interview Carter.mp3


Buzz Knight [00:00:01] Hi, I’m Buzz Knight and this is the Taking a Walk podcast where we take you on an audio journey with a variety of really cool folks, all with a story to tell, a story about music, a story about the artist, the back story. On this episode, I go back to the glorious radio days in Boston, which I was part of and certainly observed. We have a talent who dominated the air in Boston, also in New York and across the country. In his time on Sirius XM, we go over to Central Park to take a walk next with Nik Carter. Well, Nik Carter, it is so great to be actually taking a walk in person with you in Central Park, New York City.


Nik Carter [00:00:46] Hey, it’s great to be with you, man. And as I say, I’m hoping I’m the first one to take the show title literally, because I brought my youthful ward, Peppermint Mint, the Mint, my dog, as she’s known on the mean streets of the Upper West Side. She’s already blessed the place with the poop. So, you know, so far, so good. I love it.


Buzz Knight [00:01:07] I love it. You are the first person that has brought the pooch along to take a walk. Although I did an episode of taking a walk with my two knucklehead dogs in Carlisle, Massachusetts. Wow.


Nik Carter [00:01:19] That’s beautiful. Yeah, I’m a big I’m a big believer in the sight gag. It’s cool to go to walk. So I love it. And I’m sitting in the subway. I’m going, He’s got to think I’m the biggest doofus there.


Buzz Knight [00:01:31] No way. No way. I’m the guy that did it with my two dogs. I’m the doofus. Well, she’s got six people who listen to it.


Nik Carter [00:01:38] She’s got kind of a it’s funny because she’s got kind of a tragic story. I mean, basically, my Instagram is basically pictures of me and past their prime past their sell by celebrities and peppermint and peppermint, you know, just whatever, you know, running around doing her thing to videos. Like my favorite vet says, a small dog. She’s like, you got to be careful with these low riders. So she’s running around chasing another small dog to war, a low rider. And, you know, literally that video got more pictures, more likes than a picture of me and Robert Plant. And I was like, how many should ever own Instagram? I’m like, No. So she has more followers than me. Hard pass. But she had a really it’s interesting, but what were you doing that she had a really tough life. She was abandoned on the streets of the Bronx at two months old, which blows my mind. I mean, I just how much would it have taken just to drop her off at a vet or a shelter? And her mom? Well, my dog was a Japanese passed away two months, actually. This this month, two years ago, two months before she turned 16. And her human mom. Passed away two months after that. Oh, man. And so I kind of inherited I mean, she was living with may she living with me for a couple of years. And Bianca, her mom, passed away at only 43. And all her friends are like, Well, you’re keeping peppermint, right? I’m like, No, I thought I’d put her on eBay. Yeah, well.


Buzz Knight [00:03:14] I mean, really.


Nik Carter [00:03:15] Yeah. So. But that’s the story of peppermint or the the mint, as she’s known in the mean streets, the Upper West Side. Oh, I’m.


Buzz Knight [00:03:21] So honored to meet the Mint. And I’m glad to see you. I haven’t seen you in a while. I think the last time I saw you was at a big event that was involved when you were doing the national show.


Nik Carter [00:03:35] Right.


Buzz Knight [00:03:35] The Nationals show. Right. Tap.


Nik Carter [00:03:37] Right, right, right, right, right. Yeah. Yeah. On talent show. Nik Carter. Yeah. Which you know, some of the best three years of my life. You know, I, I got yelled at by Peter Frampton. I got, I got called Names by George Thorogood. It was great. I used to have longer hair than I used to joke. VH one classic has hired a spiky haired black guy to play classic rock to a bunch of red states. What could possibly go wrong? I remember like my commercial. Thank God VH one classic had next to no ads, so it was either my promo me or the Slap Chop guy. And Slash came in. I mean, I talked to him a couple of times and he’s well, I’m one of those people that people know my name and know my face, but don’t put them together, I think. And so he had come in to do an interview and he walks in the studio, he goes, Oh, it’s you. I see you every time I’m on the treadmill. How rock and roll. I’m just trying to imagine. Flash on the treadmill with a dopey top hat on. But yeah, that was. That was a great experience because I had, um, I had sort of fancied myself, you know, like Johnny Alt rock guy and, you know, I always kind of I, I had a tacit respect for classic rock because that’s the sort of building blocks of everything that I listen to. But I my perception at that time, this is 2011, 2012. My perception was that, you know, even though I was out of the demographic, as they like to say, it’s like, oh, that’s that’s the old guy. That’s the old guy format. So it was funny because when artists would come in, me being a person of color and being, you know, were looking with this dopey baby face, I used to say to my boss, It’s hilarious. They come in and they’re polite, but I think at first they’re a little thrown off like they’re not. They’re figuring this guy has no idea who I am. You know, he’s just got what what what did this guy take a break from his rap show to talk to me, you know, And and and and they were shocked to find that not only did I know their music inside and out, I knew their stories. And they just it was really weird. And my boss actually said to me, he’s like, you know, we we kind of use that. And I’m like, you know. I get where you’re coming from. I’m not sure that’s legal for you to say, but. All right, cool.


