Mixing it up at Radio Perkins

Popular morning hosts Karson & Kennedy share the secrets of radio success with student DJs at Perkins School for the Blind

The three hosts of Karson & Kennedy in the Radio Perkins studio

The hosts of Mix 104.1's morning show shared some tricks of the trade during an interview with Radio Perkins. Photo Credit: Anna Miller.

January 19, 2016

On most days, Karson & Kennedy, the hosts of Mix 104.1’s morning show, are the ones asking the questions. But their roles were flipped during a recent interview on Radio Perkins where they offered candid advice to several student DJs.

“Be yourselves and more people will want to listen to you,” said Kennedy Elsey, who co-hosts the popular morning show. “People want to hear who you are, the struggles you go through every day, the funny stuff that happens at home. Stay true to that, and the people will follow.”

Kennedy and Karson Tager, along with sidekick Ryan “Salt” McMillan, were guests on “The Conversationalists.” It’s a Radio Perkins show hosted by two students from the Cotting School, a school in Lexington serving students with special needs. Perkins students listened outside the studio as the Mix 104.1 trio offered a behind-the-scenes look at the radio industry.

The first takeaway: morning radio is not a job for late sleepers. Pre-show meetings start at 5 a.m. daily, and each host is expected to bring ideas to the table. It could be something they saw on the news or a personal story with an entertaining twist. When a topic sparks debate, that’s a sign it’s worth bringing on the air, Kennedy said.

“By finding those things that make us argue, we realize we’ve found something that will be interesting to talk about,” she said. “If it breeds conflict or conversation, then you know you’ve hit on something good.”

Students who want to work in radio should listen to different shows and formats, since not every successful idea is completely original, Salt said.

“The great thing about radio is we all borrow from each other,” he told students. “You’ve just got to do it in your own way, put your own twist on it.”

Radio Perkins is the Internet radio station located at Perkins' Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology. The studio features state-of-the-art equipment and is completely accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired, or who use wheelchairs. Working at Radio Perkins gives students an opportunity to strengthen their communication, vocational and technology skills.

Listen to the interview »