10 Questions with ... John Candelaria
October 25, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began my career as host of the Saturday night mix show at KANW/Albuquerque while in high school in 1982. During my junior year at NMSU, my big break came when Bob Perry, at KPRR, hired me full-time to serve as midday host and Production Director in 1986. With hard work and dedication, I was promoted to APD, MD, PD and eventually OM for Clear Channel/El Paso, and then Regional Brand Manager, working with Clear Channel stations in Midland-Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo. I joined Radio One in Dallas in June of 2002, and worked hard to take KBFB from 17th place to #2 in the market with Persons 12+ and # 1 in the target demo. I also played a key part in helping build the new Old School 94.5 format at sister station KSOC, as well as the Rickey Smiley morning show, one of Radio One's highly successful syndicated morning shows. I have assisted several Radio One stations while they searched for new PDs, including overseeing the programming of KKBT/Los Angeles and WHTD/Detroit. I am very fortunate to make a living at what I love most ... radio! I have PPM experience and I'm ready for my next challenge.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Hope is a wonderful natural drug. A simple phone call or e-mail response gets the adrenaline pumping. Really, my faith keeps me focused. I look to family and friends to keep me strong. I believe life is about your point of view. POV is very important because how you view the world defines your world. You can be filled with energy and positive emotions in any given situation or paralyzed by fear.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Spending more time with family than ever before! I cannot tell you how good it feels to drop off and pick up my kids every day at school. Some take that for granted. Not me. You see, I worked 12-hour days for 22 years, sometimes six days a week, so spending quality time with my family is a unique experience for me ... one I am really enjoying. I am getting organized and listening to all styles of radio and music on the web. By listening online, I am keeping up with music, promotions and studying multiple formats so that I am prepared.
3) 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 would read article after article of many talented people out of work and so few jobs, but I never "FELT" those words until now. I can sympathize with everyone in the situation I am in. I never thought much about how it is important to respond quickly to job inquiries until now. I vow to always respond to every job request as quickly as possible. People just want to know where they stand. Most of us want to know if we should continue to press for the job or move on. I also learned that I probably placed too much emphasis on the purpose of my job and trying to be the best that I forgot the art of being. Man, this is not rocket science. It should not have to be so complicated. It's radio ... it should be fun and simple. I can remember the most successful time in my career and it's when I was having the most fun. There are so few jobs in this industry. It can become disheartening when you love something so much and have to sit out. I believe one has to find the right fit to be successful. This relates to everything in life, from your career to your personal relationships ... it has to be the perfect fit or you're setting yourself up for failure.
4) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
If you could be any automobile what would you select and why? I wanted to say a tank to run over the competition, but I thought this one through....
5) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
My resume speaks for itself. I have PPM experience. I am battle-tested in market number-five, one of the most competitive markets in America. I have the energy, passion, dedication and a proven track record to make an instant contribution to any company. I have studied from the best and worked alongside the most talented people in the industry. I have won before and I will win again. I am ready for the next opportunity.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I listen to radio more now more than ever. The difference is I am listening to other formats and from different companies outside of my normal routine. Listening to radio is a big issue for any PD. I know this sounds very awkward. You see, today's PD is overwhelmed with conference calls, meetings, memos, e-mails and planning that I can tell you no PD is satisfied with the amount of time they have in a day to monitor his or her station.
7) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
Leading KPRR to 40 # 1 books in a row from 1992 to 2002.
Directing KPRR to the highest rating share in the nation for Top 40 stations in 1990, according to R&R magazine.
Taking KBFB from the 17th ranked station to the top of the Dallas market, knocking off KKDA-FM and KHKS. KKDA was #1 for over 10 years, with the dream team lineup consisting of: Skip Murphy, Sam Putney, Nanette Lee, Chris Arnold, Greg Street and Skip Cheatum.
Programming KBFB to the top of the 18-34 market in 2009, ahead of both KKDA and KHKS in Dallas.
Taking KSOC to a 3.3 share, the highest 25-54 share in the history of the station.
Starting KBFB's Car Show and Concert and holding the biggest "outdoor" Urban concert ever in the city in 2007, with over 30,000 people in attendance to see Ciara at Fair Park inside the State Fair Grounds.
I was a part of the initial development of the nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley morning show, now one of Radio One's biggest syndicated shows.
Small-Market PD of the Year finalist at KPRR in 1994 and 1996. Major-Market PD of the Year finalist at KBFB in 2004 and 2006. Marconi finalist in 2006.
My most gratifying moments are helping develop some of the most talented people in the industry.
8) What do you miss most about music/radio?
Collaborating and brainstorming fun topical promotional ideas. This is the only profession I know where you can take a hot topic such as the Michael Jackson drug-induced mumbling audio tapes from CNN and turn this into a feature weekend. I truly miss the blending of the art with the science.
You know, when working in a highly competitive pressure situation there are certain aspects of the job that you think at the time are boring and waste of time ... but after you sit out awhile you really appreciate all phases of the game. I can honestly say I miss most everything about the business.
9) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I idolized the wrong things. I let the job define me. I have learned you cannot control many things in life. Sometimes, hard work, talent and competence alone do not translate to the success you believe you deserve. I am amazed by the support from those in the industry. You find that there are real caring individuals who truly are concerned about your well being. I really appreciate the moral support from many in the industry who are real friends and who show a sense of class that goes way beyond work, including the competition across the street.
10) 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?
I am always open to negotiation. Every day millions of Americans face this same issue in today's economic conditions. Radio is obviously not in the same shape it was in 2002 and 2003, and not even close to when I arrived in Dallas nine years ago. Many great talented people on both the radio and record side of the business must re-adjust and rework the plan. Most will find it almost impossible to make the same money they were making when they left the industry. I won't price myself out of a job.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
Jon Gordon's "The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work." It places everything in your life and career in proper perspective. Jon puts us back in touch with the higher calling upon our lives which is often lost in everyday life. I recommend you read this if you feel that you are stuck, or have lost passion in your life.