My Time in The Kid Carson Intern Army
Mic check, *tap tap*.
The Kid Carson Show is the latest morning radio program in Vancouver. It airs on Z95.3 FM from Monday - Friday at 6 AM - 9 AM. Kid and his best friend Jordan McCloskey broadcast out of a beautifully built studio in Yaletown, lucky dudes. Check it out:
When I saw the show was recruiting for an intern contract I was all --
with a bit of --
... I had ate a bean burrito that day.
Although I already had a foot in at Bell Communications as a street team member for their radio stations, the pandemic had stripped away any need for the position. Maybe this was my next step!
Throughout the year I had tuned into the show. I liked that it had two best friends -- one a radio professional and the other an actor. That’s, like, me split into two people but without even distribution of hair.
This wasn’t the first intern for Kid. Andrew the Intern was a famous staple on Kid's past show years ago and he did a lot of ... wacky things during that time.
The Z team required a 2-minute video convincing them that we were creative, mad (see: unstable) and enthusiastic about the opportunity.
This is what I did to get my army invite:
MEETING KID AND JORDAN
It was bright and early -- minus the bright -- when we all met outside the Yaletown studio. We were to chat with the hosts on-air! There were 12 of us (with another 12-13 coming the next day) including two classmates from my time at broadcasting school and a street team colleague.
Along with the gracious Z Team, Kid and Jordan themselves were very welcoming. You can listen to my interview at the 24:52 mark:
Kid knows a pink ranger?! The competition just got REAL.
INTERN ARMY CHALLENGE 1 - HIT THE STREETS
Kid announced the first challenge the next morning calling it a “nice and easy” way to ease us in. We were to find fans of the show that weekend and ask them what they liked about it. It was up to us find them, record the audio cut it into an audio segment.
If you’ve ever had to approach people in a manner of “can I talk to you for a second?” then you understand FEAR AND PAIN AND EVIL, even with a little bit of branding on your person. Wearing a mask doesn’t help this exchange, it got in the way of my earnest demeanour.
I decided to tackle the seawall. It felt promising and the sun was shining. I approached with the question, “Hey, do you listen to the Kid Carson Show, by chance?”
Actually, females were more open than males were. It’s like the guys played stupid; the old tactic of confusing someone you don’t want to talk to so they go away. It was an interesting social component and for about an hour I wasn’t getting any cooperation.
But without saying much more, here is what I submitted for the approval of the midnight society:
Feeling good, I was ready for challenge two which no doubt would be more difficult.
INTERN ARMY CHALLENGE 2 - THE FAME GAME
We were asked to get a celebrity endorsement. The “shoot for the moon” candidate was Ryan Reynolds.
For the other recruits, I imagine this was exciting. For me, I had to be careful. As an actor I was in a position to ask favours in my own industry playpen that might alienate or flatter someone.
Luckily, I couldn’t have been happier or more appreciative of who was able to give me their pledge for senior prom king!
And before you ask, I never reveal my sources.
INTERN ARMY CHALLENGE 3 - FOR THE ‘GRAM
When this challenge was announced I was on the ferry to Tofino. I almost didn't go because of the upcoming assignment but I had committed to the trip prior to being in the army.
The challenge was to take 30 photos in two days as an homage to a social media challenge of taking one picture a day for a month. When I saw the list of images requested ...
Some of the more worrying requests were to take a picture with the hosts, with another intern member AND find a car with an old Z95.3 sticker. How could I do that in Tofino??!
And then I remembered WHO TF I WAS!!!!
So I went to WORK. I loved this challenge. I really wanted to show the other army members that I was their competition and the one to beat in this race.
INTERN ARMY CHALLENGE 4 - AT THE MOVIES
I had the sense that we may hear about the finalists after challenge three. But we were hit with one final task: go to a theatre. Ask audiences their quick reviews on what they saw. Edit together a 30-60 second clip for broadcast.
This was to see our editing prowess and how we interact with an interviewee.
I went out to a nearby theatre and ran into another intern army recruit, Jolly. I counted about 12 people entering the theatre for a 6:30 PM showing (These are weird days, people -- only 12 on cheap Tuesday!).