Buzz Knight [00:06:04] So when did you first realize that radio was in your blood?


Nik Carter [00:06:10] Well, I grew up in Massachusetts. I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a ham myself. I I’m sorry. Please don’t trip anybody. I started my career, quote unquote. I don’t even know how old I was. I did, I guess, seventh grade. I did a show for NPR called The Spider’s Web, where I was like a youth reporter. But. I was always a music nerd. I can remember the first 45. I bought the first album I bought, and I just was fascinated by deejays and I grew up listening to everybody from the great Sonny Jo White to Jo-Jo Kincaid, these top 40 monsters to Mark, Parentau and obscene, who I just thought was a God. And then as I got older and I got in the business, I kind of got tagged with the Howard Stern shock jock thing, which bothered me because. My goal, and that’s what I kind of I feel like I’ll always be indebted to Sirius XM. My goal was to be like guys like Tom Snyder, Larry King, Tavis Smiley, who could literally talk to anyone. Like, I mean, I remember as a little boy watching The Clash, right, The Clash on the Tom Snyder show like 1:00 in the morning and the next day he’s talking to like Moshe Dayan, you know, And I was like, how does that happen? Yeah. You know, and but just the idea of I was a frustrated musician, too, as are many radio personalities. And the idea that, you know, you could hear your voice over the music and it was sort of musical. It just it just I don’t know. It was just something about it that just really, really turned me on. And then, you know, the idea that you could connect and I was going to say, be funny or at least attempt to be funny on the air. It was just it was just it was just a great thing for me. And I also, you know, as I say, I started in in public radio, and then when I was in seventh grade, I got my first TV show on Channel four WBZ in Boston. And it was just there was but everybody was like, Oh, I got to see tapes. No, no, no. They’re in the the vault with this inverter film and the porno from Hitler’s bunker, because I was I was an overweight kid. I had a huge space, my teeth, I had big, thick coke bottle glasses, a huge afro. You know, it was like that that I mean, it was like a death star. It it it rivaled everybody from Jeff Lynne and Don Henley to Angela Davis. And I look back now like, how did my parents let me go on TV like that?


Buzz Knight [00:08:54] So what was the name of that show?


Nik Carter [00:08:57] It was called Changing Places, where they took a bunch of kids and dropped them into the news anchors positions. And I short change places for Jimmy Myers and did a sportscaster, although I knew very little about sports. And then they liked me and I got another show was called The City Show. Then they changed the name to get off your block, where I literally walked around in the summer and showed kids, you know, Hey, go to the science museum. It’s open and it’s not that expensive. And I go, I actually got an Emmy. I didn’t get it, but my producer did. My first voiceover, this woman named Susan Bell borrowed me general and she wanted me to voice a couple of promos, like a public service announcement. And the first one was there. We’ll in this picture, this, this really sickly looking little white kid, I think he had red hair and they’re wheeling him down the hall on this gurney. And this kid, I mean, it’s like so AIDS is like, you know, I was really, really sick. And then this really cool lady came up to me and helped me, and I thought she was a nurse. Turns out she was the doctor. It turns out you don’t have to be a man to be a good doctor. You just have to be a good doctor, you know? And the key is being good at what you do. The counts against, like, gender, you know, whatever. And it won an Emmy. I didn’t get it. I mean, it hurt at her house. And the funny thing is, the first woman who put me on TV, this woman, Gail Levine, she came to New York and she became a giant casting director. She cast the cruise movie Jerry Maguire. Oh, wow. And I looked up and I called her and I was like, Oh, it’s Nik Carter, she said from childhood. I was like, Yeah, I got to call you back. Click. And that’s the last I ever heard of. Quite Dark Chocolate was like a Hollywood outfit on you.


Buzz Knight [00:10:57] So this is all before your first radio gig? Yes, sir. Essentially. Yeah.


