New Daybreak Alberta host Paul Karchut ready to be your weekend ‘co-pilot’

Paul Karchut is a mainstay at CBC Calgary.

For the past 15 years as director of the Calgary Eyeopener, he’s shared his passions — whether it be cars, skiing or food — with listeners and colleagues, all with an incredibly positive attitude.

Even after earning the opportunity to host his own show at the station, he’s humble as ever. 

“This is so weird,” he said to Calgary Eyeopener host David Gray in his debut interview as Daybreak Alberta‘s new host.

“I love being on this show, but 15 years, time for a bit of a change.”

Karchut’s voice will now greet listeners on Saturday and Sunday mornings, 6 to 9 a.m., on CBC Radio One in Alberta. He’s taking over Daybreak Alberta after longtime host Russell Bowers decided to move back to Newfoundland in December.

Karchut sits in the director’s chair along with his dog, Comox. (Submitted by Mackenzie Meyer)

It’s not a completely new role for Karchut, having filled in as host over much of the past few months, but he’s definitely ready to add his own personal touch to the program.

“It’s a cool show because you’re kind of doing it all, right? You’re teching it, you’re producing it, you’re writing the scripts, you’re finding the guests, you’re hosting it,” he said.

“It just means that there’s a lot of flexibility, and if there’s something you want to dig into and give it a starring role on the show, then you can just go for it and just sort of play.”

Who is Paul Karchut?

Karchut grew up on Vancouver Island, a self-confessed radio nerd. 

CBC Radio would often be on at his family home.

On trips to Australia, his interest in public broadcasting grew. Karchut’s cousin worked as a radio personality with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and would let him sit in on shows, sharing the thrill of live radio.

After high school, Paul spent four years travelling: biking across Canada, motorcycling the country’s north and skiing down mountains around the world.

When he returned home, he enrolled in a radio broadcasting program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. His first gig involved handling cables and microphones for CBC Vancouver.

Shortly after, he landed a job at the Calgary Eyeopener, and he’s definitely made his mark. 

He’s brought listeners a weekly ski report, an outdoor outlook, and, of course, his national Karchut on Cars column, analyzing the automotive industry, innovation and the future on four wheels.

Karchut continues to indulge his passion for skiing, often taking trips to the Rocky Mountains. (Paul Karchut/Twitter)

The column was  meant to run for only six weeks, but it’s stayed on the airwaves for three years.

“So Karchut on Cars has unfortunately seen its day,” Karchut said, when asked if the column would continue. 

Of course, no promises that a car story or two won’t pop up on Daybreak Alberta.

15 years of memories

For the Calgary Eyeopener crew, it’s a bittersweet farewell.

Over the years, Karchut has shared his signature silliness, whether it be racing through the streets of Calgary in ski boots, challenging a listener to a “ride-off” at the Calgary Stampede or eating a pizza topped with Carolina Reaper peppers.

“There’s something listeners don’t know about what happened after that,” Karchut said of the hot peppers story.

“I had to get back to the studio that day to be the technician on Alberta@Noon … let’s just say my stomach didn’t accept the pizza. So I was sitting behind the console with a garbage can, and as it returned into the studio — this pizza — the spiciness of the pizza aerated. And the producer and I are trying to take calls on Alberta@Noon while crying from the spice.”

For several years, Karchut has donned his lederhosen to help raise funds for the CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive. (Submitted by Mackenzie Meyer)

If it’s in the name of good radio, Karchut is there.

It’s a trait he hopes to bring to Daybreak Alberta listeners, too.

“I want to start a ‘meet the mayor’ series, walking the main streets of cities and towns across the province and talking about the issues facing each community,” he said.

“I want to feature Alberta podcasters passionate about a specific topic — whether it’s tractors or politics or quilting. If you have a great podcast, email!”

Along with his own fresh ideas, Karchut wants to bring great music, thought-provoking interviews and stories from across the province to the show.

So as you sip your cup of coffee this weekend, consider sharing your morning with Paul Karchut.

“As people drive out to the mountains or they just chill on the weekend flipping pancakes, maybe I can be their co-pilot. It’s really exciting.”

DAYBREAK ALBERTA with Paul Karchut can be heard Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 6 to 9 a.m., on CBC Radio One and on CBC Listen. Leave the work week behind with a great mix of chat, music and news.

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