What advice would you give the next generation of broadcasters who are seeking to make a career in the radio industry?
Rich Davis, KDWB: Never think that you are above doing anything that will get you to where you want to be. Always be available and most of all be PASSIONATE. You can’t teach passion.
Tommy Chuck, WIHT: Do it! We need your fresh ideas and creativity! Of course, iHeartMedia is the place to be.
Jared Banks, KUDD: Work hard! Success and good luck are tied directly to working hard and trying to be the best at whatever you have going on right now! Drive vans? Be the best driver the station ever had! Run a board? Run it so tight everyone asks for you by name for events! Never act too good for a gig and never be afraid to get your hands dirty and work!
R Dub! Z90: My advice hasn’t changed over the years, even though the business has. Perseverance and hard work always wins. You have to love the business, want to be in the business, and be willing to do anything for the business. If you said “yes” to those three items and have even an ounce of talent, you can do anything you want in this business.
Tias Schuster, iHeartMedia: Self-start and self-promote. Don’t walk into a job saying, “I’m willing to learn.” Walk into the job already knowing the fundamentals of radio. Monitor your favorite radio station and truly dive deep and monitor what they do. Subscribe to every industry newsletter possible and become a constant student of the business. Know a little bit about a lot of things. From Photoshop to video editing to writing copy.
Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: Your goals and interests should expand beyond a singular piece of the industry…learn as much as you can from everyone you can and that should continue long after you reach your goals. Return every phone call and email. Remember that arrogance is a sign of insecurity so be humble and remember that every job you get will be because someone knows someone so don’t burn any bridges.
Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: First, learn all of the basics so you understand them. Then, break the rules. Challenge traditional thinking. Radio needs a good dose of innovation, so try new things. Experiment with content both on-air and online. Entertain. Make people feel something on the other end of the radio. Learn to connect emotionally so people feel they know you even if they've never met you. Never forget this is show business, bring the 'show' every day. Choose carefully who you work for, if they won't let you be you, quit and find a better place to work. Take intelligent risks. And most importantly, have fun...remember, it's only radio.
Heather Deluca, WSJO: Generic won’t cut it. Less on-air jobs means programmers are being more selective than ever and looking for uniqueness and personality. Also, it’s so crucial now to be able to know how to market yourself across all social media platforms, connect on a more immediate basis with your audience, and promote yourself and the station as a ‘brand’.
Valentine, Y100: Be ready and willing to work, work, work, but never lose touch with the dreams that landed you in radio. It can be crazy at times, but if you remember why you’re doing it you will always be in a good place.
Terrie Carr, WDHA: Learn as much as you can about video, editing, podcasting, etc and become your own digital brand.
Derrick “DC” Cole, WLAN: Network! That isn't even for the radio industry, that's just great advice for any situation. Who you know will can give you the advantage in any opportunity.
Rozy Myzal, hardDrive: Don't set your expectations too high! No seriously, be yourself. Emulate what you love about the craft of creating compelling listening for the folks on the other side of the speakers. But do it your own way. Learn the BUSINESS side of it, too. It's not just the music and what you say between. Have a purpose. Do it honestly. Keep your ego in check. Be a team player. Sound like you're happy even when you're not. Be aware of what you do or say has on others. And be ready to do the crappy jobs before you get that big break. And think like a FAN! Make everyone a star!
Rob Roberts, Q100: My first job in radio was filling the coke machine, sweeping the floor and washing the van. Be willing to do anything to get your foot in the door and willing to do anything to keep your foot there. Paying dues never ends.
Mike McVay, Cumulus Media: Be true to who you are, but be prepared to learn to work around others to accomplish your goals. The generations before you may slow you down. Be prepared to work around them or push them to get out of your way. The need for immediacy is greater today than ever.
Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia: Welcome to radio! You’re in the best position of anyone in this awesome industry right now, simply because you are just getting started. Please try to forget everything you’ve known about radio, whether as a casual listener or maybe even a big fan of a specific station or radio show. It’s changing so fast, we actually need you to help us invent all the new ways to engage listeners and consumers of our brands. If you’re hopeful to become an air personality, we’re going to need you to be YOU. Be real, be yourself and just talk to people, and hopefully you’re a little bit funny too. You’ll know by about day two whether you’ve caught the radio bug…it’s a sickness that won’t go away, so just accept it.
Haze, KHTS: Slow down! Take the time to learn and don’t expect success to happen overnight. Build your brand and enjoy every moment.
Frankie V, KSSX: It is the same advice I gave my brother Mikey V when he was starting, always wear a smile on your face no matter what is asked of you! We are all fortunate to have the opportunities in this business that we do, so there is no reason to not smile, it goes a long way!
Brian Mack, WXXL: Be passionate about the art of radio and be an advocate for it and its future. Learn to be great at running a business, constantly learn from others (and other businesses). Never give up your fight at being the best you can be. No matter how tough it gets at times.
