10 Questions with ... JT John Thomas
May 22, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started at age 15in a small market in CO, doing Top 40. By 21 was in Los Angeles ... by 28 I was a PD in Dallas. I've been on-air and/or a PD in L.A., Dallas, Detroit, Denver and more. Formats: Classic Hits, AC, Country, Hot AC, Classic Rock. Dayparts: All, including solo and team lead mornings. 10+ years off the air in radio software development (Music Scheduling/Research)
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
My voice work has been on fire, so I'm extremely grateful for it ... that's really helped. Just another learning experience. It's not like I'm living in poverty in a Third World country in a war zone. Think about it ... perspective is a good thing. It can ALWAYS be worse so, even though I'm a true realist, I tend to be optimistic about this.
2) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
I beat the crap out of these people about the job I just lost. I put together a kind of Dickie Goodman-produced piece with "MAGIC" songs (the station was Magic) where I'd say something and then the song lyric would answer. Then there was J. Ralph Carter in Pueblo, CO, who gave me my first full-time job. God rest his soul. I have this fear that when he passed there was a storage unit somewhere and it was overflowing with fake airchecks I'd made in the production room. I must've sent the poor guy a thousand in 10 months.
3) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Mornings or afternoons -- Classic Hits, Country, AC the most. I want to work at another place that has MOJO in the halls ... WOMC had that, KYGO had it, KHJ had it. There's nothing like that vibe.
4) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied?
Very quiet. I've had four solid contacts. Two were consultants who know my work. All seemed like decent opportunities and were very polite. Overall, the "boots on the ground" in radio still care and are a great group of people.
5) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Experience and a diverse skill set, coupled with long term success and solid references.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
7) 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?
I truly try to do that all the time anyway, so it's about the same ... I'm just home with the dogs all day now -- and I'm a huge dog fan, so the pups are lovin' it.
8) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
I miss the listeners. I know ... cliché, but I really do ... and the fun. The least: Same 300 songs (no matter the format), but having been a PD, I GET IT!
9) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
Life is what you make it. Family and health are what matters ... and KEEP perspective.
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?
No ... my experience and skill set have value and bring a lot to the table. Air talent is in the expense column, NOT revenue, and I get that. The key is, are your expenses bringing value and ROI? I do my best to give ROI to my bosses, the listeners and the clients, and I believe that has value.
My favorite new diversion is ...
Screencasting ... One VO thing I've done a lot of is software or website tutorials where I narrate while I capture the screens and turn it into video. I've done this for station websites where I've worked, too. Perhaps I should sell the service! "Teach your VIP club how to use those points."