Kristen Clarke Career InterviewPosted: December 5, 2012
Three years ago when Kristen Clarke was driving her friend to a career fair she never imagined she would find the part time job that would eventually turn into her beloved career.
Clarke was a sophomore at K-State majoring in Agricultural Communications.
Clarke and a friend were on their way to a career fair when she heard an ad on the radio for the country radio station B 104.7.
“I figured I would just go talk to them about a marketing or promotions job, I never imagined I’d end up where I am,” said Clarke.
The only open position the station offered at the time was an on-air position. Clarke was interviewed and immediately given the job. She started working an overnight shift working from midnight to 6 a.m.
June Wilson, the house director for Clarke’s sorority, remembers when she first started working.
“She would stumble in every morning about 6:15. I always expected her to look tired or worn out, but she always just had that signature ‘Kristen smile’ on her face. You could tell she absolutely loved her job,” Wilson said.
Clarke graduate in December of 2011 and still works for the station, but now with better hours. Her morning starts about 8 a.m. when she gets to the station and spends a few hours recording commercials for the station and for local companies. She then has two hours on air doing the Noon Saloon.
“Noon Saloon is my favorite part about being on-air because it’s an all-request hour so I get to talk to my listeners a lot,” said Clarke.
On the weekends Clarke does a shift for B 104.7’s sister station Z 96.3. Her other duties include live remotes, appearances, ticket giveaways and working concerts.
Clarke said she just never knows from day to day what her schedule is going to be like.
Alec Shepack, Clarke’s boyfriend, said at first her schedule took some getting used to.
“When she shows up in the morning she never knows what her day is going to be like, so it was hard at first to try to plan things. It took some getting used to but I know she loves her job and it is actually a pretty sweet job. Plus I get some awesome hook-ups. So I can’t really complain if she has to cancel dates on me,” said Shepack.
Lately Clarke has been thinking a lot about where she wants to take her radio experience.
“As long as I get to work in radio I don’t care where I’m at. I’ve found a true passion in this job,” Clarke said.
She said she wouldn’t mind spending a few more years in Manhattan, but her dream job would be going to Texas to work for an all-red dirt country station or to Colorado to work for a bigger market.
“Radio is definitely what she’ll do with the rest of her life. Maybe not a deejay, but I could see her being like a station manager, someone in charge,” said Wilson.
According to Clarke, the best opportunity she’s been given through her job so far has been her ability to build relationships with listeners. Clarke said she has regular listeners that will call in during the all-request hour just to say hi or to give her feedback on things she has done that day that they liked.
“People don’t even realize it but radio is so much more personal than listening to your iPod,” said Clarke.
“I love calling in and talking to her,” said Nicole Dominick, a B 104.7 listener. “It’s like I talk to her on the phone and we’ve made this friendship and then when I go to concerts and I see her I’m like ‘oh hey I know that girl, she’s my friend!’”
Clarke said another opportunity she has been lucky to be given is getting to interview artists when they come in town for concerts. She said she’s also lucky to have started establishing relationships with some of the artists.
Clarke’s favorite artist to interview was an easy one for her to answer: Josh Abbot Band. Josh Abbot, lead singer of the band, was her very first in-studio interview.
“I was so nervous. I was like I’m going to ruin this and he’s going to think I’m an idiot and he’s going to never want to come back here,” said Clarke.
Josh Abbot Band was one of Clarke’s favorite bands when they first came to Manhattan. At the time, they were an up-and-coming band and not many people knew who they were. Clarke said the interview went so well and they were able to talk to each other just like they were old friends. The Josh Abbot Band soon had their big break and blew up, but Abbot still makes it a point to remember Clarke and treat her like a friend when the band comes to town.
The worst interview Clarke ever did was with Evan Felker, lead singer and guitarist of the Turnpike Troubadours.
“I still absolutely love the band and I don’t hold it against him at all, but you could definitely tell he had had a little bit of fun the night before. And by a little I mean a lot. He was hurting,” said Clarke.
Felker later called Clarke and apologized and said next time the band is in town he will make up for it.
“It’s the little things like that that make me love my job. I didn’t hate him at all and wasn’t expecting a call. That is definitely not something you get every day,” Clarke said.
“Fishin’ in the Dark” band The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is what Clarke considers the most famous band she’s ever interviewed. She said its cool to say she has interviewed a band that has been making music since the 1970’s.
Surprisingly, Clarke said that if given the chance to interview any artist it would be Mark Hoppus from Blink 182.
“Yes I love country, but Blink 182 is my favorite band by far and I just think he’d be fun to talk to,” said Clarke.
It’s obvious to see why Clarke has so many fans, twitter followers and why people light up when asked about her; Clarke’s constantly positive attitude is infectious.
“My favorite thing about Kristen is her smile. She has one of those smiles than can light up a room and I have never seen her in a bad mood. That and her hair, her signature hair. I’ve never seen her hair look bad,” said Wilson.
“The main reason I love radio as much as I do,” said Clarke, “is because music has always been a big part of my life. But I am not at all musically talented, so being in radio has given me a good way to stay connected.”
“I actually enjoy waking up to drive to work because I enjoy work. And not a lot of people are lucky enough to say that.”