(PSR) Welcome to PSR Claire. Can you share with us your story about how your introduction to the wonderful world of radio?
(Claire Spencer) I started in this business in high school 1994-1997. Switching to a school outside my district to take their broadcasting program. Then went to SAIT and took the CTSR program branching into radio 97-99. This was supposed to all be for my back up career.
I was a singer and dancer, but my parents said I needed a back up. I should’ve known radio is where I would end up since my parents lived in England during the amazing Beatles and Rolling Stones years. My dad even being in a Beatles music video from the roof outside his office working for Apple records, during their time with the label. My mom dating Rod Stewart in school and partying with Carlos Santana on beaches in Spain.
(PSR) Sounds like a fun childhood
(CS) Needless to say I was raised on the good stuff! I did my college practicum at lite 96 in Calgary and then gave up a high paying job at a law firm, when I got the call to OP at CJAY 92 in Calgary. $7.50 an hour was made up for with the amazing experience I got there!
(PSR) and then….
(CS) Ended up working for Vibe 985 and AM 1060 there as well, logging 80 hours a week often. I would take any shift in promotions, production and oping they gave me, sometimes sleeping under a board room table or in the parking lot between shifts. Then I got my first on air spot doing drive in Bonnyville, AB in 2003. A few months later I ended up in Thunder Bay working for 3 stations on air, doing music and a column in the local paper.
(PSR) A writer too! When did you return to Alberta?
(CS) A year after that I got my first major market gig back at Vibe 985 in Calgary, eventually becoming AMD and stayed for 6 years. I was convinced to take a mid day gig at Kraze in Red Deer and had my daughter during this time.
I then took on a part time gig doing helicopter traffic for Global Calgary and Q107, Country 105 and QR 77. I also took on a swing/weekend shift at AMP Radio at the same time.
The Global gig turned into a full time position until my military husband was posted to the base in Edmonton. A couple weeks after arriving I got a swing gig at Virgin Radio Edmonton. A few months later moved over to Lite 95.7 which eventually became Cruz FM and I ended up on evenings and as the Music Director. This was a tough one to walk away from! But being a mom and military spouse means sacrifice and try as hard as I might, I couldn’t make the gig work for my family. My husband was posted to the Wainwright base and we considered him living there and only visiting on weekends so I could stay but in the end the cost to us financially and to our family wasn’t worth it. But it all worked out for the best! I’m now taking over as the new morning show host on K-Rock in Wainwright! It all begins June 15th. I’ve missed early mornings and working in both smaller markets and the bigger ones during my career, I know how much fun a smaller community can be when you are on the air, not to mention really being able to be a big part of the community without as much competition and really getting to know all of your listeners, which is something I love to do. Plus as my daughter is still young I’ll have the chance to spend more time with her, than I would have been able to in a larger market, also raise her until she’s really school age, in a safe and close community.
(PSR) Family first?
(CS) Family is very important to me, as important as my career and this is my chance to balance both! Plus the bonus that Wainwright has a lot of military personnel living there, so being a spouse will really let me focus not only on my career but also give me plenty of opportunity to help and show my huge support for the troops!
(PSR) and for the industry?
(CS) I love this never ending wheel in radio and hope at 80 I’m still going strong in the business. To me it’s not about what market I’m in, the small ones and big ones both have great reasons to love them, I just want to be able to get up everyday and go to a job I truly love and rock great tunes. I am a very lucky girl to be able to live my dreams everyday and be supported by my family and my listeners.