10 Questions with ... Dave Nelson
March 27, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
It seems I always wanted to be in radio. Some of my earliest memories were of my sisters and I doing "shows" into our tape recorder. Next came the Mr. Microphone, which I extended the range of and did actual broadcasts throughout my neighborhood. At the time I didn't know that was probably illegal. I got my first real radio job after graduating from Brown College in 1990. Twenty-two years and seven stations later, I find myself "on the beach" for only the second time in my career, but of the two this has been the longest.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
The main thing I do is tell myself that things could be much, much worse (think 3rd World country, kind of worse). I also treat being unemployed like a job by doing certain things at particular times and sticking to a routine. Exercising regularly helps as well.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I realized early on that you can't look for a job 24/7 so I decided to do the closest thing to radio as possible and start podcasting. Each week I host three-hour-long science fiction-based shows. This also gave me a chance to wake up the sleeping geek in me that was dormant for way too long. I'd never done Talk radio before, either, so it helped me hone those skills as well.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Yes, definitely! For a while I was applying for jobs outside of radio, but then I realized that I didn't want to throw away a career I'd spent so much time building and to quit doing something that I loved so much would be a mistake.
4) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
I've only been on the beach a couple times, but this has definitely been the longest stretch. It's easy to tell that there are far fewer radio jobs than there used to be, and a lot more people competing for the openings that do become available. Losing a job in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression also doesn't help either.
5) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your family and friends that you probably did not have time to do while you were working?
Yes, for the most part. I'm not married and I don't have children, but I have been able to spend a lot more time with my parents and siblings. That's the only real chance I get to not think about the fact that I'm unemployed. Otherwise it's always there, in the back of my mind. It is nice to slow down and have time to concentrate on other things though.
6) What do you miss most about radio? The least?
The people and being in such a creative atmosphere is what I miss most. I can live without the constant deadlines and being rushed for time though.
7) What have you learned about yourself, others or life in general in your downtime?
I've learned that it's more important to be happy in life than anything else. Another thing is that I have to trust myself that I've got the talent to succeed, which I do.
8) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
Having too much ambition and not slowing down enough to enjoy whatever it is I was doing at the time.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Never stop learning. Radio has changed so much in the 20-plus years I've been in it, and it will continue to do so. Be ready for anything by keeping up with technologies and trends. That way you'll be ready for whatever this industry becomes and at the same time you'll be indispensable for current and future employers.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
First, I will never take having a job for granted again! I'll cherish the fact that I'm working in one of the most creative industries in the world but I will come back to it from a different perspective with fresh ideas and thoughts for the future.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
This may not be the most traditional of choices but my pick would have to be "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline. Not only does it tell the tale of an underdog who ends up winning while never compromising his integrity, but it's also a geeky science fiction story set in the future with tons of 1980s music, game and pop culture references. - The End.