As the host of Keepin’ It Real on the Women’s Radio Network, K.C. Armstrong gives talented, up-and-coming women a voice and, by way of his riveting interviews, provides them a platform with which to educate and inspire listeners. A long-time associate producer of The Howard Stern Show, Armstrong joined WRNW1 in June of 2014 and has been helping interesting and innovative females from diverse backgrounds share their personal stories and secrets to success.
Armstrong was raised in Suffolk County, New York and played football at Western Kentucky University for head coach Jack Harbaugh. Though best known for his work on radio and television with Howard Stern, Armstrong has also acted in three movies — Death4Told, Grace and the Storm and Secret War — and in soap operas such as Guiding Light and As the World Turns, and he stars on the comedy DVD series Meet the Creeps.
K.C. Armstrong’s show, Keepin’ It Real, airs Monday through Friday from 1-5pm ET on wrnw1.com.
I grew up on Long Island, the son of an English teacher and gym teacher/coach. My father only knew two emotions… silence and rage, LOL. My older brother was 6’4″, 275 pounds and thought it was a great time to beat the living heck out of me… that’s where I learned how to be fast with a quick right and sprint away. He is my best friend next to my mom and I am an idol to his two kids, who I spoil every chance I get. My parents ran a wrestling camp in the summer, so when my friends went to graduation summer parties, I was loading mats into the U-Haul to wrestle with Olympians all summer.
I decided to get into radio after my brother would send me VHS tapes of Howard Stern’s E! show.
What are your fondest memories of your college football career?
My fondest memory of college football was proving everyone wrong. I was small out of high school and was on the second worst team in the state. Everyone told me I could never play Division 1 football because of my size and my horrible team. I walked on. Got beaten up badly, but managed to earn a full scholarship with hard work and became the university’s first two-year captain. My greatest feeling — next to the camaraderie of my teammates — was rushing for over 180 yards in one game as a quarterback, which is in the top 100 of all time in the NCAA record books.
During your time as a producer on The Howard Stern Show, did you have a favorite recurring guest?
As a producer for Howard, I did have a favorite guest. It was Elegant Elliot Offen. He was a verbose, strange guy that ran miles around NYC in heels and a leotard. He would come on the show and yell at anyone he felt did not appreciate his genius. He used huge words which nobody understood, and I think he even called me a “lugaroo,” which I still don’t know the meaning of. He was so entertaining and he loved me because I always treated him with respect.
How has your life changed since leaving The Howard Stern Show?
My life changed since leaving the show in many ways. During the show, I battled depression, drug and alcohol abuse and got involved in bad, unhealthy relationships. I left New York to go to a California rehab and stayed four months sober and in treatment. I ended up leaving and made very bad choices. I became homeless, starving and was arrested seven times. I was lost. I didn’t know what my place in life was. I just wanted to find my next meal. I look back on this time and can’t understand how I’m still alive. I was shot at. Stabbed, in jail and in poor health. I lived hard on the edges of nowhere, doing stand-up comedy for 50 bucks a night in between being a bodyguard for escorts. I lived the life of a criminal with a conscience, always looking for some sort of acceptance.
Bad relationship after bad relationship, I finally turned my life over to Christ. I’m no great example of a Christian, but there were times I had no money or place to go except my Bible in a Denny’s bathroom. I put my faith in God and it led me back home to be with my family in New York who never gave up on me.
How did the opportunity to host a show with the Women’s Radio Network come about?
The opportunity for me to work on WRNW was the biggest blessing besides my family. I was contacted by Jeff Burton, who was trying people out to interview succesful women on his station. I think he gave me the chance because he knew I had stumbled but still had a good heart, and I have a talent to bring out the best in people and help them even when I couldn’t help myself. He gave me a tryout for a few interviews, and he saw I fit perfectly. I cared about women and sharing their stories of overcoming obstacles and making the best out of situations that most would give up at. The people I interviewed felt comfortable, empowered and safe with me… the funny thing is, their stories did more for me than anything else. I was around positive, caring people that made me want to be better. I enjoy each day I get in front of the mic.
What do you enjoy most about hosting Keepin’ It Real?
I talk to women that are so kind, helpful and inspiring. I love them all and I think if you listen, you can hear it in my voice. I’m humbled and grateful for these incredible women.
Who would be your dream guest on Keepin’ It Real? Is there anyone out there that you’d really love to interview?
I’d have to say my grandmother just so I could talk to her again… She was funny, caring and a great parent and she made great Jello for me every time I visited.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me is studying and researching my guests, so I can give them the best interview they will ever have in a half hour. I usually go home, make myself dinner and watch the news. My old wrestling coach lives around the block, so I often sit outside and play chess or listen to music with him. It should be noted that I have wrestled him many times on the front lawn and, since I’m bigger and younger, I always win. He hates it.
Who do you think wins the Super Bowl this season?
I’m not sure but I hope they cover the spread and I bet on them. LOL, just kidding. I’d have to say Seattle or San Francisco.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone just starting out in radio, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to be a pain in the ass. If you want something, then take it. If they say no the first time, then do something that showcases what you can do for the station… write something, produce something, just don’t call back and ask if they changed their mind. Before I got the job with Howard, I rented a computer and wrote a bit or ideas every day until I had the job. Be relentless and show the bosses that you will outwork anyone and you can be counted on. Hard work is the only way you will get what you want.