10 Questions with ... Jason Addams
October 11, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I grew up in Chicago, so I've been fortunate to hear some amazing radio. My high school (Curie Metropolitan HS for the Creative and Performing Arts) had a professional TV studio in it. So early on, I thought TV was where I'd be.
I went south to college at SIU-C only to find that underclassmen were not really allowed to touch the equipment until junior year. Someone suggested I sign up for a shift at WIDB, the SIU campus station, and that was the end of TV for me. After doing one show, I knew radio was what I'd do as a career.
After working my way up to WIDB's GM, I also started at WCIL/Carbondale, and that's where my professional education began. I would drop everything on Monday afternoons to head to the station and see what my PD, Tony Waitekus, was adding to the playlist. Why Meatloaf? Why not Joe Public? It was a truly amazing experience. To this day, Tony's crew are like family. It was a very special environment and I was so lucky to be a part of it. Thank God Tony needed someone to play the Casey Kasem show on vinyl Sunday mornings.
I've been blessed to work with some very kind, smart and talented people. I spent time with Tom Gjerdrum at WZPL/Indianapolis. Much like WCIL, it was a special place to have fun, learn and do radio. I continued my tradition of showing up to music meetings with Tom and Pat Paxton. Chumbawumba? Yes, please.
I was also recruited by my old friend Mark McCrazy Holland to come to Austin, TX and work at The Beat in morning drive. I arrived shortly before 9/11 so it was not your typical morning show experience.
I worked for Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall Of Famer Ken "Mac" MacDonald as a PD and morning guy in Lansing on two occasions. Mac is an old school, block-and-tackle broadcaster. And he ran the most purely programming outfit I've ever worked at. He looked after me like a son and that's hard to top.
I spent four years with Tim Huelsing and Craig Jacobus at South Central Media in Evansville IN. It's another "mom and pop" crew that really knew how to get the job done. They broadcasted every day like they were in New York City. We had very good ratings and two amazing morning show hosts in Brad Booker and Atom Smasher. I'm lucky to have been a part of that fun.
I'm a student of broadcasting and I can't wait for the next learning experience wherever it may be.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Lunch with my girls, treadmill, The West Wing on DVD and more sleep than I usually get!
2) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
I've never been more passionate about radio. Yes, it's changing. Its metamorphosis is today's challenge and that's what I do for a living. Where are the listeners and how do I get out in front of them? How does the digital world change our strategy? What will tomorrow's success factors be? All of my previous experiences led me here, but if I don't remain a student, I won't be relevant. Change is not the problem with radio ... its resistance to change hurts us all. I still love what I do and I can't wait to get back to it!
3) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
I admit I'm not the greatest at networking. But I have a group of friends and colleagues who know people, including hiring managers. I've created my own resume website www.ThisRadioLife.com. My job is to get that URL in front of as many eyes as I can. And AllAccess.com has been a HUGE help!
4) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
Leighton Peck is the OM/PD at KS95 in Minneapolis. I sent him 52 minutes of audio from my morning show in the hopes of securing a PM-drive spot.
After about a week I sent Mr. Peck a dozen roses and the card said, "After 52 minutes of passion, I usually get a call back." I included my phone number.
That same day I received an anonymous call from what had to be someone in the office who read the card and got curious. I also received a call from Leighton, who was a perfect gentleman. We discussed my audio and the opening and he congratulated me on my cleverness. I didn't get the gig, but he and I dated for a few months. (That is not true.)
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I'm a personality jock/PD. If you have an opening that lets me have fun and win listeners during my show, I'm in. If you have an opening that lets me coach the team, execute the game plan, have fun on-air and win listeners, I'm in.
6) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
Why do you like guacamole so much?
7) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
There's nothing like being the first guy in the station's history to hit #1 12+ (and key demos) in your first book.
I've managed to raise some funds for some worthwhile causes over the years, along with winning an IBA award for a Public Service campaign I created in Indiana.
But the real answer is ... my biggest career accomplishment has yet to come.
8) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
I miss the great people who made so many experiences better through their hard work, great personalities and passion for radio. I don't miss all the meetings.
9) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
My first job will always be as a father. In the first few days of being unemployed, I spent too much time thinking about what comes next. I should have spent more time reassuring my kids that all was okay. They spent the first couple days worried and that was my fault. No one likes uncertainty. My girls are a little older now and they're very smart. They pick up on these things and I was too consumed with myself. I fixed it, but not fast enough. I'd give anything to spare them any fear or worry.
It's been some time since I was out of work. In 2011 I'm a confident broadcaster and I know I'll be back soon. In 2011 my three daughters are old enough to know that money is important. So parenting lesson learned. Not only are we spending more time together, but it's important for me to stay positive and be strong for them.
And there's never enough guacamole when you're just kickin' around the house.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
"Persistence is Omnipotent" is a quote from Calvin Coolidge. It's my favorite.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
My favorite new diversion is ...
My friend Carli Rae insisted that I get Doodle Jump for my iPhone. She kicks everyone's butt at it. I'm not so good, but it's a fun diversion for sure.