10 Questions with ... Daniel Giannascoli aka Sergeant Dan
November 19, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began radio in 1996 serving as "The Doctor" at WPDH/Poughkeepsie, NY under WEOK Broadcasting, through Crystal Radio Group, Aurora Broadcasting and Cumulus Media. I exited to pursue other opportunities, including an enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. I returned to radio in October 2010 with WKMK-WTHJ/Monmouth-Ocean, NJ and accepted the midday post in November 2011. Sergeant Dan can now be heard on Cat Country 107.3 WPUR/Atlantic City, serving as a weekend warrior, most Saturdays, from 9a-2 p.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I do my best to stay connected to my listeners, past and present, and stay relevant. The fact that my listeners get my sense of humor, that's a big fringe benefit. Fans and friends that I've gained in radio still believe in what I'm doing, still want to read and listen to what I have to say, and still want to maintain that personal connection ... That definitely keeps me motivated.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I spend a sizable amount of time auditioning for voiceover work. Beyond that, I work on maintaining and growing my social media base. In order for the on-air talent to evolve and survive in this industry, we need to be willing to effectively drop the "on-air" portion of the job title and consider ourselves to be "talent." Our job is to take a message to the greatest cume possible and that requires talent. More often than not, it also involves being a social media talent, a phone talent, an e-mail or text talent, and a shaking-some-hands-in-public talent.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely, radio is my outlet. I enjoy communicating audibly and painting a picture for the imagination -- it's my comfort zone. So long as it will have me, and it's still around to have me, I plan on sticking with it.
4) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
The craziest thing, to date, was for my first radio gig in Poughkeepsie, NY at WPDH. After trying to get the attention of the PD for several months, I ended up delivering my aircheck on CD, attaching it to boxes of Dunkin Donuts on which I had plastered a series of creative "Hire Me" messages with a sharpie. When that didn't have the desired effect, I did exactly what any other respectable human being would do to get my foot in the door; I accepted a part-time position in promotions to don the "Petey H Eagle" mascot costume at station events. Oh, then there was the "Wooly Bully" mascot costume for the Oldies station in the cluster. That thing was horrific. If you are looking for a career in smelling like an armpit and becoming a child's waking nightmare ...
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Besides cracking the mic on a full-time basis, I'm ready to expand my responsibilities to an MD and/or APD position.
6) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
Are you sure you want to work here?
7) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Other than an on-point aircheck or some time-tested networking, I demonstrate my ability to be the station's ambassador for the target demographic and I make sure my words and actions, both on and off-air, are remarkable. When you can validate that the listeners want to repeat and share what you've said or done, the decision-makers take notice.
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
I was recently humbled, and flattered, by having a former radio advertiser in the Monmouth-Ocean NJ market, ask me if I would sign-on as resident "celebrity host" for their Country Karaoke Thursday Nights for the summer. It's been a year since I exited middays in this market. Since then, the client has monitored my out-of-market work at WPUR and followed my social interactions on Facebook. The client recognized that I maintained my relevance and ability to broadcast a message to the masses in-market. I consider it validation of my efforts to stay connected.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
I have seen too many instances of raw talent wasted because newbies were either unable or unwilling to take direction from their MD, PD, or anyone else up the chain. Don't take criticism personally; take the direction. If the people above you didn't see potential in you, they wouldn't bother showing you anything other than the door.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
I see myself successfully programming a modern Country station, possibly even multiple stations. I have a great passion for the format, and in truth, it's what brought me back to radio in the first place. I am also motivated in the next five-10 years to achieve the rank of Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps, 'cause let's face it, being able to give my air-name a promotion to "Gunny Dan" would be pretty bad-ass! Oh, hold on ... I think that's the sound of my promotion warrant being torn-up as we speak.
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
Definitely! Here's a recipe for Cherry Bombs that was shared with my wife, by my listeners and friends, Ken and Kathy Kultys. We now make these for just about every occasion. Might I add, Cherry Bombs work wonders for maintaining that positive mental attitude!
- Maraschino Cherries
- Microwave Dipping Chocolate
- Liquor (I believe Kathy Kultys said Red Stag, but I say Seagram's 7 ... I'm sure Doug and Debi Kauffman would say Hennessy Shine)
- Wax paper
- Drain maraschino cherries. Be careful to keep the stems attached. Soak in your favorite adult beverage overnight. Drain and air dry. Holding by the stems, dip in chocolate, place on wax paper and refrigerate. Find a designated-driver.