Nik Carter [00:11:03] My first actual gig, quote unquote, being a deejay, was in school. NYU, WNYU. I studied theater there. I almost I literally almost got thrown out of the theater department because I would blow off class so much to go hang out at the radio station. And I did. A couple of shows. Again, it was the eighties, so I did a club show called Club 89 where we broke records like underground records that were being played that are now like club classics. I did a show. I inherited the disco show Disco 89, which was literally a classic disco show from my friend Dom Milano, who is now a big sales guy.


Buzz Knight [00:11:46] I know him. Yeah.


Nik Carter [00:11:47] Well, he was like he created it. And the funny thing is, you know, w NYU, since, you know, I lived on campus in the village, the transmitters in the Bronx, so people on campus couldn’t get the station, you know. So basically you were broadcasting to people who were just listening, you know, in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, you know, Westchester County and a lot in Brooklyn. And this this disco show was unbelievably popular. The phones would start start ringing at like 830 on Wednesday. The show was on from 9 to 11 and it wouldn’t stop ringing until like midnight. So I played disco and I channel my inner Sonny Joe White and screamed over, you know, Dan Hartman, instant replay or whatever. And I eventually got fired from my college radio station and I moved back to Boston because I was broke. And NYU, excuse me, New York was so expensive then. I mean, not like now, but and I started working part time at Wfnx in Boston. I’ve been turned down by, I think, two different program directors and the consultant. And then Max Tolkoff, who was the first guy to put me on the air, he brought me and I remember he said he said, you know, the rest of these deejays need some of what you have and you need to have some of what they have because they were about to throw this book away. They were all really, really mellow and laid back. And I was all hyper drive. So excited to hear my voice over Depeche Mode in the middle of the night. And it was just, oh, my calls were hilarious. I remember my first night, I was like, You know what? It would zip it up., but I picked up the phone via WFNX What do you want? Kiss Oh, boy. Which was the big top 40 or. You know, I remember this one woman was just like, Dude, what are you doing? So I kind of mellow it out and then WBCN had offered me part time a couple of times where I literally would have made more money two days a week on WBCN. And then I was making six nights a week on WFNXn the middle of the night and I said No. And the legendary Oedipus, who was the program director, walked around for years because it kept on getting back to me. So might not have met curse if not to make your mark. Part timers make more the whole time. Well, that’s wrong. That guy, like he sought out anybody he knew who knew me.


Buzz Knight [00:14:28] It’s a good imitation.


Nik Carter [00:14:33] He’s like a second father to me. So then. So then I left finally, and I went to do mornings in Providence, Rhode Island, and I was there for six months and he called me. I think you’re ready. I got this. Got to be fascinating.


Buzz Knight [00:14:53] Okay.


Nik Carter [00:14:54] You’re running to be on WBCN and in Boston. And I was like, All right. But, you know, I told these guys I’d be here a year. Like. Think about your future and thank God my my. Program director, Brent Peterson, said to me, he was like, listen, you can go in there and you can you can change that situation. You know, because I didn’t have a contract. I just gave him my word. I’d be there six months. And he said to me, I do the meet test on this. He’s from Chicago. And he said, If you want to win or whatever, the big stage at the time called me, said I’d be so hot here. It’s like you got to go. And I said, Well, I appreciate that, but, you know, I give you my word, I’m going to stay. And he said, okay, well, you can stay, but if you stay, I’m gonna fire you.


Buzz Knight [00:15:34] Oh, wow. Yeah.


Nik Carter [00:15:35] And it was it was so selfless. So I went back to Boston in 1996 and physical therapy and anti-depressants were soon to follow.


Buzz Knight [00:15:49] Good. Yeah, that was quite a run, right?


