10 Questions with ... Matthew Sambolin
March 11, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2006 - Apprenticeship at WHTZ (Z100)/NY.
- 2007-2008 - Internship at Long Island Radio Group. I went on to become Promotions Manager for WKJY and WHLI.
- 2008 - 2011 - JVC Broadcasting, Promotions and Board Operator for their cluster of stations WPTY, WJVC, WRCN and WBON.
- 2013 - Present - Salem Communications, Control Room Operator, Board Operator for WMCA and WNYM.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I'm enjoying being a recent uncle to three amazing children, and I have a DJ business that I've been doing for over 10 years - and I also have an Internet radio show ... basically started out of frustration at the lack of on-air opportunities and as a way for me to practice my craft while waiting for my shot.
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 left radio briefly to pursue a FT opportunity in a different career path. It wasn't for me; the radio bug bit me a long time ago back in college, and as shaky and unsteady as it is, I went back to radio. I didn't think twice.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
I would like to stick with radio, but I do see opportunities dwindling. No one is safe at any position, and everyone is expendable, so it's something that really makes me consider other career paths. But ideally, if I had to leave it, I would choose something radio related, such as entertainment, music industry, media, etc.
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
I still feel promotions is the best way in -- or if you want to be bold, ask to be an intern, even if it's only available for college students, and just do your best to shine. The main thing that made me stand out at my first internship was that I look for work without being told. I looked for ways I could contribute even if I felt they were dumb, and I was persistent. I would e-mail the newswoman stories that I felt were interesting, and I didn't get discouraged if she didn't use them. Having thick skin and persistence has always worked in my favor.
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
The Internet has been really helpful, but I go the old school route as well. Any of my friends who work in the radio industry, I keep tabs on them, and ask them if they hear of any openings. It's so true when they say it's all about who you know.
6) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I would like to be an MD/on-air, but I feel I could make a good OM as well.
7) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I was always taught that the more hats you wear in radio, the more valuable you will be to a station, which is why I've worked in various departments, and I even attempted sales. That was really tough for me because I was never taught how to sell radio, and knowing that I wanted to be on-air, I didn't want to do extremely well in sales because then I would be too valuable in the streets ... not to say that I was trying to do poorly in sales. I did alright, but I learned how to make proposals, sponsorship packages, etc. If you're in a small market with low pay, having those sales skills might pay off if you can do it on the side. Also, make sure you learn the equipment, from top to bottom, as much as you can. If you can help out the engineer, you're also a valuable asset.
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
As a radio geek, I called in to Howard Stern's show when he was on K-Rock, and he made fun of me. I got a recording of it, and I wear it like a badge of honor. I really think it has helped me land interviews. I've done weather reports and news reports on WMCA -- a station with famous call letters -- and even though I'm not an on-air personality, to say I've been on air in the # 1 market is as good as it gets.
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?
If you really love what you do, the money shouldn't matter, but in this day and age, it does. However, I've always wanted a job where I was happy, and radio is it, so yes, I would take it - but I'd look for other ways to earn additional income, such as sales, and even working at other stations if allowed.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Ideally, I would like to be on-air and MD, but realistically I hope I'm still working in radio. Automation is killing the industry, and local talent is becoming extinct.
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
You will thank me for this!
Nutella S'mores Cake
(adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe)
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 jar (13 oz.) Nutella
- 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom only of 13x9 in. pan with shortening or cooking spray.
- In large bowl, beat cake mix, cracker crumbs, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan.
- Reserve 1/4 cup Nutella. Drop remaining Nutella by tablespoonfuls randomly in 12-14 mounds onto batter in pan. Use knife to swirl Nutella throughout batter.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Cool 15 minutes.
- Spoon teaspoonfuls of marshmallow creme onto warm cake; carefully spread with knife dipped in hot water. Drop small dollops of reserved Nutella randomly over marshmallow creme. Swirl Nutella through marshmallow creme with knife for marbled design. Cool 2 hours. Store uncovered at room temp. (Once cut, store cake in pan, uncovered, with plastic wrap pressed against cut sides.) When cutting cake, dip knife or server in hot water before cutting each piece to keep frosting from sticking.