First job: My first radio job came about at 15 after hanging out at WBKV-AM in West Bend, Wis., where my father was an evening host, which was also the reason we relocated from Ohio. Mostly I helped file record albums and tried not to get in the way. After hanging out at the station for about six months, they put me to work after school and on weekends. Back then you needed to take a test to get an FCC license, and you needed the license to operate the controls and take the station's transmitter equipment readings. Being too young to drive, my mother drove me to Chicago to take the test, and I left with my first license; I actually had an FCC license before I had my driver's license. So, the last two years of high school, I produced the station's commercials. I ran the control board for the polka show, network news, and Brewer baseball and Packer football.
First salary: Minimum wage — in fact for my first four years in radio, the only time I got a raise is when the minimum wage went up!
My idol is: Personally, my mother and father. Musically it would be John Lennon. Professionally it would have to be Gordon McLendon.
Heroes: All the men and women serving in all branches of our military. Thanks for defending our right to rock!
Most embarrassing on-air moment: It's hard to say, there have been so many! Years ago I was hosting an all-request show and we would tape requests with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. This control board had no remote controls, so you would have to manually switch on and off the equipment set near the control board. As the song was ending, I had my request call ready to roll on the tape deck, and my microphone was also on. After introducing the caller, I went to play his intro from the tape, and my finger slipped and hit the fast forward button, so instead of a voice at normal speed we heard a Martian-sounding voice at about 200 miles an hour! The boss of course was listening, although in my defense I did play the request.
Highlight of my career: There are several of them. One that happened recently was the chance to interview Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and guitar legend Joe Perry of Aerosmith. After the Aerosmith tour was canceled last August, I got wind that Joe was going to make a few stops aboard his tour bus traveling from South Dakota (where the tour ended) on his way back home to Boston. To make a long story short, Joe Perry made his only Toledo stop here at our studios. He signed autographs, previewed his new solo album, and spent about an hour on the air at 94.5 'XKR. Joe Perry is very much a rock legend and he is also very gracious and down to earth.
My favorite thing to do outside of work: Even though I listen to music all day at the station, I still enjoy seeing bands live and listening to music in my spare time.
I think Toledo's best-kept secret is: The change of seasons and Lake Erie. The Great Lakes are something you just should not take for granted.
People may be surprised to know that I: Hit the gym every morning before work.
In five years, I see myself: Doing what I'm doing now.
My dream job is: I'm living the dream! No seriously, I work with the best broadcasters and work for the best broadcasting company that started right here in Toledo. I also get to rock Toledo with two stations: one that plays killer classics, and Toledo's new music alternative, The Zone. I also work with a great team. Working in radio is not really like work, it's rewarding, local, and immediate. No two days are ever the same.
Contact Kirk Baird firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6734.
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