even more interactive than ever before.

Back in 1995 I got my first paying radio job doing national overnights at the ABC’s youth station Triple J from their Sydney studios. I was in grade 11 still and learning a lot everyday. One thing I did most days was listen to the late Stan Zemanek on 2UE Evenings, then Tony Delroy on 702 ABC late nights. Both of these guys where polar opposites when it came to talk radio, but I adored both of them. I wanted to be like them, but I was too busy being 16 playing Nirvana and Soundgarden records on the radio and smoking way to much pot and partaking in copious amounts of underage drinking. So talk radio was fun to listen to, but I had never imagined I could ever one day do it.

Until now.

I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead. I’m excited, hopeful & very nervous all at the same time. I will work hard at delivering great radio & content everyday. I will try to ask the tough questions, I have no political or religious leanings to speak of so the book is wide open, I just expect honesty and a fair go for the common man. If I don’t know about something educate me, correct me, I’m still learning. I will ask the questions you want answered. I have a very low tolerance for bullshit, But let’s make sure to have some fun along the way, because not everything has to be serious. Bum.


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  1. First off, congrats on the new gig at ‘NW. I must admit I have yet to hear you on the air anywhere but of course have read plenty about you on this forum.

    I don’t want to sound like one of those negative Canucks that you may hear or read about, here especially, but you certainly have a big job ahead of you. Your talents aside, research and studies have shown that the younger demo simply doesn’t listen to talk radio. Perhaps you have a special formula at the ready to unleash on the listening public but are holding it tight to your chest, sort of like KFC does with their seven “herbs and spices”.

    Sure you will find fans in the younger demo but any meaningful numbers , that will be a tricky one. Then again maybe we’ll all be eating crow this time next year when the ppm’s come out.
    You just might be the first commercial radio host to attrack a young demo to talk radio on am in North America, if not the world. Now THAT will be something to put on your resume.

    Seriously, I do wish you luck. Remember, we are all critics, screw ’em!

  2. I still havent figure out who has the stronger accent Dave Sheldon or DREX. The other day I heard Sheldon refer to Mexico as Messicko.

  3. “BC’s Leader” is currently playing directly into the hands of CBC and News1130.
    The Top Dog is on the way to becoming a whisper of its former self…”The Little Pup who Couldn’t”. It’s a shame to see a truly heritage radio station going down the toilet. HalDee must be turning (seriously).

  4. Are there a bunch of Canadian DJs on the air in Australia (and England) or is this just a Canadian thing, being wowed by people who have an accent.

  5. Looking at you DREX has me seeing a white guy, younger than the previous hosts and maybe not rich as you say, but I’m sure you won’t turn riches away if given to you. Sorry Justin (err yeah and ditch the silly DJ stage name Drex now that you are to be take seriously as a talk radio host) but you are coming off as a lil sh*t who gladly slides into the talk show chairs of the guys who built talk radio in the past.

    Don’t let your relative youth deceive you in thinking that you have a new angle in talk radio. Justin you’re still wet behind the ears in talk radio. Sure guys like Good and Till as time past got kinda vanilla on talk radio but they earned their stripes and your smirking at them making it seem as if them being rich (whatever that means in talk radio ) has led talk radio down a rabbit hole.

    The problem with talk radio is mostly corporate with big headed guys breathing rarefied air in ivory towers who manage stations thinking they are smarter than others. Paying less and less but demanding more and more.

    So Justin, time will judge you on the once top dog NW980. It’s best to check your ego at the door and just try to do a good enough job to keep people listening and ratings high enough for NW to peddle for more advertisers. Between home equity loan sharks companies and a few car dealers advertising on the once top dog it’s getting hard to stay tuned with all too many of these never ending commercials from what few advertiser NW 980 still has left.


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