How Caity Babs became the fiery personality behind SiriusXM’s Octane and Turbo
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Over the last decade-plus, Canadian-American radio host Caity Babs has made a name for herself in the rock and metal community through her neverending passion for music and charismatic personality. As the host of two successful radio shows on the SiriusXM Octane and Turbo channels, Babs spotlights the latest in hard rock as well as new and emerging talents, often alongside esteemed radio personality Jose “Metal Ambassador” Mangin. As one of the most influential radio hosts in the hard-rock community today, Babs has interviewed everyone from Deftones and the Pretty Reckless to Machine Gun Kelly. When she’s not on the radio seven days a week, Babs can be found hosting major events at North American rock ‘n’ roll festivals across the U.S., including Aftershock and Louder Than Life.
In 2022, Babs became the co-host of the online music competition series No Cover with Sleeping With Sirens vocalist Kellin Quinn. No Cover gives unsigned bands an opportunity to have their music heard and receive valuable critiques from a host of celebrity judges, including Alice Cooper, Bishop Briggs, Tosin Abasi, Lzzy Hale and Gavin Rossdale. After an invigorating experience filming the show, Babs has confirmed that she’ll return for a second season, which has also inspired her to continue venturing into the world of acting, television and film. The future is an open book for Babs, and she’s enjoying every step along the way.
So, I heard you used to work for Alternative Press several years ago. Can you confirm or deny?
Oh, my gosh. [Laughs.] Yeah, this was probably eight years ago, and I ended up being the Northwest correspondent for AP. I had reached out to them being like, “Come on, let me do this!” I wanted to get my foot in the door, and there was no better place to start than Alternative Press, especially because it was with all the music that I loved and cherished so much. It was really difficult honestly being in Canada, but I did my best.
How did you end up transitioning into the world of radio and hosting your own shows on SiriusXM?
It’s all thanks to [SiriusXM host] Jose Mangin, Josh Bernstein and Alternative Press, honestly. Jose specifically is a huge friend and is now a co-host of mine. He had been working at the company for a long time, and we kept in contact for years after we met while I was in Canada. It took several years after meeting him to work for SiriusXM because it was a little bit on the tricky side to get a work visa. I eventually moved to Los Angeles, and Jose ended up training me without telling me there was even an opportunity. Two months later, my boss Vinny called me and was like, “Do you want to work with us?”
You’ve been a host on SiriusXM for five years, so I assume everything is second nature to you now. What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up, get my coffee, sit down, and honestly the first words out of my mouth are “on air.” It’s easy to be positive when you wake up because you can’t be like, “Oh, I’m so tired.” [Laughs.] Sometimes I’ll go to YouTube and watch the newest music videos that were released during the week to get me in the feels if I’m not already there, but really, I just get right to it. I do two shows a day, seven days a week, but I’m lucky to be someone who has a lot of energy.
What new music is currently exciting you?
I love New Years Day’s latest single “Hurts Like Hell,” and honestly judge me all you want, but that new Nickelback single [“San Quentin”] is fire! The Canadian girl in me is screaming internally now that they’re back. There are also so many newer bands that are popping out of the gate, including Fame On Fire with their newest single “Welcome to the Chaos.” That’s what I love about Octane: It’s all of this new hard rock and helping these bands get exposure, which I love being able to do.
[Photo by Paige Sierra]
As an influential woman in the rock and metal space, which has historically been such a male-dominated scene, what has your experience been like, and what is your advice for other women who want to get involved in the same capacity?
It’s really hard, and it took me a long time to get to where I am today. There were so many times when I wanted to give up, but for some reason, I just kept going. I’m 31 now, and I was 18 when I realized what I wanted to do, so I took jobs where I didn’t get paid or was treated like crap. I would say networking, making your own videos, working your ass off and creating your own brand is important before trying to get into other ventures. The best advice I can give is to not give up, even if that sounds cliche.
How was your experience co-hosting the music competition series No Cover with Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn?
That was surreal. I didn’t think it was ever going to happen because we talked about this before COVID hit. When it finally came time to film the show, I was so nervous walking in there and second-guessing myself. I kept being like, “What if I screw up, or what if Kellin [Quinn] is so much better than me and I look like trash?” As soon as we did our first intro, I was like, “This is what I am meant to be doing.” Being able to be in the same room as [judges] Alice Cooper, Lzzy Hale, Gavin Rossdale and all of these amazing people — I miss it so much and am already looking forward to season 2. Working with Kellin was great as well, and we ended up becoming close friends.
What does the future hold for you now, and are there any new ventures you’re looking to explore?
I don’t see myself going anywhere from SiriusXM. I feel like I finally found my calling and found the place that I’m supposed to be because I don’t feel like I work every day. I love what I do so much. Eventually, I would love to have my own talk-show podcast with SiriusXM and do a Howard Stern type of thing. I’ve been doing that already a little bit with Octane where I bring guests into the studio and get video footage, which always goes super well.
The video I did with Vecna from Stranger Things went completely viral and was probably my favorite interview of all time, especially because Jamie Campbell-Bower is the sweetest person ever. I also want to get more into acting. I’ve always said that I want to be a badass bitch in John Wick. [Laughs.] Not a lot of people know about this, but when I was living in Vancouver and saving up for my work visa, I did a lot of little acting roles. It was always weird stuff, and I don’t know how many times I was an extra on a show like Lucifer. My first real role was for this WWE movie where I played a tattoo shop owner’s girlfriend, and we had to punch each other. It was natural to me, and I rolled right into it. Honestly, I would love to do more stunt work or badass shit like that if ever have the time.