For over 50 years, people have found comfort in the fact that there has been a Carney on the radiowaves.
Broadcasting was not anything John Carney wanted to do as a kid, or even through high school. But now, with more than 30 years behind him in the industry, he can’t see himself doing anything else. In a business where abnormal is the norm, John says, “I’m quite at home!”
Carney’s commitment to a career in radio came on the heels of advice from his father, the late Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Carney who told him not to do it. As a professional defiant, young John knew what he had to do. It was on his twenty-first birthday 1984, that he celebrated his first day on the radio as the host of an afternoon country music show just outside of Denver (actually it was some 100 miles outside of Denver, but you’ve never heard of that town, and you can’t get there by car anyway!!). That first gig lasted only three months, but John says it was still a positive experience. “I really got to be a fast packer!”
Job two took John to Columbia, Missouri to work with the famed Larry King at KFRU radio. He only pushed buttons for Larry’s show from midnight to three in the morning – since King was syndicated out of Washington, he was not actually aware of Carney’s existence on the planet. John did get some airtime there; at the conclusion of King’s show, Carney hosted his own program during the highly coveted 3-6 a.m. slot. Word has it he was a big hit among both of that town’s insomniacs
Like his father, John loved St. Louis. He had his first crack at major market radio in St. Louis in 1986 as John was paired with 2 more legendary broadcasters in Mort Crowly and Grant Horton. at KXOK when the station switched to an “all talk format.” It was at this point that John found another vehicle for his humor as a comedy writer for Dick Cavett; A position that he kept for 5 years. Dick still keeps in touch, calling from time to time to remind John that he’s still not funny.
From there Carney had radio stints throughout the Midwest co-hosting a classic rock morning zoo. Even though he continued to hone his craft outside of the Gateway city, he never gave up hope of returning to St. Louis. Opportunity knocked again in 1989 in the form of a big band jock spot at WEW. After four years of spinning Kay Starr and Woody Hermann records, John became restless and found his way back into talk radio.
By the early 90’s, John was back into talk radio, interviewing and comfortably filling the airwaves with something other than music. His 9 to noon slot quickly gained notoriety with frequent stops to the studio by the famous and infamous. In 1997 and 2000, John received the “Air Award” for talk show host of the year and was chosen as one of St. Louis’ top radio personalities by the St. Louis media 5 different times. And while we’re back patting, John picked up “Media personality of the year” in 99 and 2002, and 2007 by the National Restaurant Assn for his frequent culinary features on the show. In July of 1998 Carney signed on at long time powerhouse replacing the legendary Jim White. Expansion of sports programming lead to Carney’s choice to get more airtime and he returned to the station he put on the air in the 90’s KTRS. Now, coupled with Martin Kilcoin for an hour and flying solo from 1-3, John says he’s now doing the kind of radio he’d listen to, if the CD player wasn’t working.
Even with John’s deep love of the business, it takes a back seat to his family. With two teenage girls and 2 boys in single digits, Carney is well on his way to staffing his own basketball team. Carney’s other kids are the one served by his foundation; Carney’s kids, an organization that raises money and awareness for several area charities whose focus is improving the lives of children. Fundraising efforts have included the publishing of 2 cookbooks by John and an annual Halloween party that is we into it’s 2nd decade.. For more information on Carney’s Kids, go to www.carneyskids.org.
If there’s time left after that, you’ll find John teaching cooking classes around town, cheating at golf, making music with his band “Oh Brother”, or doing exactly what his wife tells him to.
Josh joined KTRS in 2010, working early mornings on the weekends – shifts nobody else wanted to do. Five years later, he’s still doing the jobs no one wants to do, and is producing The John Carney Show. While not generally a very excitable guy, his first loves lie in music, film, and anything to do with pop culture. A “Like”er of very few Facebook pages, his dislikes run in the thousands, and you can hear him complain on any number of topics, every day, as the Board Operator and self-proclaimed “voice of reason” on The Carney Show. Email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org