An Evening With Rich Christensen

When I interviewed Rich back on April 14th, I kept looking for the right word to describe him.  He would say something that would take me back a bit and I couldn’t think of the right word to describe it.  It was intense but that wasn’t the right word.  He wasn’t preachy, far from it. Although I’m not entirely sure my editing skill did him justice on that front.  The perfect word dawned on me as I edited the interview: Passionate.

This is a man that is living the dream.  Most people, myself included, wouldn’t consider being laughed off the phone by TV executives, having over 300 of my ideas rejected only to have someone else make thousands off a similar idea, and moving 11 times in 7 years the dream life.  Rich is fighter though.  He’s still trying to sell TV shows when most other people would be happy with resting on their laurels.  After all, Rich’s shows are the most popular on Speed and are viewed by a total of more than 10 million people weekly.

On a personal note, I asked Rich what would I have to do to pitch TV shows to a network and he went on the attack.  Like I said passionate.  I didn’t get much of an answer but I didn’t care.  I’m a business student.  Even I know, with only a degree in hand, that there is no way you give away your edge to a (potential) competitor.  You’re in it for number one.

The interview itself came together at the last minute. I got a call from Rich’s business manager while I was cooking dinner asking when I was available. We agree on a time the next morning and I got to eating. I get a call halfway through dinner saying Rich is available now. I wasn’t exactly ready for an interview then but you don’t say no to a TV star. Interestingly, Rich told me that he wanted to do the interview because he started in college radio. I kept playing up the Armdrop Live in Toronto angle because most people that are interviewed on CHRW only come on to plug something. To his credit, he didn’t come back with “Watch Pinks All Out Thursday nights at 8:00 PM” or “You can get details at armdroplive.com”. He wanted to talk about the racers, the fans, how much fun the event was. It was never about making money.

Sadly I’m tied down with only a 28 minute time slot on CHRW. I stretch each show another 30 seconds but it still wasn’t enough for the whole interview. I ran about 21:30 during the show but the complete interview was about 34 minutes long. The extended interview includes more detailed answers than on heard on air, more about Pinks, talking about breaking into the TV industry and more about selling TV shows to networks.

In the end, though, I’ve interviewed a lot of people for The Lowdown.  Some were self serving and/or bitter while others were generally disinterested.  Rich was a class act and easily my favourite (and best) interview in my four years at CHRW.

You can listen to the full interview here.

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