Will I Ever Work In Radio Again?
April 2, 2013
Making adjustments is a part of life ... there's puberty, turning 21, growing old, weight loss, moving, changing jobs, death, etc. If you're a jock between jobs, find something constructive to do and be on the lookout for opportunities. Expand your search and look for jobs in all formats. Last week an old acquaintance reached out and we discussed his future.
Question: I'm an old dog who has been out of work for over two years. It is hard to find anything out there. Do you think radio is over for jocks like me?
Answer: I don't have all the answers, but I have a couple. Once radio returns to the business of radio, experienced broadcasters will be necessary to rebuild and make the product viable again. The dominance is over, but with vision, "Intelligent Gut" and a re-definition of success, traditional radio could thrive again.
The election and re-election of Barack Obama clearly demonstrated that old media (Radio, TV, and Print) has learned to incorporate new media -- e-mails, the Internet, text messaging, blogging, web videos, mp3s, social networks, smartphones, music downloading, and file sharing web companies.
It is difficult to play "Follow the leader" with so much economic uncertainty. This is why it is hard for some to make moves to reinvent our industry. The legendary PD Buzz Bennett once told me, "Radio is like an addict; it will have to bottom out and admit the problem before it can begin a recovery." The nice thing about mistakes ... they don't have to be permanent. Radio is in a readjustment period.
I definitely believe you still have a future in this business or something requiring the same skill set like infomercials, audio books, or a digital music provider similar to Music Choice. Meanwhile, if you have access to a production room or audio editing software, keep your skills sharp by doing simulated shows a couple times a week. Keep applying and at some point someone will need your help.
Moving on Up
It seems like yesterday when I asked a PD friend of mine when he thought I would be ready to move up in market size. His answer: "You are asking, which means you are ready." As a coach I get all sorts of questions on the subject, like this one.
Question: Do I need an agent to get a good, large market gig?
Answer: There are no surefire ways of getting a gig, but if you are in a financial position to afford an agent, I say give it a shot. But no matter what you do, make sure your resume and aircheck demo are in order. I get a lot of business from veteran broadcasters who never had to formally apply for a job. I had a conversation with a young lady who said that until recently, she had always gotten gigs by referral.
Ah yes, the good old days and the grapevine or buddy system, when most posted employment was just a legal formality and decisions had already been made based on an aircheck passed on from one PD to another. This practice still happens but not as much as it used to. I once passed on a job in Miami at 96X and recommended an associate who got the gig. Years later the same PD was now in Chicago and ran into me on the street. We exchanged phone numbers and a few days later he called and offered me a job to do the evening shift.
Although the good old days are gone, networking to increase your visibility and hone your skills is still a good practice. Join Facebook and LinkedIn, make friends with PDs and ask for their opinion on your air work. You will still have to apply for the job, but networking may give you an advantage with some.