Nik Carter [00:15:53] I you know, it was eight years. It felt like twice that because it was. It was just. It was insane. It was. I mean, I look back now and we were in the middle of this unbelievably nasty Iraq battle. And it’s hilarious to me because, I mean, not to be political, but I see a correlation between a lot of the MAGA stuff because it was almost cult like, you know, this this one radio station we competed with WAAF, I mean, they tapped into something of being British where literally these kids who they thought it was a crusade to kind of go out and represent for this radio station that played 80% of the same stuff we did, you know, I mean, and that other 20% was the secret sauce. They were very heavy. And we were, you know, by comparison, kind of dorky. You know, in corporate, but they, you know. It was it was insane. I mean, I remember. My dad was in the hospital. He had had cancer when I was hired to do night 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at BCN for three years, and I figured that was it. Not. No. I mean, I was so naive. I didn’t know that I was being groomed for act in a drive that everybody else knew about me. I was just a good, you know, I could afford to move out of Mom’s house now. I could also get a car. Yeah. You know, because when I was at FedEx, literally, I had friends that were working at fast food, were making more than I was. I was making $6 an hour. You know, I paid my dues, but. My dad had had colon cancer, he had surgery. And when I moved to afternoons, I’ll remember he was in the hospital and he was trying to recover and stuck between this other radio station. And I had spilled into the newspapers and, you know, they were. Finding coded language to make reference to me being black. So it was just it got very, very nasty. I mean, I’m not I’m not a sponge. I mean, I’m I’m pretty tough. But, you know, my parents were like, freaked out. And I’ll never forget going to the hospital to see my dad. And my dad was like, because, you know, I was going out doing appearances and my dad was a bit of security for you. And like, that’s. These, you know, these knuckleheads are just going to get in my face and say something. Nobody’s going to, like, put hands on me. But you know, that that really bothered me because, you know, if you have any dealings with cancer, stresses everything. Right. You know, And so it really got to him. And I was like that, you know, I’m I’m I mean, I was £50 heavier than I was. Like, I’m a big guy, you know? I mean, nobody knew that I was a complete, you know. Marshmallow inside. I feel like I’m loud and I could talk a good game. What? What? Step outside. We’ll talk about it. All right. And the second they go outside and I’m inside, like car.


Buzz Knight [00:18:57] Yeah.


Nik Carter [00:18:58] But, you know, it was.


Buzz Knight [00:19:00] See, I had. You know, I was there and I knew the battle, But I know that you’re telling the story from your view, though I had forgotten how evil and nasty the whole thing.


Nik Carter [00:19:14] I got called the N word so much, and I couldn’t even get angry at these kids because I. I knew they didn’t even really know what they were saying. They were just call. Call up the station, you know, say it and like, hang up. And really, you know, it was Opie and Anthony who I think are incredibly talented, but they were their own worst enemy. You know, I I’ve never seen anybody with with a bigger self-destruct mechanism than those guys. You know, they really were just. It was weird because they believed their own legend, but at the end of the day, I think they don’t have any idea how good they actually were. And I, you know, when we finally sort of squashed the beef one day, I we went out one day and we were drinking all day and we just sort of like yelled at each other and we kind of. Ended it all and I just sent them stuff. You guys, you don’t get it. I mean. You’re being groomed for everything. You know, you’re being groomed to take over the mantle from Howard Stern. All you have to do is, you know. Not to be overshadowed by a leaf blower. Right. You know, they. I don’t know. They just didn’t get it. And then I was at and about. Eight years. And during that time I was up. The reason I got to New York was I was up for after afternoons. A crack against, I believe, was Chris Booker, who had been on the station for quite some time. And he also had a national profile he did on MTV. And then he left MTV and he was he was the reporter for Entertainment Tonight, and he was dating Linda Lopez, J-Lo’s sister. This is during the whole Bennifer thing. So whenever there was a J.Lo or a Ben Affleck story and Ben Affleck, who I went to high school with, he had the exclusive. So he was everywhere. And so after it came down to he and I and I’m told. That the program director, I mean, he had also been on Howard’s show a lot. And I was told Howard went to the program director, said, Who are you going to give Booker the job? And he called me and he was like, Yeah, man, I got to go with Booker. And I was like, Of course I’d go with Booker over me. That’s a no brainer. And so. I want to say. The end of 24 December? Yes, December 31st, 24. My contract was up and I on my way to work and we had a new program director who had kind of helped usher in because when Oedipus was leaving, I knew a bunch of the the candidates and the general manager said to me, What do you think of this guy? We get to get this guy. I said, Well, Dave Wellington, you know, he’s he’s killing. And in in Vegas, he’s the guy. You know, I didn’t realize he was going to come in and be like, okay, let’s see what what can we lose you? And so my contract was up December 31st, 24, and I sent my way to work at my agent, called me and said, Hey, we got problems. I said, Okay. Said, Yeah, they want to go in another direction. I was like, All right, well, I have a compass. You know, I’d never heard that term before, right? And so I said, Well, give me a meeting. And I had a meeting with him that day and the general manager. And I basically said, Well, you know, I can go wherever you want to go in there. And they’re like, Well, we’re going to go in another direction. I was like, Oh, I get another direction without me. Okay, I got it. And so again, and that was another thing. He ended up hiring a guy who I’m friends with for from his station in Vegas to do what I told him I was only doing afternoon drive. He was hired to do afternoon drive and be the imaging director, basically like, you know, produce all the interstitials that talked that sort of made the image of the radio station for probably half of what I was making. So I can’t argue that. And then I don’t know if you remember this, but Howard Stern, his cast of Oddballs, Stuttering John and Crazy Cabbie, Crazy Cabbie, who was a Gulf War veteran who was shell shocked, complete character, but he was on Howard Show all the time. But he was also doing overnights at the station. He and Stuttering John despised each other. They got into a fight and Howard, being the master of marketing, decided to settle this beef in a boxing match sponsored by I think it was Golden Palace dot com purchase $25,000. Cabby wins, the purse goes on the air and says, I got $25,000. I’m not paid. I didn’t pay any taxes on it. The IRS is listening. Oh, And that’s it. So I’m sitting home one day again. It was like December 31st. I was trying to decide what I was going to do next. And I want to say early January, the phone rang. It’s the program director of XRK, okay? And I swear to God, I’ll never forget this. He says, Hey, dude, crap, he’s going to jail. We could use some help, got to come down, do some shifts. But I was like, Oh, with his. And that’s how I got into crack. That’s how I got into New York. And it’s funny because I’d also I just bought my first house, so I thought, You know what I really want to do? VOICEOVER So I built this elaborate studio, home studio. And in 2004, that wasn’t a thing. So I built this elaborate home studio and I started to send my demos to agents here, and I got the attention of three, and the one I really wanted to go with were like, okay, well, you know, they call us when you get to the city, you. I was like, Well, no, but I built the studio. Yeah, that’s nice, cause when you get to the city, it’s like, Wow. So I started working. I flew down to New York on a Thursday. I took the train. I did an audition. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday night. And I had just before I had my my iPhone have my BlackBerry. And I basically used it as email and text because it wouldn’t take calls or it would drop calls and. You know, I didn’t even know people called me. So I’m walking around and Friday afternoon because I had a bunch of friends here and I got a message, Hey, man, I listen to your demo. Hey, that was great. Great. Give me a call. We’ll talk. I said. And I hadn’t heard the message. Then the next message I got was his assistant. I had your schedule next Saturday and Sunday to 6 p.m., and I’m like, Wait, what? I had no idea. So I started working part time at K Rock in New York, 2 to 6 every Saturday and Sunday, and I would take the Amtrak down on a Friday, check into a hotel, go out Friday night with my friends, get up Saturday, go to the station, do my thing, go out Saturday night, check out of my hotel on noon on Sunday, go up to crack, which was on 57th and sixth on the air from 2 to 6 with my bag, jump on the subway, get back down to Penn Station at seven to take the Amtrak back down to Boston. Wow. And I did that from February to October when I finally was like, all right, I’ve got I’ve just got to move there. Yeah. And here I am with the mint.


