Dave Mason is sitting in front of his microphone at Sports 1140 KHTK in Sacramento, finishing his final segment of the morning show, where he, co-host Carmichael Dave and producer Morgan Ragan have been on the air since 6 a.m.
When the 9 o’clock hour hits, Mason is off the clock, but not off the job.
“I was a kid that was worried about money when I was 5 years old,” Mason explains. “I was stressed out about the situation I was in, and sports was like an escape … a lot of people use sports as an escape from reality.”
Distraction may be an ironic term to describe Mason’s relationship with both sports and KHTK. The 27-year-old Roseville resident has been anything but since his teenage years, when he shared a bedroom with his step-sister and step-brother, inside an apartment that held two bedrooms and one parent. He was also dealing with his father being in and out of jail.
During broadcasts of Sacramento Kings games, the voices of KHTK kept Mason company. Sitting in his bunk bed with a headset, the future morning-show personality engaged the station with enough focus to allow him to later work inside its walls.
In 2006, Mason began screening phone calls as an intern for KHTK during Friday night shifts. He was a junior in high school. He spent the next five years working his way up the proverbial ladder before leaving with the station’s old morning crew for San Fransisco.
Jason Ross, a mid-day show host who has worked with Mason in the past, says his former partner’s passion for radio is amplified by his personal connection to KHTK, enabling him to approach his work differently than many peers.
“He’s really good about finding different angles of stories,” Ross explains. “If we have three local shows on, maybe a couple are always taking the same kind of general approach. He’s really good at finding different stories or maybe finding that same big story — but attacking it at a different angle.”
Such remarks on Mason’s work ethic are not unique. However, his colleagues also reference a lot more than the cliché of a young man resisting the hardship of his upbringing when they discuss what drives him.
“I think he lives, breathes, eats, sleeps sports and radio,” says Ragan, who claims to have learned everything she knows about her profession from Mason. “This kid listens to podcasts and other radio shows just to see what they’re doing so he can get better at his work … to say that he has made KHTK his world is right. He’s the most loyal person to this station.”
That loyalty brought Mason back from the Bay Area in 2012.
Coworkers say Mason continues to take a huge level of ownership in the place that employs him. Indeed, Mason likely spends more time at the radio station than he did in the old apartment from which he used to listen in.
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