10 Questions with ... Pat Mellon
June 25, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I hosted afternoons at WRBZ, co-hosted mornings at FM 98 and 99, and I worked at KLSX/Los Angeles for six years on and off the air. I've been on the air at WPTF, WTAL and WEEB, and I wrote and co-created the TV Minute, a syndicated radio feature. I've performed stand-up all over the U.S., including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Tampa, and I created a stand-up comedy game show the was part of The Los Angeles Comedy Festival.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Daily affirmations. Type them up and put little pieces of paper all over your apartment, like fortunes from fortune cookies. When you're brushing your teeth and look over at the light switch, reading "If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it," or "Everything is impossible until someone else does it" can be a healthy boost. Facebook is great for stuff like this. People are always putting up motivational stuff. "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Jazz like that. Of course, those can only get you so far. So every time I get a rejection letter, I shoplift. That's a high like no other.
2) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Gender reassignment surgery.
3) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
Industry sites are great but there are a lot of jobs that you never hear about. Put yourself in their shoes-- if you ran a station and had an opening to fill, what would make you want to hire a new person before promoting from within, for instance? The line between creative ambition and annoying persistence is razor-thin ... and everyone's comfort level with it is different. Maneuvering the mine field can be exhausting. But dig in.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
The guy at the T-Mobile kiosk at the mall always seems to be in a good mood.
5) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
It varies. I've certainly gotten a fair amount of auto-replies, but it's the waiting that's rough. I like the direct no-waiting approach. One PD said to me, "Well, I don't think you'd be fulfilled here." Another said, "You scare the hell out of me." It's a bit startling, but at least you can move on immediately. A few places in New York have been surprisingly decent about calling and even interviewing me even when they didn't have openings or the right one for me. That doesn't happen much in L.A.
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
One mistake you can make is trying to change to please people. The other, of course, is REFUSING to change to please people. The logic is that yes, you should evolve so you're relevant and sharp but at the same time, maybe the right situation for the original you hasn't come along yet. There isn't just ONE situation. Some stations want tight and crisp. Others want loose and casual. But always be interesting.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
When I left the station where I was doing mornings a few years ago, I got a job delivering pizza (which paid more than the radio job!) and I got to listen to a lot of radio. I recommend it for sure. You have to know what is out there and who is working and what they're doing. I listen to a lot of radio, yes.
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
I once rendered Gene Simmons speechless.
9) 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. I'm kidding! Of course I would. It's important to be around that environment if you want to keep your focus strong. But seriously, no.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
You'll need to be nomadic, flexible, thick-skinned, compelling, creative, colorful (alliterative), dedicated, cynical, humble and confident. Don't take any one rejection or critique as the absolute truth. I worked on a syndicated show once in Los Angeles and was told to keep people with Southern accents off the air because they sound uneducated and bad on the air. (Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey are from the South. I am, too.) Tolerant. You'll need to be tolerant, too.
What great movies have you recently seen?
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead was really good. Oh, and I watched both Human Centipede movies. Meh.