Kurt Parsons, radio show host and SCAD sequential art alumnus has combined his passions in the form of weekly podcast interviews with comic artists, writers and other pop culture icons on his new Web site Parsons grew up in Hannibal, Mo. and has been involved in radio since the age of 16.
He attended SCAD where he instituted SCAD Radio and was also the head of the sequential club, Action to Action. Now Parsons has returned to his hometown where he occupies himself hosting The Oldies Superstation, writing articles for Examiner.com, creating various comic and art projects and updating his new website with interviews, blogs and artwork.
Kurt Parsons gave an exclusive interview to District.
District: Tell me a bit about yourself.
Parsons: Growing up, about the only interest I had was in comic books and cartoons. It had been my intention to become a comic book artist from the time I was about 8 or 9 years old. Then, in high school, I discovered radio and sort of fell in love with it. I was able to get a part-time radio job in my hometown when I was 16 and continued working at the station until I graduated from high school.
I went to SCAD to study Sequential Art and at the same time kept my foot in the door in the radio business with various part-time jobs, including serving as the first General Manager of SCAD Radio.
Post-SCAD, I’ve been keeping busy in the radio business, working full-time in Savannah, Ga., Sedalia, Mo., and Morgantown, W.Va.
Every so often, I am able to find some time to do sequential art, and my stories have appeared in “The Florida Review” and “Backwards City Review.” I have a big project on the drawing board right now, but it’s a very long way from being complete.
District: What inspired you to create a podcast featuring comic artists and pop-culture icons?
Parsons: For years I’ve tried to figure out how to combine my interests in radio and comic books. Podcasting seemed to be the answer. As far as the pop-culture aspect, I’m doubling up on those in most cases. I’m aiming for interviews with people that are “mass appeal” enough that I can use them on my over-the-air broadcasts and on my website.
District: How do you get in contact with these people? Is scheduling podcast interviews difficult?
Parsons: It’s actually been much easier than I thought it might be. Basically, I send out invitations via an email that explains who I am and what I’m doing.
I’m sure that having actual credentials as a professional broadcaster helps my chances of getting a “yes” answer. The funny thing that I’m noticing is that it is usually the bigger names that I’m approaching that are the quickest to jump on board.
District: Tell me about your daily life. What does your ordinary schedule consist of?
Parsons: I get up at 5 a.m., though some days it is 3. I get to the radio station at 7 and leave at 3. When I get home, I usually have some sort of kurtparsons.com-related work to do, whether it is conducting an interview, editing an interview or working on the actual site. The amount of time I spend on that varies. After that, I spend the evening with my family.
District: Is it challenging to manage your time?
Parsons: Since this is all fairly new, I’m still trying to adjust to the perfect schedule. I can say that it is all getting easier as I get further into this project. I’m also fortunate that a lot of my writing and interview scheduling can be done while I’m at my day job.
District: On your website it says that you intend to publish at least one new cartoonist interview and one new pop-culture interview per week. How is that working out so far?
Parsons: I haven’t missed yet.
District: Did attending SCAD help or influence your career in any way, and did it build any connections with comic people you are contacting now?
Parsons: In so many ways, and not only from the academics. While at SCAD, I learned a tremendous amount about management (not only was I GM of SCAD Radio, but also president of Action to Action, which used to be the Sequential Art student organization), a lot about publicity and marketing, and of course, like every college student, how to make it on my own.
I loved my time at SCAD. So far, I have not contacted any comic people that I met while a student, but I’m sure that eventually I’m bound to send an email or place a call to Chris Staros, one of the publishers at Top Shelf Comics. I met him through a fundraiser that his company did with Action to Action.
District: On your website you say you’ve been a radio announcer since age 16. How did that begin?
Parsons: Around the time I was deciding that I was interested in radio I was walking through the mall one day and saw a guy from one of the local stations doing a remote at a camera store.
So I went up and talked with him. He happened to be the operations manager of the station and invited me for a tour. I went down and looked at the station the next week. Several months later he had a part-time opening and called me out of the blue and asked if I was interested. Of course I wasn’t doing on-air stuff right away. That didn’t come until about 4 or 5 months after I’d been there.
District: Your comic art has been published in both The Florida Review and Backwards City Review. Are you anticipating creating any more sequential projects in the future?
Parsons: I do. I’m working on something right now that I would like to submit to the Memoir Journal. I’m pretty interested in these literary magazines that are now taking an interest in comics.
I also have a more mainstream project—this is the big one I mentioned earlier that is a very long way from being complete—that I work on here and there. Unfortunately, with all of the other stuff I’m doing, the drawing and creative writing tends to get pushed to the back burner. It would also be nice to be able to do just a few pieces of art – drawing, painting, photography, whatever – to enter into local competitions, which I have flirted with from time to time in the past couple years. This, however, is way low in my priority list at the moment.
District: Are you pretty much living the dream?
Parsons: Not living the dream yet, but getting closer. I’ll let you know once my big project is finished.