Buzz Knight [00:26:45] And you ain’t ever leaving.


Nik Carter [00:26:47] I don’t know. You know, I mean, now that I’ve left on Sirius XM, the first two job offers I got were out of town. And, you know, I mean, my my goal is kind of to stick around. I mean, I feel like if I’m here till 20255, there will be 20 years here. So I don’t know if you got a set of steak knives or you’re fired. Like, you know, I’m playing Gary Glenn. Exactly. You know, an official like it. I heart New York band. But, you know, I mean, if somebody says to me, here’s, you know, $650,000 and even if you set the place ablaze, we can’t fire you. You know, I. My mom can’t find you, Nebraska. Here I come.


Buzz Knight [00:27:30] You love it.


Nik Carter [00:27:31] I’m sorry. She wants to say hi to everybody.


Buzz Knight [00:27:35] Mint, the ambassador of Central Park.


Nik Carter [00:27:37] She is a she. Do I tell you she. It’s so funny. Like, literally, like in my. My building. Everybody knows her name. Nobody knows. Nor could they care less about my name. And she has this thing where she just wants to jump up on everybody. And she always jumps up on people just to say hello. And I’m like, No, no, no, no. And they’re always like, It’s okay, it’s okay. And I’m just waiting for the day. It’s like, Oh, my $9,000 Balenciaga pants, I’m going to have you both killed. Right. Anyway, I’m sorry you were saying.


Buzz Knight [00:28:06] So you’ve always enjoyed interviewing people Who are some of your favorite interviews you’ve done in your career.


