10 Questions with ... Denis Prior
March 13, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I have been fortunate to work at some great stations and markets after starting radio during high school in Kansas, and moving to places like WTIX/ New Orleans, KQKS/Denver and KBEQ/Kansas City. After nearly four years in mornings in Omaha, I took a break to run a Bed-and-Breakfast in Maine, and decided I wasn't Newhart. More recently after a short time in Nashville, I landed in Grand Rapids. Budget cuts struck there, and after a year on the beach, I did News/Talk and AC here in South Bend, where I find my toes in the sand once again.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Two hours of "Las Vegas" on TNT at 1p ET. Actually, I'm writing for myself, and to help out others with their projects. I spend some time at the gym and when it gets warmer, I'll be working, so not as much time for golf.
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.
It sure isn't the same animal. I get discouraged and sad about the attitudes inside that have changed. It seems more people are interested in NOT losing their jobs, as opposed to how to make their jobs and station better.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
I'm not sure. I'd like to, even in a position that keeps me in touch with it. I'm hoping to continue as I think I have a lot more to offer. Besides, I can't work at Lowe's because according to my daughter, "I don't know how to fix anything."
4) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
After being released in April 2009 in Grand Rapids, I wasn't hired in South Bend until May 2010.
5) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Kick it open. I mean, be proactive and reach out to people, even if they don't post openings and let them know you're here. Then stay in contact with them constantly. Even if they don't have anything, I've found they may tell you when they hear of something.
6) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
I was once fed up with a station I worked for and decided to take the PD's repeated offers to come to work for him when I was ready. I was ready on a Sunday morning at 7:30, at his house while he laid on the couch recovering from mono. He never had a chance. Always negotiate while one of you is feverish.
7) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied?
It's hit-and-miss. I've had a couple stations actually send a real personalized rejection letter. That impressed me. There are some that keep you informed during the hiring process. However, on the flip side, I sometimes think the people you are attempting to contact to hire you are the same ones who tell callers, "I'll try to get that on for you as soon as I can" ... then nothing. I know there are a lot of us out here and it can be overwhelming, but a quick note of acknowledgment goes a long way sometimes.
8) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
"Why the hell would you want to work for us?" I didn't after that.
9) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
The last time it happened, there were so many changes, I felt like I was going to school everyday, not work because of all the new things I had to learn to do. I love learning new things. This time, it's knowing that this is a new world of radio and to survive and thrive takes opening your mind and getting your hands dirty.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
First parole hearing, Lowe's.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
I re-read "The Last Lecture" from Randy Pausch and Jeff Lazlow. "Great by Choice" by Jim Collins. "The History of the World According to Facebook" by Wylle Overstreet is a laugh out loud fun diversion.