10 Questions with ... John Garabo
June 14, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My first job in radio was producing Dr. Ruth Westheimer's show, "Sexually Speaking" on WYNY. I learned a lot (about radio, too!). That led to a full-time drive show at NBC. My career took off and brought me to great cities all over the U.S. and fun stations like KZLA/Los Angeles, WDSY/Pittsburgh, WWYZ/Hartford and KSKS/Fresno, among others. Most recently I took a position as PD/on-air in the Cayman Islands. While fun and exotic, even drinking rum on the beach while looking at scantily-clad women can get old. I missed my kids and decided to not renew my work permit. I'm living in New York City while I look for a new opportunity.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I'm a big believer in "The Secret." What you put out into the universe you get in return. I use positive affirmations. I'm talented. I've done morning radio for many years. I will get another opportunity and it will be a good one. I'm also strong in my faith and I think the power of prayer should not be underestimated.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
All those little projects that never got finished and a few that never got started are all falling into place. It's amazing how gratifying it is to accomplish these things. Everything from organizing audio files in my studio to filing material for future shows. I'm going to hit the air running when I start my next gig.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely. I still believe in our medium as a viable, personal source of entertainment. I'm as excited about performing on-air now as I was when I started 25 years ago.
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Be persistent. If you really want something, you have to work for it. Nothing comes easy. And if you're not willing to give your all, there is somebody else who will. Stand out from the others. It's not enough to simply apply for a job. Go the extra mile and you will get noticed.
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
All Access. It's the first place I go to when I want information on jobs, charts, Net News, etc. Now Joel said something about $20 if I said that ... (joking!) I love All Access!
6) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, emails, rejection letters, etc.)
Honestly, it's not what it used to be. To be fair to programmers today, I can appreciate the volume of resumes and mp3s they get, but a simple acknowledgement goes a long way. It is very rare today to get any feedback and that's unfortunate. As a PD, I always sent a short response thanking the applicant; giving them encouraging words and wishing them luck in their search.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Actually, I'm listening to more radio than ever before. I find myself tuning in to several markets to hear how the different shows handle the stories of the day, what type of features they're doing, how many spots they're running. It's interesting.
8) If you were offered a similar position to what you were doing for considerably less money, would you seriously consider taking the job just to stay in the biz?
Of course. It's never been about the money for me. The most money I ever made was also the most miserable I ever was at a radio station. The job I left that one for paid a third of what I was making and I was happy there for many years. It's about being a good fit with the community, the market, the station and its staff. I'm looking for my next great opportunity. Hopefully the salary will cover my bills so I can live better than paycheck to paycheck.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
You can't do it for the money. You have to have the passion. Have a plan B. Go to college, gain skills to be able to do other things in the event your radio career doesn't keep you employed consistently.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
I've always given 110%. When I start working again, I'll give 200%. I truly miss being on the air, talking to listeners ... and entertaining. It's all I've ever done or have wanted to do. I will not take for granted how lucky I am to earn a living doing what I love.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
"Self Matters" By Dr. Phil McGraw. It really helps you find your authentic self.