10 Questions with ... Mark Mueller
September 24, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I interned at WBLI on Long Island from '86-'88, then worked there from '90-'98 as DJ and morning show producer. I was on air at Z104 in DC from '99 to '06. I worked at Y102.9 in Raleigh from '07-'09 (started as weekends then did middays) and then 2010-2012 I was the midday news anchor at Rush Radio in Raleigh, and also worked as a freelance reporter at Fox News Radio during the same period. I also worked at Mediabase from '98 to '05 and Arbitron from '06-'07.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I believe everything happens for a reason, so while I am certainly down about being out of work I know something better lies ahead and look forward to that when it comes.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I have taken a couple of freelance gigs as a news writer and working on the assignment desk at a local TV station. Most mornings I now do a five-mile nature hike as well. The fresh air and exercise is great for the mind and body.
3) 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 is definitely a bit discouraging. I was out of work for four months three years ago and thought that was bad. Here I am now out for nine months and I hit the ground running every morning looking for work.
4) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Radio is my passion, either working in news or Top 40/Hot AC radio. I am both a news and music junkie so I would love to be able to stay in the industry.
5) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
Right now at nine months ... and counting.
6) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Networking is definitely the best advice. Connections made along the way are always the best way to get in somewhere.
7) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
I have to say that I'm most proud of one on the music side and one on the news side.
In 2003 I wrote an article for R&R on how I would program an '80s Classic Hits station. I was contacted by a guy in Canada who said they were launching something called Jack FM in the States and he loved my ideas that I mentioned in the article. He asked if I would sell him my playlist of songs I created, which I did. I always said the format was missing that "Oh Wow" factor and was able to write about it and sell my ideas from it.
On the news side, I always considered myself a Fox News junkie. When I started working at WRDU we were a Fox News affiliate. In early 2010 I pitched one of my stories to them and they bought it. It then aired across the country. Over the next 2.5 years I did 200 stories for them.
8) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
Radio is so corporate now. I think back to my early days in radio and it was fun. Radio can be like that again. Radio should be local, from the weather to the contests to the on-air phoners with listeners. A lot of that has been lost.
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?
That depends on the location. If it were in North Carolina, sure. If it were in, say, New York, it wouldn't be possible.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
I will definitely not take for granted having a full-time job in radio. I read last week that only 47% of working Americans have full-time work. Working in such a tight field I will appreciate being a part of the 47% again.
Great movies you've recently seen ...
The new Star Trek was one of the best movies I have ever seen. JJ Abrams is a genius ... (Lost will always be my favorite show, too). They rebuilt the franchise with an awesome cast!