CKIK in Calgary was my first big move back in 1983.
Initially an On-Air gig,
I ended up becoming
Music Director there
"KIK" was a hell of an
influential station out
west at that time, and
was a great stompin'
ground for me to be.
Stations across the
country began to
watch what we were
playing and would
often add tracks in to
rotation that were
getting spins at KIK.
I was still at the station in 1989 when I had the honour of being awarded "Music Director Of The Year". It sure was a great way to leave radio (for now)!
Remember the potato chip commercial.. Betcha Can't Eat Just One??
...well, it was kinda like that with me and Radio Shows. I figured that there MUST be a slot somewhere out there on a COMMERCIAL Radio Station for a show that could be somewhere "in between" that could surprise and please commercial AND public radio listeners,
"Backroads Country" was developed with that goal in mind.
I got the show placed with HANK FM in Winnipeg in early 2007. "Backroads" had to be tweaked a bit from the initially planned format as HANK had some specific requirements that they needed filled, It was a good hour-long show and stretched out into the Folk genre more than I was used to.
Was I happy recording TWO shows a week?? HELL YEAH!... but Betcha Can't Eat Just Two either.
In late 2007 I was approached by the good folks at RAWLCO who were planning to launch a new Calgary station some time in 2008. This was right back in to the world of COMMERCIAL RADIO, and the gig entailed me being on-air SEVEN EVENINGS A WEEK... that's uuummmmm... EVERY NIGHT!
Right from the start of the "test" shows back in January 2008, I knew that this was going to be a pretty special opportunity. These are great people working at a great station, and playing some of the coolest music you will ever hear on COMMERCIAL Radio - in Canada, and possibly anywhere.
Renamed "Night Mix", the show aired 7pm to Midnight weekdays, and 6pm to Midnight on weekends. The program was dedicated to FOLK Music of all kinds:
James Taylor / Jakob Dylan / Ryan Bingham / David Gray / Jack Johnson / The Avett Brothers / Bon Iver / Matthew Barber / Sam Baker / Calexico / Bruce Springsteen / Iron & Wine... yeah you get the idea... pretty cool huh? They were all in rotation on "Night Mix".
Unfortunately, on May 20th 2011 the station flipped formats completely & became UP! 97.7.
No more "Night Mix", and a complete change of announcers. It was great while it lasted!
Spring 2010 saw another great opportunity come along when I began programming an Americana music channel for Stingray Digital. As of writing, the channel is currently only available on their US channel line-up.
Writing CD reviews for a couple of magazines has also made its way into my resume. I provide two reviews per issue for the Western Lifestyle publication "Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine", as well as writing occasional pieces for "Penguin Eggs" magazine which has a
more general Folk & Roots focus. Both magazines are based right here in Alberta.
`Cause Tramps Like Us, Baby We Were Born...
Shortly afterwards I headed out to Vancouver and became a promo rep with A&M Records.
Named after the two guys who headed it up: Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss, A&M had always had a very progressive attitude and was an excellent start to my career in that end of things.
SONY Music in Vancouver was my next promo gig, and it was a move to their Toronto office in 1992 that started me on a new path in their Marketing Department.
I made a move over to the Toronto office of Virgin's Marketing Department in 1994 and remained with them until moving back West to Calgary in 1996 for a stint as part of Jann Arden's management team at MusicWorks.
As of 1999 some Independent Radio Promo & Tracking work kept me busy (and poor) for a while, so I also took on a part-time job in Music Retail at Megatunes, Calgary's best Independent Music Store. Being the Roots Buyer there was a great gig, as not only did I get to listen to lots of music, but also got plenty of good promo copies too.
It was during this period that I started planning the format for what would become "Wide Cut Country".
Getting ready to be a "Member of the Board"
in the Fanshawe College studio
Music, always Music!
There really wasn't anything else that I wanted to be involved in since I was a kid.
I have worked in several aspects of "The Industry" over the years, but ended up back
where I started - IN RADIO.
Yes, that's me on the left. It was taken at CHEZ in Ottawa, which was my first real on-air gig back in 1981.
I Got Into Broadcasting...
at Fanshawe College in London,
Ontario back in 1979. CHOM in
Montreal was a big influence on
me growing up, and I always
had a love of radio stations in
general. I'd be one of those
pesky kids always calling in to
the request line and bugging
Wide Cut Country...
first went to air on the CKUA Radio Network back in March 2000. To that point the station had never aired "Country" music due to a general feeling that it was a musical genre that may be too "low-brow" for its listenership, who were more used to Jazz, Blues and Classical than anything else. Well... I sure brought down the standard FAST with "Wide Cut Country"!
