10 Questions with ... Gus Knorr
March 12, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started out in radio four years ago as a college freshman in Milwaukee, when I began hosting a weekly radio program that primarily played oldies music for the college radio station at Marquette University, WMUR. I continued to do this throughout my entire college career, though I gained more practical experience in radio as well. Eventually, I was hired as the Assistant MD for WMUR, before being promoted to MD.
In addition to college radio, I also have worked for a cluster of commercial radio stations as a college student. I served as an intern in the promotions department for the six stations owned by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment in Milwaukee, which led to me being hired for a part-time position as a producer for Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network. This lasted for seven months, until I was laid off, thus proving to me how naive I was to once think that those things never happened in the radio industry. In December of 2012, I graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcasting and Electronic Communication, and since then, I have been looking for a perfect opportunity for me to get my foot in the door. As a recent 21-year-old college graduate, I would like to work in any entry-level position in radio that would allow for future growth opportunities, though my main sights are set on any on-air talent or announcing position.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Listening to lots and lots of music, reconnecting with some of my old friends from college and high school, catching up on some reading, using several Groupons the day before they expire, and hoping that at some point in the next seven months, the Packers come to their senses and fire Dom Capers.
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 can get discouraging, especially considering that it seems like many jobs require more experience than what I currently have, but even though I've only truly been on the "outside" for two months, as that's how long it's been since I graduated from college, I plan on continuing to look for work, remain persistent, and realize that no matter how hard it gets, my brother's four years older than me and he's still looking for an ideal job.
3) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
Aside from allaccess.com (of course,) I've found that most of the state broadcasting association websites are helpful when it comes to listing jobs, but if they're appropriate for my skill set ... or are even actual radio jobs to begin with, is often another story.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Any on-air personality or announcer position for either a Classic Hits/Oldies or Classic Rock radio station. I often say that I was born in the wrong decade due to my love of these types of music, but I've got a passion for those types of music, and in radio, you've gotta go with what you know.
5) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Probably more than I used to, as I've gotten to drive longer distances for several events and learn about some of the stations in different markets, like Madison. I've even branched out a little bit and listened to stations that I hadn't heard before within the Milwaukee market. I like to drive around aimlessly, so that has given me plenty of time to listen to the radio.
6) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
I miss the people the most. There's just a strange vibe I get at any radio station I've worked at where I feel like I can relate to people on a more personal and interactive level. Even with all of the grunt work, occasional lack of recognition, and low pay, the overall "at ease" feeling at any radio station where I've worked over the years more than made up for these negatives.
7) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
Not interacting more with people who worked in different departments, primarily when I was at Clear Channel. Now more than ever, I'm quite aware that in radio, it's much more often about who you know than what you know.
8) 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?
Absolutely. Money's money, and for a recent college graduate who wants to move out of his parents' house at some point in the future, that's big.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
If you're a college student, apply for internships early and often; both at multiple stations and in multiple categories. If you want to help out in an area like promotions, like I did, that's great, and while it can be a fun experience, consider branching out and truly finding your niche within all the different facets of the radio industry. If there's a college radio station where you attend, do whatever you can to help out there, too. Otherwise, accept any opportunity presented to you, no matter how big or little they are, because you never know where they might lead you.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
In five years, I see myself as a 26-year-old, and in 10 years, I see myself as 31. In all seriousness, that's all I know for certain about my future. I hope to continue to work in radio by that point, but you never know. It seems like it has to be a requirement for people in their early 20s to undergo some sort of uncertainty regarding their career (at least that's what my mom always tells me.)
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
I just read two of Howard Stern's books, Private Parts and Miss America. Your mileage may vary if they're "inspirational" or not, but they do show that if you're absolutely persistent, never take no for an answer wherever you are, have a twisted and wacky sense of humor, and through it all, have lots of people listen to you, regardless of any bumps in the road you face, you can be successful in radio, even if you wind up making a big mistake while at your first professional radio job.