10 Questions with ... Michael Bower
January 17, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
In 2008 I was hosting a sports/pop-culture game for EA Sports in Orlando, FL, where I was broadcasting nightly. In 2007, I hosted "The Bower Show" for the Maxim Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. And prior to that, I hosted mornings at KCXX/ San Bernardino, mornings at WTKX/ Pensacola, a night talk show at WDFN/ Detroit and a very successful PM drive show at KRZR/ Fresno.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I got into this business not for money and not for fame. I got in because I wanted to make someone's drive to or from work a little easier and a little more fun. I wanted to entertain. I wanted to make them smile while they were stuck in traffic. So feeding that entertainment tiger inside has been my key. Podcasts, stand-up comedy and the ability to do fill-in work ... I've been lucky enough to do some via ISDN to stations in good-sized markets where I can prep like I used to, communicate with producers and programmers and really put some fun and entertaining shows together. Nothing is a continual motivator like the success of that last show. The connection with the audience and knowing you've made an impact. It's like playing crappy golf all round, and then you birdie the 18th. You can't wait to fork out the greens fees for the next round. And I can't wait.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Luckily for me I took some money from severance and built a home studio for myself. My ISDN line has helped me land some awesome fill-in work. I have been working with WTKK/Boston, KIRO-F/Seattle, KTAR/Phoenix, KXNT/Las Vegas and sports with Nate Lundy at KKFN/Denver ... and I'm currently ready to book more fill-in work if you need me!
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.
For me, enlightenment always begins with discouragement. Some stations I fill-in for see me as nothing more than "fill-in guy." They ignore the reality that if they like me, I will come to their market and be their "local talent." But having the ability to do these shows with these amazing stations motivates me beyond belief. It has opened a whole new world of talk -- not political-based -- but news that is news to me with a storytelling approach. And I feel like I am a part of the forefront of what talk radio can be.
4) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely. In the past six months I have been told that I am "in the top six" finalists no fewer than four times. And in one case I had all but packed my bags for a move to a new market. With missing it by just that much, the reality is this business is my professional love and passion. I'm good at this and I want to continue doing it, evolve, do MORE of it. Frankly, I have no other marketable skills, so this HAS to be it.
5) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
This stretch. Just eclipsed the three-year mark (full-time). The fill-in work has kept my foot in the proverbial studio door, but this has been the longest. Thankfully my wife has picked up my slack, been amazing, and has allowed me to be, in essence, a stay-at-home Dad for my four-year-old daughter. I am equally thankful for my voiceover work, occasional voicetracking gigs and performing stand-up comedy for occasional sources of income and creativity.
6) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
It's getting better, that's for sure. That door is beginning to become a tad more open. There was a time that I was lucky to get a 50/50 draw on any kind of response (form letter, e-mail, restraining order). Now, I feel like PDs are really on a hunt for the best talent and want to get to know you. Once they do, the communication seems to be an open-door policy.
7) 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?
An enthusiastic "hell yes"! I have no doubt that I can demonstrate my value to any station wise enough to hire me. I feel like upon proving that I can help generate revenue then I will be able create a world where more revenue comes my direction. Revenue karma, if you will. Work hard, earn more.
8) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
When you get in, do what you can to do the best job you can. Leave that station and daypart better than when you found it. Have a goal. Have a sight. Don't ever give up and network, network, network. The reality of this biz is: It's not what you know, it's WHO you know.
9) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I'd love a job hosting or co-hosting a show that I believe in. Talk-based, but it could be on a music station. I want to create a compelling and relatable show. Something fun, that has laughs and creates laughter. No narrative, no talking points, just honest conversation that my audience can relate to and wants to be a part of. You let me know where that is and I'll set the boosters for warp drive.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
In five years, I will be doing a talk show on a non-political based station...possibly doing Sports Talk. Something fun, doing a lot of appearances, streaming video feeds of the shows, and producing programming for stations and continuing to do stand-up comedy in that market. 10 years: Maybe even moving into a programming/operations position but still involved in the day-to-day broadcast.
My favorite new diversion is...
Podcasts for specific businesses. Trying to match up what I do best with businesses looking for a boost -- and advertising opportunities -- to their website and social media exposure. Like pitching a weekly podcast to comedy clubs to promote their upcoming schedule of shows by interviewing comics, playing comedy from them, talking about them and giving a prospective ticket buyer the opportunity to hear the comics they may never have heard of before they purchase. Now, if I could just get one to buy into my concept...