Welcome to Episode 39 of HatRadio! with radio legend, Steve Kowch.
Anyone who knows anything about talk radio has heard of Steve Kowch or knows his work. Steve spent close to a half century in media, most of it in radio. He oversaw programming on major stations in Quebec, Ontario and nationally, and the kicker was, he hired Marty Galin and I, to be the Food Guys on CFRB1010, one of the highlights of our lives.
Steve was born in Montreal, Quebec. Like many people who evolve into superstars, his childhood was difficult. Steve was bullied at school, a lot. His dad was an alcoholic and his mom was unhappy and not encouraging of Steve. “My parents taught me what not to be,” Steve said. At times his mom would send him to bed without dinner because he was ‘a bad boy’. Really there was no food for in the house. “We were poor”, Steve stated. The family was on welfare. (55:02 mark) His bed was in the kitchen.
One day, 17-year-old Steve answered an ad for an ‘office boy’ with the Montreal Star newspaper. He sat on a wooden bench, ready to get on-air folk a coffee and do what was ever required in that crazy Quebec media world. His pay? $50 a week, enough to help out at home, and eventually to buy a Bulova watch. Steve was a star even then and his bosses saw that glitter in his eye and willingness to fly. Soon enough, at 18 years old, the young man was on the crime beat hanging out with cops, pimps and crooks.
Well, his mom didn’t like that, not one bit, and asked the editor to take him off that beat and put him on entertainment. That didn’t happen. Soon enough Steve was covering riots and the FLQ crisis (11:25 mark of show). He was bonked in the head by a rioter and had a shot gun stuck in his face by a soldier with a threat to shoot him if he didn’t retreat his position. He moved.
Steve’s career was beginning to take off.
At some point my guest switched over to radio and ultimately took charge of news and programming at two of Canada’s largest talk radio stations: CJAD in Montreal and CRFB1010 in Toronto. He was also the national director of the news talk format for Astral Media’s six talk stations. He loved it and spent forty years as a program director mentoring Canadian radio icons like John Moore, Bill Carroll, Mark Elliot and Jim Richards.
Steve was a professor at The School of Media Studies & Information Technology at Humber College and The School of Communications Arts, Seneca at York. To his class he’d stressed the 25% rule – the importance of being among the 25% of media people who work hard, are diligent, shoot for greatness and have an unending drive to find something special within each story they cover. The other 75% watch the clock.
Today, Steve is retired and can take three hours shopping for groceries, because he’s a storyteller at heart and therefore finds a yarn to weave wherever he goes, including the check-out line. He’s the author of ‘Making it Big in the Media’. And Steve is nuts about his wife, Liz and their two daughters.
Have a listen to Episode 39 with Steve Kowch. He puts himself out there, unabashedly, so that you get a real true sense of this man’s character, pockmarks and all. Steve Kowch is a beautiful human being who has always been intent on helping others grow and rising above the challenge’s life has presented him with. Enjoy! Share the link and consider subscribing.
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