Between two people trying to accomplish the same task while one moviegoer trickled out every fifteen minutes I was accepting I was in for a long night.
Soon another recruit Jocelyn showed up. Now there was an extra person accosting strangers!
Oddly, the males were much more receptive for this challenge than the females, a stark contrast to the first challenge.
Three hours later at home I found that the SD card I used in the Zoom portable recorder was compromised. It had not recorded most of the soundbites I was relying on using; the files were playing back literal silence!
After promptly ordering a goddamn new card I got to work with what had recorded. Thankfully it was enough so I didn't have to venture out to the theatre again:
Man of Steel rocks.
KID CARSON'S ANNOUNCEMENT
The finalists were to be announced on Friday, Nov. 20th, two weeks after the start of the contest. At the last minute of the show, Kid announced he and Jordan could not decide on the final five. Kid didn’t want to rush the decision. He only had three hours of sleep the night before and needed the weekend to think about it.
So while he caught up on beauty rest the recruits continued to spam social media asking the public to vote for them. If they voted for the winning recruit, they could win $500 themselves.
THE FINALISTS OF THE KID CARSON INTERN ARMY
I realized I hadn’t paid much mind to the prize money during the process. I was focused on the title and to get in with a morning radio show. But thoughts of the prize started to creep up on me the morning of the announcement ... what would I do with the cash?
I would've gotten a dog. It’s been a long time coming. I would also upgraded my seven year old phone and finally treated myself to a Nintendo Switch (because it isn't 2020 unless you play Animal Crossing).
The rest would go to school debt, savings and living expenses for the duration of the internship.
As expected, the announcement was made right before the show’s end. Feel free to listen for dramatic effect or read the transcription below.
KID CARSON: ... it's hard to do an intern competition. It's fun, in theory, but when you come down to it ... it stresses me out a little bit. And I'll tell you why because so many people that entered are really good, are really great ... we're looking for something specific for our show. Some of the people were actually too good. Some of the people are going to get jobs at radio stations and start hosting immediately. And you're ready for that. That's not the intern journey that we wanna follow. I'm looking to fill an intern position that we can watch blossom into something -- it's the journey ...
The finalists (6 in total!) were then named: Cairo, Jocelyn, Thomas, Nazer, Amber, Bakhtiar.
In doing research of Andrew the Intern’s tenure after being accepted to the competition it did occur to me that I might not be what the search was looking for. The intern needed to fit a specific role in contrast to the established hosts. It's a dynamics thing. Casting. I totally get it.
(Except when it comes to Big Brother Canada -- I don't get that. Come on, people! It's been 8 years of trying out! I'd rock that show!)
But I was gonna compete whole heartedly regardless. Of course I would have loved the title of Justin the Intern on The Kid Carson Show with Jordan McCloskey! But it wasn't meant to be mine and that's ok.
As for the finalists I feel excited for them! One of them is gonna earn an opportunity that could project them into a life-altering career if they play their cards right. Plus a nice payday.
I had so much support from my friends and family who cheered me on with messages, voted, and favours. That made having to announce not making the cut really hard. Their support in this and all my endeavours means a lot and it didn't stop once I broke the news. I could not be more humbled or thankful to them (and likely that means YOU if you're reading this).
Taking part in the intern army was a blast! I am thrilled I got to take part and grateful the team chose me to play. I got to flex my competitive nature, demonstrate my abilities and am more excited than ever for what's next.
And to Rex or Spotty or Rover or Buddy or Princess Pudding … whatever your name will be -- you'll be mine soon!
But until then, the Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing that I treated myself to for a job well-done in this adventure will have to do.
My thanks to:
The team at Z (Zach, Steven, Jordan, Kid, Ashly, Crosby, Lexi), Katherine, Ross, Daniel, Bren, Aimee, Starlise, Gerald, Enya, Brooke, Miranda, Winny, Courtney, Moy, Leo, My Mom, Cassandra, Pam, Monica, Lisa, David, Amber, Brianne and anyone else who sent a vote or words of support!