Front and Center: Kat Corbett Of KROQ
by Justine Souchack
Kat Corbett is an on-air personality for the world famous radio station KROQ. As host of the midday show and local segment titled Locals Only, Corbett has helped launch careers for a number of bands. She also hosts her own show on SiriusXM and has been credited for music supervising in several indie films. In addition to her extensive work history in the music industry, Kat has published her own short story, It’s Personal, on Amazon.
Kat will be joining WiMN founder Lauren B. Whitmore in co-hosting the 2018 She Rocks Awards on January 26 at House of Blues Anaheim in Anaheim, CA.
WiMN: How did you get into radio? Who were some of your influences?
KC: I began in college radio where I managed to work on my on-air technique. Practice is essential. It’s not as easy as it looks. As far as influences, I didn’t have any radio heroes. It was more about the music and getting closer to it. Radio is a device for a shared experience, and the microphone allows the announcer to convey emotion and information, which creates a different impact than listening to an album.
WiMN: Who are some of your favorite bands or artists that you have interviewed?
KC: Over the years, I’ve interviewed many artists, but the most fun and/or memorable would go to Foo Fighters, Courtney Love, Prophets of Rage, Scott Weiland, Robert Smith, Silversun Pickups, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beck, Garbage, Muse and on and on. I’ve been very lucky to have had moments with many great artists.
WiMN: You began your radio career in Boston, how does the music scene there differ from Los Angeles?
KC: Every city has its own vibe and I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when bands like Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Letters To Cleo, Buffalo Tom, Throwing Muses and The Lemonheads were all coming up. There seemed to be more camaraderie in Boston, whereas in LA since the industry is based here, it adds a level of intensity to the community giving it a much more competitive spirit. Both cities continue to have an extremely vibrant music scene.
WiMN: What is it like hosting your own show vs hosting Locals Only?
KC: It’s extremely gratifying. To be able to program two hours of unfamiliar music in a top radio market on a legendary station like KROQ is very rare. I get to be a small part of a big village that helps new talent rise to the top.
WiMN: What inspired you to write It’s Personal?
KC: Oh, you read that! I’ve always been fascinated by the gray area. Most of us are not all good or all bad. We fall somewhere in the middle. I was really interested in exploring the conflict of loving someone who did bad things.
WiMN: What’s your favorite thing about your job? Your most challenging?
KC: There are so many things I love about radio. I love being that “friend on the other end.” I love that a song I’m sick of gets someone else through their day. I love using my time on the mic to say something funny, helpful, or provocative. I look at it like the shortest stand-up routine.
Most challenging would definitely be the perception that I’m an extrovert. Yes, I go to shows and my life is quite “loud” but there are some anxiety issues. I’m not always the best in a crowd. I’ve chosen a profession where I sit alone in a box talking to myself. You don’t get more isolated than that!
WiMN: What advice do you have for women looking to work in radio?
KC: Work, work, work. When others are out on the weekends or spending the holidays with their families, you should be working. Pay your dues. A good chunk of my twenties was spent in the studio on weekends learning how to edit, practicing vocal technique, and doing overnights while my friends were out partying. Learn production, writing copy, and practice being on air, so that when someone gets sick or goes on vacation, you are an easy choice to fill in. Then you will be able to show the higher-ups how bright you can shine. Also, don’t wait for someone to ask you to do something. Anticipate what needs to be done and do it.
WiMN: Anything else you’d like to share?
KC: Since this is the “She” Rocks Awards, I’d just like to say to the ladies, I never had a female mentor. When I was coming up, other women were not super helpful or friendly and to this day it makes me incredibly sad. Don’t be those ladies. Be the women who lift each other up and when you get to my level, help foster a world of encouragement for the next generation of women.
You can learn more about Kat’s work here.