10 Questions with Justin “Drex” Wilcomes
It’s been a few years since Justin Wilcomes packed his bags and set his sites on Canada. The announcer, who enjoyed stints at triple j, Nova and Triple M, joined a number of Aussies who’ve decided to ply their trade abroad.
Over the past decade, Wilcomes became “Drex” and successfully moved from a “music jock” to “talk back host”. The Aussie expat answers Ten Questions from Radio Today.
- What prompted the move to Canada all those years ago?
I made some bad decisions (my own doing), which kinda stalled my Australian career somewhat. I wanted an opportunity to prove myself to a fresh set of eyes and that for me was in Canada.
- How did you find the transition from Oz to Canada?
It was easy, and kind of made for fun radio along the way. We’re both very similar countries in many respects. But many words mean many different things. It’s really all about the words and I made sure I did a heap of research before moving here … It should be like that with any market.
Plus a good pair of winter boots. (Blundstones work a treat).
- Your show is very different from what you were doing back at Nova and triple j, how did the move to talk evolve?
I had been interested in talk for many years and while I worked at triple j, I was an avid listener of [Stan] Zemanek on 2UE. I was amazed at his ability to bring theatrics to talk radio. I wanted to be like that.
Most of my jobs have usually led to me getting fired for something and it was the same for Canada. I was hosting a rock morning show and I’d said something offside to a politician, which led me being fired from a regional station making the 6pm news. I was then rehired the very next day at CFOX in Vancouver and was there for six months, playing the same stuff I used to play at triple j.
CKNW was in the same building as CFOX and the NW PD heard me rant a few times and thought it might play well on CKNW.
I started filling in on weekends and have hosted their evening show, then drive for the past two years and now their national overnight show across Corus’ seven talk stations.
- What has been the biggest challenge?
I moved here as a broke 30-year-old. Learning how to adult properly has been the biggest challenge.
- Any controversies?
See question three (the bit about getting sacked).
- Have you kept your Aussie twang?
I still have my Aussie accent, but it has a Canadian twang to it now. It upsets my father greatly.
- How long do you see yourself staying in Canada? Is it home now?
I’ll be a citizen later in 2018, but I’ll always be an Aussie. I was born in one of the greatest cities in the country, the home of the great 2ST Nowra! You don’t get any more Australian that that, unless you’re from Walgett. Then you get the trophy.
- Have you had any of those ‘pinch me’ moments working in Canadian radio?
Every day. It’s been a blessing. The coolest thing was when I got a chance to bring our Canadian drive talk show to Australia for a week to broadcast from Queensland.
It was great seeing Australia again through the eyes of my co-host, who’d never visited Australia.
- The new show you’ve launched; how would you describe it?
We’re gonna be on seven talk stations to start with: Toronto, Hamilton, London, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
I know our network team is clearing more stations to take our show as we chat, so the more the better!
It will be a phone-in show with the day’s biggest headlines, celebrity guests and national newsmakers but keeping it irreverent and a little cheeky for a late night audience.
We also have the news gathering power of our talk radio and TV networks behind us (Global News). We have correspondents in every major city in the country, the U.S. and across the world.
- Anything you miss about home?
Cherry Ripes!!! Send Cherry Ripes to:
“The Shift with Drex”
c/o 980 CKNW
700 West Georgia St.
Canada V7Y 1K9