10 Questions with ... Gretchen "Bartlett" Helterhoff
June 10, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I won an internship at KZIA/Cedar Rapids in college by winning their Grammy Awards trip giveaway in 2001. The internship turned into part-time on-air until I graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, in May, 2002. I also interned at 96.5 Wartburg Radio in Eisenach, Germany. I moved to Milwaukee to be a part-time producer at WTMJ-A/Milwaukee (Journal). Added Promotions Assistant duties for WKTI/Milwaukee (Journal) four months later. Promoted to full-time on-air and Promotions Director at WMYU/Knoxville (Journal) in 2004. Moved to middays and Promotions Director at sister station WWST/Knoxville in 2008. Promoted to morning show host at WLWK/Milwaukee (Journal) in 2012. My husband's job transferred us to Denver in March, 2014.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I've realized that I'm a pretty good cook! I've been trying new recipes almost every day, and just received a KitchenAid stand mixer for my birthday. I've been using it to make homemade dog treats for my pups, Jetta and Sydney. And sometimes I day-drink.
2) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
I would like to set up my own studio at home for voiceover work and voicetracking opportunities. But I'm interested in many other things as well, and could possibly pursue other interests. I've thought about culinary school.
3) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
This is it! Three months.
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Show a sense of humor. I hate cover letters, but if a company asks for one, I try to show my personality through a funny line. A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender asks, "Why the long face?"
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
AllAccess, of course. I also peruse Indeed.com and CareerBuilder.com.
6) Are you finding salaries/benefits lower than you ever thought, about the same, or have you seen some pleasant surprises?
I was offered a midday gig in a top-20 market that paid lower than I made in Milwaukee, which surprised me. Sure, going from mornings to middays is a daypart shift, but this station's at-work listening is HUGE! So, I expected more. I turned down the job, but not because of the money. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.
7) With consolidation, there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
A good reference is invaluable. If you work hard, strive to improve, and do your best for your former employers, then they'll be on your side for the rest of your career. A good reference seals the deal.
8) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your family and friends that you probably did not have time to do while you were working?
Yes! It's been the best part of being out of work. My parents came to visit from Iowa for two weeks, and we have many more visitors coming to see us this summer. It's really nice to be able to entertain them and show them beautiful Colorado.
9) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
Letting the negative attitudes of those around me bring me down. I am very easily influenced, so if the overall attitude in the building is down, I feel it, too. Call me naïve, but I've always tried to stay positive, especially when things in the business have taken a turn for the worse. I've found it's easier to be positive and upbeat since I've been away from the job.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
If you really want to do radio, be willing to work any and all hours offered to you. When I was hiring for part-time promotions positions, it seemed like so many college students just weren't willing to put in the work, the time, the effort. When I was an intern/part-timer at KZIA, I drove to Cedar Rapids from Waverly a few times a week just to track a weekend shift or work an event. I was still in college, working for the student TV and radio stations, on the dance team, and maintaining a B average. And Waverly was over an hour drive from CR. You have to be willing to work!
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
This is the BEST Peach Cobbler, and it's so easy!
- 1 15 oz. can of peaches
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ cup butter
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Melt cube of butter in 9x9 pan in oven.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, milk, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Take out the pan with the melted butter and pour batter mixture over it. Also pour can of peaches (with the juice) over it. Do not mix.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.