It’s a good thing Cara Carriveau is adaptable.
Last year she was working the midday shift at WTMX (101.9FM). After her show one day she was told that she wasn’t going to be doing middays anymore, and that she wasn’t going to be working at WTMX. She and fellow Hubbard Media evening jock Lisa Allen from WILV were switching jobs.
“I didn’t’ see it coming,” she admits, “but in many ways it wasn’t a difficult transition at all. Physically, I was still going to be working in the same hallway, seeing the same people. I already knew and liked all of my co-workers. To me, that’s a really underrated part of a job. It really does matter. I knew I would still be having fun every day—that it wouldn’t feel like a job. Even the studio was easy to figure out. It faces the WTMX studio, so everything is exactly the same, but on the opposite side. It was just a matter of reaching the other direction.”
The musical transition from one station to the other also wasn’t that difficult. “I liked the music. Prince & Blondie are two of my favorites, and I had never gotten a chance to play those on the radio before. That was one of the biggest perks for me when I first started here. Although to be honest, I would play polka disco if that’s what the listeners wanted. ”
It’s a good thing too, because at the end of last year, that musical mix on the radio station started changing ever so slightly. When she started working there, the station was known as Rewind 100.3, and it played music from the ’80s and ’90s. Late last year, however, Rewind 100.3 tweaked its music list and became Chicago’s 100.3. Cara says not to make too much of that change.
“It’s not so much that we’ve changed what we’re playing, “she explains, “We still play those great songs from the ’80s and ’90s. We’ve just added more current material. You can’t really call yourself Rewind if you’re playing new music.”
While moving down the hallway and down the dial (from 101.9 to 100.3) was a piece of cake for the veteran disc jockey, the lifestyle change of moving from middays to evenings was a much bigger adjustment.
“I’m a mom of two, so that was a bit of a jolt,” she admits. “The worst part was that I didn’t get home until 1am, and the alarm goes off for school in the morning at 6:30. My little one is only 8, so I still needed to help him get ready for school.”
She also didn’t have as much time to date, even though her web profile on the WILV site says “She’s single and ready to mingle.”
“I DIDN”T WRITE THAT!” she says with a laugh. “These days I’d much rather spend my weekend nights with my kids.”
But the positive thinking Cara has found many bright spots in her new schedule. Some personal, and some professional.
“I’ve always wanted to volunteer at my son’s school and chaperone field trips,” she points out. “When I was doing middays that was impossible, but now I do it all the time. The other perk is that I’ve got all day for show prep—I don’t need to carve out special time. I have 5000 Facebook friends so I know what people are talking about—what they are posting and reposting in my newsfeed. That’s fantastic. A lot of times people also have hilarious comments. I go to work every day with a lot of material.”
She also has time to do interviews, something she has been doing for several years in a feature she calls Cara’s Basement. (Full disclosure: I once appeared as a guest on her show when my first novel $everance was released)
“I have a bunch of platforms for those interviews now,” she points out. “I have the website at 100.3 (www.wilv.com/), my Cara’s Basement website (www.CarasBasement.com), and I blog for the Local Tourist about what’s going on in the music scene, which gives me another opportunity to post my interviews.”
Her list of interviewees is pretty impressive.
“I’ve done over a hundred now,” she says. “Absolutely one of the biggest perks of my job is having the opportunity to chat with so many artists and celebrities. I talked to Dave Matthews after that poop-on-the-bridge issue, and I couldn’t figure out a way to bring that up nicely, but luckily he brought it up himself and gave a great apology to Chicago. Adam West was another one of my favorites. I called him at his house so it felt like I was calling him on his bat-phone. I turned into a little kid. I asked him what he kept in his bat-belt, and he said ‘You know, the usual, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and condoms.’ Just recently I was asked to moderate a question/answer session after one of Rick Springfield’s shows at City Winery. Not only did I get be on stage with him, I got to hug him afterwards. I GOT TO HUG RICK SPRINGFIELD!! ”
That’s the kind of enthusiasm that keeps bringing people back to the radio to listen to Cara. Right now, you can find her working every weeknight from 7-Midnight on Chicago’s 100.3 FM, WILV.