Q &A with Suzanne Carroll

This section is about popular questions that I am asked. Perhaps you’ve got one you’d like to ask also!

Q - How did you get into radio?
A - While trying to define my career path after becoming a single parent in the early 80’s I took a job at an upscale club that featured jazz named Digby’s in downtown Toledo. The first Night I worked there two very important things happened, that looking back did much to alter my life’s path.

First, the jazz musicians playing that night became instant friends, and I became and instant part of the jazz scene. Second, I met the gentlemen who ran the radio stations that were housed in the top floor of the building where the club was located. I heard many stories about radio that night and I was hooked.

Shortly after I had occasion to be the cocktail waitress for the going away party for Paul W. Smith. Paul was heading for a NYC radio station at the time. He is currently on Mornings in Detroit on WJR. Paul was named to replace JP McCarthy after he passed away. Paul’s career started at WCWA in Toledo in the building where I worked!

For several hours that night as I attended to a very well served group I listened again to so many great radio stories, and they were all talking about work! That is when I absolutely made up my mind that radio is what I wanted to do. Something interesting, highly creative, rewarding, and fun!

Within a short period of time I went back to the radio guys I met the first night on my job, and began working in radio.

Q - How did you get involved in The Jazz Brunch?
A - I was asked by what was then a smooth jazz radio station in our community to re-create a jazz brunch show that had been taken off the air several years prior. They passed the rights to me as an independent producer, and I guess the rest is jazz history!

Q - What does it mean when you say you are an independent producer?
A - It simply means that I own my show. I buy the air time from the radio stations, I sell the advertising sponsorships, handle all the business matters, choose all the music, etc. It’s my small business, that’s grown to be a little bigger than I thought it would!!! I guess I should not use the word simple, but I do find it very fun and rewarding.

Q - How do you discover new music?
A - At this point, word of mouth from many contacts around the country, and much time following the paths of the musicians I enjoy, and those who play with them. Much new talent and new releases can be found within each new release. The Jazz world is a wonderful network of artists all who can play collectively, while totally supporting each other’s individual efforts. It’s from within that vast network of my favorite artists
that much of my collection is built.

Q - Who are some of your favorite artists?
A - To state favorites would be extremely difficult. Each musician holds a unique piece of magic, and there are so many I adore. I think I can safely say the show is made up of all my favorites! I do prefer strait ahead jazz.

Q - What are your inspirations?
A - That varies from severe weather influences, to major music events like The Grammy's, to just simply what mood I’m in on any particular weekend or what hot shows I’ve seen.

Q - How do you prepare for the show?
A - After all the sponsors commercials and such are taken care of throughout the week, I then attend to the music. My home studio is where I keep my collection of over 5,500 CD’S. Each Saturday I start by selecting the opening song. From there I weave together the variety of music to fill the four hours creating a map to follow on broadcast day. It is all timed out, and planned very well to accomplish beautiful musical transitions, and to allow time for commercial announcements.

I then load up the CD’S I have chosen and early Sunday morning I head to downtown Toledo to the studio at
WRVF to broadcast the show.

Although I do The Jazz Brunch live most of the time, a few weeks of the year I pre-record a show in order to take a bit of time off. I am able to record this entirely in my home studio for the radio station to input directly into their onair computer.

Q - How has MS affected you?
A - The MS has had it’s way with me many times over the years, but I am very lucky to have the type of MS that remits. I usually get most of the way better after an attack. (at least that’s the way it’s been so far)
I will tell you that dealing with the scary times is challenging at best. Having a wonderful husband who is
very strong by my side has been very helpful. He has helped me push past the challenges to reach for my
dreams and help me make them come true. I have a much different appreciation for everyday, and
every opportunity since my diagnosis.

Q - What has it been like being a young grandmother?
A - Absolutely amazing. I have never had so much love and laughter in my life as I’ve had since the birth of my grandchildren. We have so much fun together. I spend as much time with them as possible. They are truly, truly wonderful, and the fact that I am a young grandma allows me to be more active and involved with them, and I love that!!!

All three of my grand kids have been very interested and excited about radio since around kindergarten. They love jazz, and they love that their grammy has a radio show! Recording their Sunday messages that air on the show has been exciting for them as they have felt very close to what I am doing, and have become young celebrities which has been so much fun for them!

Q - Besides spending time with your grand kids, what do you do in your spare time?
A - Several years ago I began writing. I have completed a children’s book that I am expanding into a series, as well as working on a few full length fiction and nonfiction works.

Do you have question? E-mail Suzanne here!