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Jeremyatwork
Victoria’s modern rock radio station,
The Zone’s afternoon drive host Jeremy Baker
Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

Plugged in to the music

Disc Jockey, blogger and podcaster Jeremy Baker
keeps finger on pulse of local rock scene

By Mike Devlin,
TimesColonist.com
July 8, 2009

Jeremy Baker has listened to more music, written more words, and digested more news by mid-afternoon than your average music fan does in a day, myself included.

For that, I hate his bloody overachieving guts.

Baker, 29, hosts the afternoon drive show (3-7 p.m.) on the Zone, the city’s modern rock station. His irreverent on-air chatter is only part of the package: Within the span of any given week, Baker also writes five blogs, DJ’s for at least one club, and creates Capital Rock City, a half-hour podcast spotlighting local music.

“You have friends who start doing something then stop, because they don’t get the payoff. That’s backwards,” Baker says. “You’ve got to keep going.”

Every conversation I’ve ever had with Baker reveals a new nugget of impossibly hilarious information, from his affinity for scooters to his love of barbecue. He eats a lot of sandwiches, walks to work most days, and goes into the record books as the only guy in the radio business who actually pays for music.

And when he signs off on a blog post, he writes “Go with yourself,” which I believe is a reference to an obscure Fiona Apple quote. Baker is geeky enough to be cool.

At his core, however, he’s simply a music fan looking for way to make his passion pay the bills. Baker would love to whittle his duties down to one gig, thus allowing for more time with his fiancée, Coral, and their 16- month-old daughter, Madelyn. But the funds for the pair’s upcoming wedding, slated for Oct. 11 at the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas, have to come out of someone’s pocket.

“I would love to get paid and not work. Write a book, then collect some money, hang out with my family somewhere sunny and call it a life. But I’ve got a mortgage and I have to eat. To do that, you’ve go to be out there.”

I’m calling his bluff. When there wasn’t a mortgage to meet and bills to pay, and Baker was living in his parents’ basement, gigging with some buddies in a weekend warrior punk band, the dude was still non-stop.

He ran for mayor of Coquitlam at 18, while still a student at Coquitlam’s Centennial high school. That would strike nearly everyone as unusual, but Baker shrugs it off. “Young people run all the time. It’s when they win that it’s special.”

He doesn’t recall his platform, but he remembers the number of people who supported him.

“I got 404 votes,” he said, laughing at his shortcomings. “That was good for fourth, which was last place.”

Baker scaled back his aspirations and ran for Coquitlam city council the following year. He fared considerably better, placing 17th out of 30 candidates, but his dreams were dashed. He rejoined politics last year, running as a candidate for Esquimalt Council. This time, the results were less than favourable. He came dead last.

Baker said he might try politics again later in life, but only if he can dedicate 110 per cent of himself to the task. Then again, maybe not. “I keep losing, so maybe that means something.”

The radio business is a better bet. He’s a colourful, quirky on-air personality, prone to esoteric between-song breaks and revealing personal anecdotes. In short, the kind of radio jock which is in short supply these days.

“Seventy-six per cent of my job is spent keeping up with Jeremy’s antics,” says Sara Parker, Baker’s boss at the Zone. “But his Kermit the Frog laugh makes it all worth it.”

The broadcast bug bit Baker early. The summer after high school, while at a house party, he had the idea of hosting a campus radio show. Soon after, the Morning After Show on the University of British Columbia’s station, CiTR, was born. He later received a diploma in Broadcast and Media Communications from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, which he parlayed into a gig at the Zone in 2003.

Luck played a part in Baker’s hiring — he arrived for his college practicum on the day the station’s morning show host quit — but Zone management is extremely happy with his ratings. They should be: Baker has literally grown up on-air in Victoria, both as a professional and person.

“I was lot more of a hipster when I first moved to Victoria. Now, spending $100 bucks on beer just because doesn’t really fly anymore.”

Next time you see Baker at a gig, buy him a frosty beverage. He deserves it.

Mike Devlin email: mdevlin@tc.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Plugged+music/1770050/story.html

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