We had the good fortune of connecting with Carly Evans and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carly, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Working in a 24/7 medium like radio and podcasting, with ALL of the 24/7 social media, it can be easy to let work consume most of your time. For much of my 19 year career, I don’t think I had ever heard the term “work life balance,” much less did I know how to achieve it. I don’t think very many of my bosses had either…or at least, they weren’t sharing with me.
I think I was confused when I first heard “work life balance.” Work isn’t life?
My friends used to joke that there were certain times of the year that they knew they just wouldn’t see me or hear from me. I would go to concerts with friends and live tweet/Facebook the whole thing because “it’s my job.” I would check into places on social media. Had to show I was out “living my best life” and supporting clients, right?
Eventually, I realized how much I was missing out on by being the “go-to girl” for every live event. How I wasn’t actually experiencing the concerts because I was so busy letting others experience it through me (and, let’s be honest, a concert through live tweets is no way to experience it anyway). How, by posting where I was, I ended up small-talking the night away with people I barely knew, instead of my best friends or closest family who were sitting at a table waiting for me.
When my now husband and I started dating, he started putting on radio stations other than my own when we were in the car, or putting records on at dinner rather than radio, because I would constantly obsess over little things that I needed to fix or I’d compare my station to others. It was so frustrating at first, but now I am so thankful he did that.
It took a while to accept that balance was in fact possible and that it was absolutely okay/necessary, if not encouraged, for me to take time for myself and not constantly focus on work. Having a solid support system and talking to others experiencing similar circumstances helped tremendously.
I am now fiercly protective of my time outside of work and very cautious of what I say yes to that may dominate any of it.
Thankfully, I have very supportive bosses and colleagues that feel the same. Sure, if it’s an emergency, I’ll grab my laptop, juggle things around for an interview or run to the station after hours, but that’s typically not the case.
Things that used to be panic or anxiety inducing are now usually no big deal.
That was also somewhat of a silver lining during the pandemic. I think a lot of us learned that the world and our businesses would keep spinning if we weren’t several places at once and that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to take care of your mental and physical health and your personal relationships.
It doesn’t come over night, and it’s an ongoing battle. I’ve said no more times than I can count…typically to the same people. I still say it at least once a week, but it’s so worth it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been in radio for over 19 years now. I started in, what I call, the “micromarket” of Hays, Kansas, my hometown as a night and weekend, part-time board operator.
Eventually, they let me be on-air. Different stations and dayparts later, I was promoted to Program Director upon graduating college.
Hays can be a hard place to leave, for a variety of reasons. I had always thought about it, but put it off for one reason or another…mostly fear.
After 11 years in radio and three as a Program Director, my desire to experience more, to see what I could really do on my own outweighed the fear of the unknown.
I ended up getting a job running a station and on-air in Manhattan, Kansas. From there, I was offered mornings and Program Director in Texas. And eventually, thanks to my now-husband getting transferred with work, I found my way to Colorado and my radio home in Colorado Springs.
For a bit there in that transition between Texas and Colorado, I really thought I’d be leaving radio for good. That’s when a friend, who had started a Texas Country/Red Dirt-focused podcast called The Troubadour, asked if I would join him as producer and co-host. That’s coming up on four years ago now and I just love it. We’ve talked to everyone from up and coming artists, radio promoters, venue owners, actors like Barry Corbin and all out legends like Ray Benson and Ray Wiley Hubbard to name a few.
Little Western Kansas Girl, me, still has trouble reconciling that I’ve actually done all this…and that I started the journey alone. Easy is definitely not a word I would use to describe my career. I thought of quitting many times. There have been countless tear-filled phone calls to my parents, sisters and friends. I was so close to moving back home so many times.
But I say “started” on my journey because I picked up so many “companions” along the way. So many who were on similiar, or even completely different paths, but each one made me feel less alone and made this big world feel that much smaller. People need people and I will never deny that.
I am most proud of the relationships I’ve created throughout this past almost two decades…although, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music nominations, as well as five Texas Regional Radio Personality of the Year wins is pretty cool, too.
Overall, I think the biggest lesson is that if you never try, you’ll never know. I could just as easily still be safely doing radio, or something else, in my hometown, or any of the markets I’ve gotten to call home in my life, but I would always wonder, “what if.” That would be unbearable, I think.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My bff and I have actually done this!
Hiking through Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space and Cheyenne Canyon.
If there’s time and weather permitting, taking the cog up Pikes Peak or the train through the Royal Gorge.
Shopping in Downtown Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
Brunch at the aforementioned spots like Bon Ton’s in OCC, Manitou Brewing in Manitou.
Dinner at The Rabbit Hole, Bonny & Read or Edelweiss and beers at one of the amazing breweries we have in COS.
Of course, this list is by no means exclusive or exhaustive, they just seem to be the places we hit up more often than not.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Number one on my list would be my very first radio mentor, Scott Boomer. We unfortunately lost him in July of 2020, but he took a chance on a young college kid who really wanted to try this radio thing. I could probably write a book about him, but I’ll leave it at his words of wisdom he’d bestow upon me (sometimes in a raised voice) whenever I was getting a bit too stressed, “Carly, we ain’t curing cancer. This is radio, it’s all going to be okay.” I still hear his voice in my head.
Second, my former morning show co-host, Roger W. Garrett. We started as coworkers and became family. He’s been one of my biggest supporters and shown me how a long radio career and a strong marriage can go hand in hand.
My radio sisters, Shawn Rock and Megan Vaughan. No matter if we’re scattered across the country, or in the same market as coworkers or competitors, these women are my foundation, supporters and sounding boards professionally and personally.
And of course, my husband, parents and sisters. They’ve had to put up with a lot throughout my career, but they’ve always been my biggest supporters and safe place when I’ve needed them. I’m very lucky.
Other: Visit my station at MyMountainCountry.com and my podcast at TheTroubadourPodcast.com
Personal Photo: Jon Eddy Productions
Image 1: Texas Regional Radio Music Awards
Image 4: Malissa Ahlin Photography