Something seemed to click with listeners who were suddenly hearing acts like Wilco, Buddy & Julie Miller, Greg Trooper, Marty Robbins, Steve Earle, Patsy Cline, Rodney Crowell, Hank Williams Sr. and Hank III. WCC was not only crossing Country Music sub-genres, but also spanning generations of Country Music.
To this day the most common (and best) comment that I get is: "I never realized that I liked Country music until I heard "Wide Cut Country"!
That's something I never get tired of hearing. After all, turning people on to music over the years has been the thing that keeps on giving me THE BUZZ!
If you're interested in checking out my Playlists for the show, past & present, they're listed here. You can click on a year going right back to 2003, or see who's getting spins on my more recent shows.
I was lucky enough to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of "Wide Cut Country" with a live on-location broadcast on March 6, 2010. An enthusiastic audience crammed into The Ironwood Stage & Grill in Calgary to help with the festivities, and to enjoy my EIGHT (was I crazy?) special musical guests.
Check out my PICS page to see who showed up to chat and sing.
Rise & Shine! (CKUA...July 2011 through May 2012)
...went to air on July 4th 2011 & ran weekdays from 6am-7am on CKUA. R&S began as part of a summer experiment for CKUA and aimed to "...get your motor runnin" with music & information on current music & arts happenings in Alberta, as well as just giving listeners a bit of fun on their way to work in the morning.
Well, the experiment was extended a few times, but ended on May 4th 2012 when some other programming changes came into effect.
It sure was fun while it lasted, and a feature I called "Guilty Pleasures" that started as a goofy, one-off idea in late August of 2011 took on a life of its own. With contributions from other CKUA announcers, musicians and (best of all) the listeners chipping in THEIR musical Guilty Pleasure suggestions, there was still a backlog that I didn't get to when the show came to an end. There really was everything from Abba to Zappa!
Night Mix... (2008-2011)
was originally christened "Night Moves" when 97.7 Calgary FM first signed on to the Calgary airwaves back in March of 2008. With the station rebranding in 2009 as MIX 97.7 the show was also rebranded to "Night Mix - With Allison Brock".
Having a show like "Night Mix" to get my teeth into seven nights a week was a great gig for me. 7pm every weekday (6pm weekends)
"Mix 97.7" transformed from its daytime format of "The Best Of Pop, Rock & Country" to a gentler, more eclectic format that is reaching the ears of an ever-expanding audience.
On "Night Mix" you could hear some great older, more acoustic tracks that you usually just didn't find on the radio any more - maybe some early Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Cat Stevens or Joni Mitchell. That may have been followed up by Conor Oberst, Jack Johnson, Brandi Carlile or Josh Ritter.
I constantly got emails from listeners asking "Who WAS that singer you played..." OR "Around eight o'clock last night you played a song..." Believe me, there's nothing like listener feedback, especially when they are engaged enough to do some detective work on an artist or song. There's that BUZZ again!!
It's always GREAT to have listeners not be afraid to try something different in their listening habits. It's even better when they realize that they LIKE what they're hearing! RIP Night Mix!
Voice Work... spans several different areas.
Much of what I do is voicing commercial spots for radio. Some clients may want a slow straight read, and another a more upbeat read that's a real tongue-twister.
Either way I have to read whatever script the copy-writer has come up with in about a 30 second time frame.
"Industrials" can range from describing a company; who, where, what they do - maybe as a kind of spoken resume (often over a video) for new clients... to instructional or safety tutorials and more.
"Voice Overs" come in many shapes, sizes and styles.
Short snappy snippets of dialogue, sometimes with an accent or character voice are great experiences to work on, though sometimes challenging.
"Documentaries and other Narratives" are usually a slower-paced read, but have to be timed precisely as they are usually synched with video footage. You can't have a finished product that looks as if it's a badly overdubbed foreign movie.
As they say... "timing is everything"! You can find a sample here.
Cover art of a CBS (SONY) / KIK album sampler
Left to Right:
Robin LaRose / Jaime Wohl / Jim O'Callaghan / Zenon Goral /
Yours Truly (w / cool shades) / David Larson / Dean McLean
You're Tuned In To Radio Brock
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