Nik Carter [00:28:11] Wow. Well, that’s the thing. A lot of them, you know. I will always be grateful to Sirius XM because although the concept of my channel that I went in for was called volume, it was a talk channel about music. And I remember my boss, who was my boss at VH one, had started it. He took me to lunch one day and he says, I got a meeting with serious. It’s like, Oh, really? He says, What would you think about a channel that talked about music but didn’t play it? I was like, Dumbest idea ever heard. But then I said, No, you know what? Actually, if you made it like sports talk for music dorks, that could work. So initially we would just play like 32nd snippets of songs to make reference, you know? So I had done a lot of really interesting interviews before I got too serious because I was doing rock and alternative rock and classic rock radio. But when I got too serious, they really did allow me to live my. You know, a pseudo Larry King dream where I talk to everybody from Ron Howard to, you know, Ozzy Osborne to. Jeez, I. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Three or four times. My boss is funny. He would always say when I wanted to book somebody. Well, what’s. What’s the musical tie in? I said, Oh, don’t worry, I’ll find one. So, you know, I promoted whatever Neil deGrasse Tyson was talking about that I’d ask him about the science of music. He said more reverb, and he would just sit and go off in this screed about, like, what makes grief. It was crazy. One of my favorites was on. Ron Howard, who I was a huge fan of, of course, and he came in to talk about his Pavarotti documentary. And again, you know, my my channel was basically it was a kind of rock based, but, you know, they wouldn’t actually say it. But that’s really what we kind of lean toward. And at the end of the interview, I swear to God, he says, Oh, darn. Nik talked about Wu-Tang. And I looked at him. I was like, We’ll tell you for getting his partners, Brian Grazer. And he said, Yeah. And there was two Wu-Tang series coming out, and I was like, Is that you guys? He said, Yeah, that’s my partner. And I forgot Brian Grazer, who put the Rizza from Wu-Tang in American Gangster and a bunch of other things. And he was just like, Yeah. And I’m sitting there going, I’m talking to Opie Taylor about the Wu-Tang Clan, right? That’s insane.


Buzz Knight [00:30:43] That’s awesome.


Nik Carter [00:30:45] My favorite part was literally when. I mean, I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but when example, like Huey Lewis was a huge fan of I mean, I’m basically like I grew up like kind of a hip hop punk rock kid pop music, but I love melody, so I love Huey Lewis. And he was a little leery about talking to us. You know, we he he needed us to send us send him our questions first because he’s got his hearing issue. So I just made sure I sent him my questions. But then I had asked Bunch and I said, we’re not in the list. And I said, So is it my understanding? So you’re your solo on USA for Africa? We Are the World. You got that because Prince didn’t show up and that is supposed to be Prince’s line. And he slams his hand on the table and he goes, Nik, how do you know that? I’m like, I’m a fan. You know, that was my favorite thing. If somebody said, How do you know that? I’m like, I’m a fan.


Buzz Knight [00:31:42] Yeah.


Nik Carter [00:31:43] Because I don’t think they knew. So that and, you know, pretty much anybody band of the moment acts to wow my parent my mom died when I was when when in 2000. My dad died in 2002. So I interviewed, Engelbert Humperdinck, who was hilarious, and Johnny Mathis. Wow. Who, you know.


Buzz Knight [00:32:07] Chances.


Nik Carter [00:32:08] Are they were the silly greeting. And it was funny, too, because I walked in and he’s like, Oh, you’re cute. And I was like, Oh, you know, I’ll take it. And what I didn’t know is he’s like, in his eighties, he had this giant I mean, I’ve been around a lot of rock stars, and they usually have like big black bodyguards. He had the biggest black ish bodyguard I’d ever seen. The guy had to have been like seven feet tall, built like this. And he was like maybe 45. And his publicist pulled me aside because that’s his husband. I was like, Well, don’t worry about it. I was going to you know, I was going to act on the guy. Thought I was cute, right? You know?


Buzz Knight [00:32:51] Did you ever go through an interview and then after you were sort of debriefing on and go, I wish I didn’t ask that question.


Nik Carter [00:33:02] No. I mean, you know, I, I can always think of things that I wish I had asked. Bad brains, respect. I always can think of things I wish I had asked. It’s been a long time since the interview really went bad. And if it if it if it’s gone badly, I just. This tension, I just feel like, okay, you know what? Thanks for coming in. You know, and afterwards, I’ve just said, look, you know, I’m trying to help you sell your little project, you know? But generally speaking, no, I mean, I consulted guests, you know, sort of lovingly, and they got it. So, like, I remember Ann Wilson punch me.


Buzz Knight [00:33:45] Like like a hard punch.


