Captain Ken Rides Again

Captain Ken on the New River.

Captain Ken on the New River.

Before Vicki and I moved to North Carolina (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) I was in the radio business during the week, and spent my weekends as a raft guide with ACE Whitewater. I enjoyed being a DJ, but once we moved I made a conscious decision not to stay in that line of work. Why not? Well, it doesn’t pay much for starters. Unless you’re a big player in a major market, or get on a syndicated show of some sort, radio doesn’t pay nearly as much as people think it does. Plus, this was the early 90′s and it was already clear that syndication and automation were going to be putting the vast majority of local on-air folks out of work.

Not to mention the fact that being a ‘radio personality’ is really hard on the ego. Seriously. Have you ever listened to someone on the radio for a long period of time, and when you saw a photo of them, or saw them on TV, or met them in person, you felt disappointed? Sure you have. Everybody has. Even if you don’t mean to, you subconsciously build a mental image of what a person looks like based on their voice and their personality. Real people never live up to that image.

So my radio persona at the time was ‘Captain Ken’ (yes, I know it’s lame – it was the early 90′s and it was one of those Wacky Morning Zoo radio shows on a rock station) and for three years of my life, virtually every person I met was profoundly disappointed when they met Captain Ken in person. It gets to you after awhile, trust me. Women used to win contests and things and when they came by the station to pick up their prize, they’d always want to meet Captain Ken. The receptionist would usher them into the studio, I’d introduce myself, and these women would take one look at me and say (I’m not kidding here) “Oh.” Then they’d leave. Quickly.

I am not an animal! I am a DJ!

I am not an animal! I am a DJ!

I felt terrible about it. I always found myself wanting to apologize for being ugly. I mean, it’s not like I’m a hideous boil-infested drooling hunchback or anything. Not most of the time, anyway. A realistic assessment would probably conclude I’m marginally below average in the looks department, but it was clear that whatever people were expecting, I fell far short of the mark. I honestly don’t mind being ugly, but I hated disappointing everyone.

Anyway, when we moved to North Carolina, I decided to focus on the construction industry (which I’ve always surprised myself by liking) and I never expected to work in radio again. So yesterday’s events were something of a shock.

WJRII’m pretty heavily involved with the Shelter Home of Caldwell County, which is a shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault victims here in Lenoir. Our biggest fundraiser of the year is our Home & Garden Auction, which is coming up this Thursday night, and I’d been asked to go by the local AM radio station (Foothills News Talk 1340AM) and do an interview to pimp the auction. By the time we finished the interview, the host was telling me about how he needed a partner, asking about my background in radio, and he ended up inviting me to come by the next morning to co-host the show and see if we’d be a good fit. I did the show this morning and managed not to screw up too badly, so I guess we’re going to make a regular thing out of it.

Rocky Brooks

Rocky Brooks

It’s a little intimidating, to be honest with you. The host is a guy named Rocky Brooks, and he’s pretty much a local institution at this point. Everybody knows Rocky, and Rocky knows everybody. Me, on the other hand? I’ve lived here for about 2 years, spending most of that time in the hermetically insulated Google cocoon, and I know nobody. But, with business being so slow right now I’ve got time on my hands, and as usual I’ll get by with a decent voice, a reasonably well-informed opinion, and a healthy assortment of smartass comments.

I don’t expect this to go on for very long. It’s strictly part-time, the pay isn’t much, and professionally I’m worth a lot more as a safety man than I am as a ‘local radio personality’, but it should be fun while it lasts.

- Ken

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2 comments to Captain Ken Rides Again

  • Barbie

    Oh my gosh, the girls will be thrilled! I just told them the other day about your DJ “history” and they were in awe! Alex looked at me and said “is there anything that man can’t do?” I swear, that is exactly what she said! How funny!

  • Marcus Crawford

    So you’ve had this hidden radio talent all along, and never did any MWL shoutcasts.