Student works dream job while attending OCCC
“I am not a cowboy cause I can’t rope and ride. I can ride but I can’t rope,” Owen Pickard said. Pickard, 19, is the disc jockey for KKNG country from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
Rummaging through his grandparents’ closet, Pickard stumbled across a black-and-white photo of his dad working as a college disc jockey for KGOU, and said he thought, “I would like to do that.”
Pickard said it all started as an English assignment his junior year at Moore High School. He called KKNG country and asked if he could shadow one of the disc jockeys for about an hour, and ended up staying the remainder of the day.
Pickard said he apparently made a great first impression and was given the opportunity to return the following summer.
During his junior year of high school, Pickard became a country music performer, playing at the Rodeo Opry in Oklahoma City. Not long after, he and his parents moved to Nashville.
This is where Pickard got his start performing at a local joint called Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge off the Broadway strip in Nashville.“I mainly played for tips and food,” Pickard said.
Family, a cheaper education, and a girlfriend ultimately brought Pickard back to Oklahoma after a short stint in Tennessee.
When he returned, he continued to work for the station he loves. Pickard said he has been a part of the KKNG family since 2008 and hopes to be there long into the future.
“I look forward to going on the air,” he said. “It is always exciting.”
Before going on air Pickard said he thinks to himself, “Let’s pump these people up, not like Richard Simmons but country style with less spandex.”
Pickard said the 3, 4, and 5 p.m. hours are live, while the 2 and 6 p.m. hours are mostly recordings unless breaking news occurs.
Pickard said the highlight of every work day is when one of his regulars, a blind 84-year-old woman named Olivia calls him right at 3 p.m. on the dot.
“It makes my day every time,” he said. “She is so sweet.”
Broadcasting professor Gwin Faulconer-Lippert said she is proud of Pickard.
“He is the only student I have ever had that has his own billboard, that reads ‘Owen Pickard afternoon drive on KKNG,’” she said.
“Owen Pickard is so talented. He won second in the statewide commercial competition for a 30-second commercial about Libby’s Cafe in Goldsby,” Faulconer-Lippert said. “He should have won first. He wrote the jingle and voiced the spot. He was robbed, in my eyes.”
Pickard said he would like to move into television, but hopes to always keep radio part of his career.
“I’m just very fortunate to work in radio,” he said.
“But (even) if you are working at Ace Hardware or Wal-Mart, do everything you can to show those employers that you are a hard worker and willing to do anything with a good attitude.”