Java Joel, WAKS: Learn as much as you can, don’t expect to make a ton of money (especially at first!), don’t be an entitled little millennial. Instead- WORK for your what you want. Listen to as much radio as you can. Study the greats. Read as much as you can about the industry/art form. Make sure you’re doing it for the RIGHT reasons – not because of the pay, “prestige” or means to meet girls/guys. Do it because you can’t imagine doing anything else.
Chris K, KDND: You’re going to have to be authentic to stand out in a world with so many audio distractions. There will always be a place for a hard-working talent who’s willing to go beyond doing an entertaining show, but is also willing to put themselves out there physically and socially to create a bond with their audience.
Joey Brooks, WMIA: Learn every aspect of the business and be ready to adjust as technology changes. Master brand building for not just your stations but your own personal branding on social media and digital platforms.
Paul Kelly, WWAC: Find an entry level position – even if it’s off air – and then show up. Be there. Be around. So many people in this business got their first break by BEING THERE. Someone doesn’t show up for a shift, someone calls out at the last minute, there’s no one else around and there’s a spot that needs to be cut NOW. Be there.
Mike Rossi, WSTW: Broadcasters must be ready, willing and able to tell great stories on all the platforms now available. The expectation is and will be relating to and relaying stories to your listener, viewer and reader. Skills as a writer, on-camera talent, sound engineer, photographer, and videographer will be as important as your on-air chops. The multi-tool players will win the future!
Matt Talluto, WYBR: Listen to your Mom and have a back up plan!
Pat Paxton, Entercom: Just do anything you have to do to get your foot in the door. Mop floors, take out garbage, and most important, latch yourself onto people who are doing the job you want. Learn as much as you can. Don’t worry about the money, that will come in time if you truly love what you do and never stop learning.
Jeff Hurley, iHeartMedia: Learn it all. Marketing, PR, sales, on-air, production, traffic, etc. Throw yourself into the entire process and absorb everything you possibly can. This is no longer an industry of uni-taskers. Our best players can wear multiple hats and understand different areas of the station.
John Reynolds, WNKS: Study the previous jocks and program directors…and network, network.
Mike Miller, WHKF: Changes will occur. It’s important to stay open minded and exceptive to changes. Learn all angles of this industry before just wanting to be on air. The best thing that happened to me when I was 16 was not being allowed on air as a night show intern. I had to learn to run the board, prep a show, do production, do remotes, sit with sales, etc. I learned it all before I could even crack the mic and it was the best teaching method ever. Network. Learn. Grow. Share.
Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: Learn everything. Embrace change.
Kobe, WWHT: Expand your worth by being as versatile as you can and learn as many technical skills as possible.
Terry O’Donnell, WKKF: Work every opportunity you get, prove yourself to be invaluable. Also, get me coffee.
Kobi, WNRW/WLGX: Be patient! Learn everything you can in every area. Be a sponge!
Eric Chase, WVKS: Ask yourself, is that the hill you want to die on? In other words, do you really want to fight THAT battle? Is it worth the grief? What's the 'win' in it? In short, with your youthful avant-garde energy and creativity, try to mix in some diplomacy and maturity.
Reid, KZZP: Work hard. Never say no to any opportunity or extra work. Learn everything.
Willobee, KRZQ: I would advise that anyone who wants a career in radio learn how to do every job in the industry. The broader the skill-set, the more job security.
Brian Michel, iHeartMedia/Atlanta: Stay persistent with your goals and what you want to do. The lack of a deep bench any longer will make it really advantageous for those who work hard.
Bennett, WZMP: Say yes to everything! Learn everything. and remember you're never too good to board op!
Chris Michaels, FM 100:Network with as many people as you can. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the biggest PD’s and personalities in the country. You’ll be surprised at who will respond, and will be more than willing to help you. Be available at all times. You never know when it’s going to be your turn to step up to the plate. Be humble, and have a strong work ethic.
Chuck Damico, WBEN/WMMR: Have a “Plan A”
Toby Knapp, WIHT: Be bold. Be fearless. Learn everything. Be able to do everything. Don’t say no unless saying yes starts to affect your health or quality of life. Know when to take a break and take vacations as often as possible. Study the great ones. Take risks. Fail. Know what you want, don’t be afraid to say what that is even if you ask and the answer is no. Believe in yourself. Get a therapist. Love what you do but remember to love those around you. Trust your team and love them like family. Have great coaches and mentors. Screw up and get back up when you do. Don’t lie to your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stay humble and foolish. Give back. Be selfless. Pray.
Kevin Kash, WWEG: The advice I'd give would be to learn as much about radio inside and out. Wear many hats to gain experience. Be confident and be persistent.
Chris Payne, KRZQ: Less is more. It’s not always about you. Research the local non-profit(s) you’re passionate about and brand yourself with them. Hold yourself accountable for your actions.
Next Week's Question Of The Week:
In the spirit of Halloween, which music, entertainment or sports celebrity from any era would you like to dress up as, and why? e-Mail your responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Jon Zellner EVP/Programming Operations iHeartMedia