Work A Job To Get A Job
March 17, 2015
I keep hearing that it's harder than ever to find a job in radio. Truth be told, it has always been hard to get a job in radio. This is a small fraternal business and if you last long enough, many of the same people will cross your path again and again. The key word is adaptation and the ability to learn whatever is necessary to stay relevant. Sometimes you also have to be creative when it comes to finding a place to fit in. I spoke with an air personality who has come to a crossroads in finding full-time employment.
Coach: So how is it going on the job front?
Jock: It's going. A lot of board op openings, a few part-time weekend possibilities, but finding full-time has been a no-go.
Coach: Are you open to moving?
Jock: Actually, my wife just got a promotion with her job and we are moving. Fortunately her company is going to move her. Just so you get a clear picture of my situation, I am working as a substitute teacher.
Coach: Do you know anybody where you are moving?
Jock: Not at all. Should I just start calling programmers in that market?
Coach: No, wait until you've moved and get settled in. Then start the process of applying, trying to set up lunch appointments, and connecting with OMs and PDs on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Find out if the PD has an air shift, call the request line or e-mail them; you might get lucky and get a chance to talk to them. Recently a PD told me that years ago, when I was doing evenings in Chicago, he had called the request line and I picked up. In fact, he said he had told me he was moving to Chicago and wanted to know what the job market was like. Apparently he caught me at a good time, because I told him who to call and what stations might have openings for jocks.
Jock: Okay, I can do that. What else can I do?
Coach: Another trick I learned; if there are any colleges or universities where you are moving to, offer yourself as a guest speaker and get to know the broadcast department folks. Many times stations cover their bases by listing jobs with broadcast/communications departments in various schools. As a matter of fact, I found the WUSN MD/evening job from the bulletin board by the administration office at Columbia College in Chicago. The funny thing was the fact it had not yet been posted anywhere else. To this day I still don't know how it made its way on to that board. When I saw it, I took the card off the board and applied immediately. I worked there for three years. You just never know.
Jock: That is a good tip; I never would have thought of that one.
Coach: Up until now how has your career been?
Jock: Pretty good, I got laid off about a year-and-a-half ago. Up until then, I had steady work in radio for over 12 years. Money-wise, I did okay. Along with my wife's job, we did pretty well. We don't have kids. I have my teaching certificate and was able to find some substitute work through a friend in the school system here.
Coach: Good move. Even when you find a full-time job, put your certificate to use and teach, even if it's a community college and adult education classes. Unless it is time prohibited, treat your full-time on-air gig like a part-time job and try and have more than one revenue stream.
Something else, I don't know if yours is the case, but I have had friends and clients with distinguished careers who never got past the first interview. A couple of years ago I was having a conversation with an industry friend about an interview he had with a PD. The PD was like a groupie asking what it was like to work for this or that person and this or that radio station. My friend never got a second interview and then I had a moment of clarity concerning his interview. The PD was intimidated and thought he could not afford my friend.
I told my buddy to make it clear in all his written inquires and interviews that his financial needs were in line with the current industry salary standards. In other words, make sure your future employer knows you are affordable. I am not saying sell yourself cheap, but put the potential future employer in a position to offer you the opportunity to say yes or no to a job.
Jock: Sometimes I forget what an insecure business this is. I can actually see where you are coming from. I bet I have missed out on some jobs because of that very reason.
Coach: Just stay patient and find something in your new town, even if it is part-time. Do the best job you can, make sure to show up to station events whenever possible, and be ready if and when you get the call off the bench to full-time. Because of your wife's job, it sounds like you have a support system that affords you the time to get a full-time job. I wish you luck and call to let me know how things are going.
Jock: Will do