10 Questions with ... Tom Watson
April 23, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Many years in programming AC, Top 40, Adult Hits, Classic Hits and Classic Rock and Country in such markets as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Dallas. For 12 years I was President of my own consulting firm, working with stations in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Honolulu, Miami, Seattle and other U.S. markets. I also consulted #1 stations in Sydney and Melbourne Australia, London, and Hong Kong.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I understand the climate of today's radio world and know my strengths and weaknesses. I focus on the positive of knowing that there is a job out there that will be a good fit for me and the employer. Good things come to those who wait.
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.
I see a lot of focus on promoting from within a company, which is great. I also see that companies are looking for the best possible person for an open position and waiting as long as it takes to fill a position until the right person is found. In some of the markets I have been to recently, I am hearing stations forgetting the basics of doing a format. I'm hearing a lot of needless chatter, morning shows with no focus, just needless talk, no on-air promoting of the product, and just leaving the listeners guessing what the station is all about.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely! Radio is a career, and one that I have devoted my life to. Good times or bad, the radio business is still second to none.
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
As a PD, find a station you want to work for that has an opening from All Access. Then send the GM or the Group VP/Programming a personal e-mail letting him know of your interest and attach a current resume and references.
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
All Access, of course! I also network with friends in the industry.
6) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
It's about 50/50. Some of the major players never contact you unless they are interested. The quality companies will always acknowledge they got your stuff with a "thank you." Once a position has been filled, many will never give you the courtesy of dropping you an e-mail or a call to let you know they have hired someone else ... they just let you read about it in the trades. Very bush league.
7) Are you finding salaries/benefits lower than you ever thought, about the same, or have you seen some pleasant surprises?
Salaries and benefits are diminishing. The economy is cutting down on revenue, thus companies are cutting back on salaries and benefits. My feeling is that this is the "new normal" and we won't see it come back to where it was five years ago. Lean and mean is how it will be.
8) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I highlight my major success stories and track record up front in a cover letter. This will get their interest up and hopefully make them read the resume.
9) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
For 14 years I was President of my own U.S. and international consulting firm. I worked with some outstanding broadcasters and we accomplished great things, including significantly increasing revenue and ratings.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Remember that this is a business, and with that said, make it fun and learn from the people around you. Technology is key in today's broadcast world, therefore, make sure you understand multi-media and ask questions when you get hired at a radio station on how they use this. It is more than just being on the air.
Care to contribute a low-cost recipe to our "ON THE BEACH" cookbook?
Yes, babyback pork ribs, Southern style.
Get a rack of pork, baby back ribs. Boil them for 20 minutes in salt water. Then place them on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
First pour some lemon juice over the ribs. Then cover them generously with onion powder, garlic power, Lawry's salt and pepper and crushed mustard, then cover completely with KC Original Bar-B-Q sauce. Smother the entire rack in light brown sugar and then put in oven at 325 degrees and cook for two hours.
The meat will fall off the bone and melt in your mouth!