Nik Carter [00:33:46] Ball, like a sisterly punch, but it was pretty hard.. You know, and that’s the kind of thing I love. But, I mean, honestly, I can’t think of anything. I regret it because, again, you know, my thing is I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve only had to talk to a couple of people that I didn’t really want to, you know, I mean, and I’m not the type that. The only reason why I might not want to talk to somebody is because I don’t really feel like I can bring anything out of them that hasn’t been, you know, sorry, it hasn’t been, you know, recycled a kajillion times. Well, that’s a good question. I want to know what you know, because, again, you know, I’m not in it to make people feel bad. It’s funny, I think when when I was still in Boston and people were like, I think she’s Howard Stern. I think there were some people that were a little leery, you know, actors in particular, , I remember Anthony Michael Hall, who, you know, I grew up in the eighties, so I was huge fan and he was coming in to talk about. This made for TV movie that he he played. Bill Gates did a great job. And I remember my producer saying, listen, Nik loves actors and Nik is a huge fan, you know? And so I could tell he came in a little guarded. But by the end, you know, he slap five and he went on he went to Howard Stern the next day and he goes, You guys want to send a shout out to my boy Nicky to Pimp in Boston? You know, But I mean, I can’t say that I’ve ever been like, Oh, why did you ask that, you idiot first? I mean, there’s times that I thought, Oh, I could have worded that better.


Buzz Knight [00:35:40] Yeah. Or maybe going at a different angle or something like that, but.


Nik Carter [00:35:43] Well, that’s my thing. I mean, I, one of my best friends excuse me, one of my best friends reminds me of when I still working at VH1 the first time I spoke to. Judas Priest I asked them about. I asked Rob Halford about the the lawsuit. You know, where the kids got high and played, I think was stained glass backwards and swore they heard, you know, do it, do it, and obviously they’d do it. Trent translated to get a gun and blow your head off. And I remember a friend of mine who had been working in radio for a long time said, he said, you know, I was amazed at how much you talked about that, because I’m sure that when people ask us, they probably say, Yeah, man, the trial that sucked, huh? And I just said to him, I said, you know, if I recall, I said to him, you know, with a band like yourselves who have such a such an intimate relationship with your fans, especially here in America, what I said is I remember saying, did it change your perception of America at all when your music was essentially put on trial for these kids who did something crazy and weren’t taking responsibility for it? And he opened right up that I was a little leery about because generally speaking, every once in a while, you know, a publicist is like, don’t talk about this, that don’t talk about this. And, you know, half the time I’m like, well, I’m not here to, like, make you feel bad anyway. Right. You know? Yeah. Did you remember Peter Frampton? He was in a bad mood. And I asked his manager, I said, Well, if anything, he does it because I always say to artists, I’m like, Anything you don’t really want to talk about. Or if I know I’m getting into something touchy, I often say, and this is my trick. I say, Look, stop me if I’m getting too personal. And they never do. But I remember I said to Peter, Frampton’s manager said, So is there anything he doesn’t want to talk about? And he said his latest divorce, losing his hair and the Sgt Pepper movie. And I was like, Wow, I was going to talk to him about his divorce. I wasn’t going to be, you know, a jerk. I’d be like, Hey, so what happened to the hair? You know? Yeah. My friend, it comes alive like vinyl. I’m like, Who is this guy? You know? And I did want to talk about the Sgt Pepper movie because I was so fascinated. But he’s very touchy, so well, and he was in a bad mood. He was because it was VH one. I’ll never forget. It’s one of the first interviews I did Hey Up and my engineer is behind the camera and I’m talking to him and, you know, I’m sitting there and I’m I forget. Peter Frampton yells at my engineer. Ed, will you stop moving? You’re moving around. I’m trying to ask him. I’m trying to pay attention to you. Ask your question again. And I was like, Ah, I see. That was the first year the show. Had that happened in the second year, that would have gone completely differently. I would have been like broken New Year’s. Okay, it’s so.


Buzz Knight [00:38:50] Great. Can you can you hear yourself? You can’t make this up.


Nik Carter [00:38:52] Now, man. I’m here because I love the guy. I love the guy. I was just like, Oh, come on, man. But again, I also get, you know, we all have bad days. And it’s funny because one thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of personalities or radio or TV people don’t realize is this is work for them. You know, I remember when we first started, you know, my talk channel about music volume, my boss said, Oh, it’s going to be great because, you know, artists going to really want to talk. You know, they don’t really get to talk on music radio. And I’m like, Yeah, but, you know, when they’re doing interviews, their promoting something, so it’s work. So now you’re saying, Oh, they could talk for an hour if they want. I’m like, oh, that’s like saying, hey, you know, you can, you can work overtime for no extra money, right? You know, and I don’t think people think about that, but. You know, hopefully if you’re doing justice by somebody. When you’re told you have 20 minutes, you know they don’t. They’re not looking at their watch. It was I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November. And again, I grew up. A huge fan of The Commodores, Lionel Richie. So not so much, but I respect what he’s done. And when Lionel Richie got in, it was myself and two other people from the channel. We were doing mostly tandem interviews. But, you know, my my coworkers knew that I was a huge fan. And I was literally told 2 minutes. And I was like, okay. And, you know, he was beyond amenable. I asked him one song about one question about going solo. Then I said to him, Tell me what you remember about the night Bob Marley and the Wailers opened for The Commodores in Madison Square Garden. And he looked at me because how do you know about that? I said, That’s great. And, you know, he just said he said, Man, I don’t even remember very much, because Bob invited me down to his dressing room. And stupidly, I went down there and the smoke. I couldn’t even tell you about the show after that.


