10 Questions with ... Mark Vanness
January 31, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My radio career began in 1987 in Sacramento. From there, I've had the pleasure of working at heritage radio stations in Indianapolis, Providence, Syracuse, Trenton/ Philadelphia and Ithaca to name a few. In my 24-year career, I've programmed radio stations, hosted mornings, managed marketing and promotions departments, headed up production departments and even sold air time.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Looking ahead into the unknown during this time of uncertainty, you must lean on the belief in your self-worth, family, peer support and a good bottle of wine! Motivation isn't a new menu item just because I've suddenly become unemployed; it's always been on my plate morning, noon and night! It's a staple. Once you find yourself in this situation, you focus your energy and move forward. At press time, the vote by my tribe to send me packing still stings, but I hope to get back into the game after I win a few challenges on Redemption Island.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I have a honey-do list this looooooooong, so it's time to get some things done 'round here! Seems like a waste to not take advantage of idle time. The wifey's been gently complaining that the kitchen needs a fresh coat of paint!
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
That's a tough one. Yes, it's in my blood, my first love. Buuuutttttt, the biz seems so much more disposable and unstable. The industry that I truly live for and love appears to not be lovin' me back right now. However, my answer is YES! Just stick a needle in my eye!
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
The key for me is networking. I think that talent, an awesome track record, and the fact that I play well with others have also played a role. Getting your stuff to the powers that be at the right time on the right day also works. The earthquake of applications for every known position that opens in this business is mind boggling. There is no one way that works best for everyone, just be sure to spell everything correctly on your cover letter. The people receiving your package don't know you from Adam, so sell your "sizzle." What makes you great in 140 words or less?
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
Thank gawd for the World Wide Web and Facebook! Sign up for every social and professional networking site known to man! Network, network, network!
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
All I do is listen to the radio. I can't drive my car without the radio on!
7) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
When I had the opportunity to program my first radio station. I sat down, tapped my knowledge bank, put pen to paper and drew out a battle plan. I spelled out everything from music and mornings to marketing. I hired great people (talent) and gave birth to an environment of creativity and pride in ownership. In less than three years we were able to take a Classic Rock station, in a market dominated by contemporary music, to #1! I was so proud of my staff, both on the air and behind the scenes! We had so much fun, and became such a close family. When I left that radio station, there were tears all around!
8) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
Laughter, the birth of a new idea, community, socializing in the halls, making people's lives better, doing the unthinkable and impossible ... hanging out with nut-jobs just like me!
9) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
No way! I did everything right and to the best of my ability. I gave it my all and then some. Often I surprised even myself! I am the person who everyone likes working with or for ... not a mean bone in my body, ego in check and always willing to lend a hand or a shoulder. Wouldn't do it any other way...
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Part of me wants to talk you out of getting into this business. Part of me understands the fire in your belly and the need to throw caution to the wind. Just know it's not easy, so always have an escape plan and bottom line -- if you have the talent, go for it. If nothing else, you followed your dream and at least you tried. Oh, and master social media, blogging and all things web or Internet-related!
My favorite new diversion is ...
Making goofy fun videos with my family! I did one called Man, Woman, Child -- backyard survival.
I probably don't have much of a future in movie making, but it is a fun diversion. Oh, and stalking major movie stars. Lots of movies are being made in and around Albany!