Buzz Knight [00:40:58] So it’s great. So.


Nik Carter [00:41:00] You know, that’s it. I mean, and I find half the time artists don’t mind if they feel like you’re being respectful and know who they are. It’s just their handlers that are like this don’t insist on. It’s this Avril event. Don’t ask anything about her Lyme disease. She just released an album written entirely about her Lyme disease, you know, and she brought it up and I was just like, All right, well, go with it. And I look up and I see her and her publicist in the hall like, you know, doing this, like doing the slash. And I’m like, she’s following me, talking about, Yeah, sounds weird.


Buzz Knight [00:41:32] So let’s close with crystal balling. Looking at the future for you. It’s a couple of years from now. Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing?


Nik Carter [00:41:42] You know, that’s my problem. I don’t really know, because I. I feel like I want to do something that’s going to allow me to flex the few muscles I have. Because the thing is, you know, I’m. I’m. I had a long talk with somebody. I was actually on a panel with somebody about imposter syndrome, and I suffer from that really, really badly. I think I think when I’m at my best, I might not be the best, but I think it’s really not anybody else around. That sounds like me, you know, whether it be in terms of just turn of phrase when talking about music or actually talking to somebody or asking somebody, you know, an interview question or whatever, or, you know, just as I say, like my my good friend Erin O’Malley, who is in Boston still, she’s been there like 22 years on mics, one for one. She said to me, she says, you’re the best interviewer I’ve ever seen. I was like, No. But then she said, No, you want to say? And I said, Why? She said, Well, because people don’t even realize it’s a good job. I said, Well, that’s the thing. I just want to have conversations about, yeah, I want to talk to people. I mean, I hate, you know, what it says here in your bio that, you know, I just I, I as cliche as it sounds, I find people fascinating. I got to tell you, the more I hang out with my dog, the less I like people.


Buzz Knight [00:43:04] But amen to that.


Nik Carter [00:43:06] I don’t know. I mean, you know, I’m getting a little long in the tooth for TV, but who knows? Who knows what you know, I really don’t know. As I say, I just I just left my job after seven years. I do a lot of voiceover. I’d like to do more of that. I just feel like there’s there’s there’s ways to connect that I don’t know. I don’t even know if the mainstream has really embraced him yet. I mean, again, everybody in their grandmother has a podcast now, so I don’t know if I’m looking forward to that.


Buzz Knight [00:43:35] But you arereferring to me as your grandmother.


Nik Carter [00:43:39] My grandmother was never so cool. My grandmother never ran a rock station. My grandma, I remember when my grandma, when I when I got my my left ear pierced, my grandmother’s like, what are you, some kind of sissy? And I had, like, long hair, like I was trying to be prince on a bad day. And, you know, as long and straight. And I remember I came in off of the out of the rain, and it sort of blew it around just to hit the window around like, Yeah, pretty much. It’s called punk Grandma. Yeah, you look like a punk, right?


Buzz Knight [00:44:08] Well, I’ve enjoyed this so much. I got to meet mint. I got to see you. Oh, yeah. This on last minute notice, which is even more fun. .


Nik Carter [00:44:18] Because I needed an excuse to, like, pontificate about myself a lot. I loved it. Guess every bit of it, because I’m sure she’s sick of hearing and she’s like, when you go back to work, I’m so sick of hearing about your little stories. I’m so sick of hearing about you getting drunk and making out with a band of the moment acts or whatever.


Buzz Knight [00:44:37] I loved every second of it.


Nik Carter [00:44:38] Oh, you as well, man. I love it. Thank you.


Buzz Knight [00:44:40] Thanks for taking a walk.


Nik Carter [00:44:41] So I loved it. I love it. I don’t get to see this this side of Central Park usually. I’m usually further up.


Taking a walk with.


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About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.