10 Questions with ... Danny Havel
June 17, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started as a weekend overnighter at KYJC 610AM in Medford, Oregon back in 1980, then got my first full-time job spinning Country and doing play-by-play at KHUG in Phoenix, OR soon thereafter. I then worked in mostly smaller to mid-market stations, doing everything from on-air to sales to management ... from Arizona to Washington, Oregon to Kansas. KIUL/Garden City, KZUH/Salina, KKNX/Eugene, KUGN, KSCR, KZEL/Eugene, KWRL/LaGrande. Currently I'm the PBP voice for the NCU Beacons and a fill-in host at Sports Radio 1240 JOE Radio.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
That's tough. There are some days when I think, "Screw this, screw (insert PD or OM or GM name here), how can they not think I would be perfect for that position?" Then I go through all the stages of grieving and find myself being thankful for everything I do have -- a beautiful family, a great job, people who care and want the best for me. It is the most difficult obstacle to overcome ... staying positive and motivated. I do it by having a plan each day that I job search, filling out applications or reworking the resume, to check my goals for that day off the list, so that I have some sense of accomplishment. Don't try and eat the whole sandwich in one bite, take nibbles. Better for your digestion.
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.
You mean the "cold abyss of not being invited to the cool kids table?" It sucks ... and then it becomes a blessing when I read of people getting hacked from their positions simply because some stockholder needs to have a room re-done at their condo in Cozumel.
Here's what I've been "enlightened" by during my time away from being a full-time employee in radio: I took things way too seriously for my own good when I was working. I would lighten up if given the opportunity to get back into the business full-time. For the most part, we as an industry have lost our way with centralized programming, cookie-cutter formats, and not truly honoring that the licenses awarded to operate radio stations in this country are for serving the public's best interest.
Striving to be conversational and approachable on the air was always my strength. I see too many stations getting caught up in drawing in "talent" that they can get on the cheap and discard like worn-out jeans when they have used up their usefulness. And not training them in the basics of good radio ... how to interview, how to tease a segment, how to draw in an audience and generate dialogue.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Is that a trick question? If the right opportunity presented itself, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But it would have to be the right situation.
4) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
I don't know how crazy these are, but I once sent a couple of pizzas to a PD with the words "HIRE HAVEL" spelled out in pepperoni. He did call and we still talk to this day, but still no job offer. I've also sent a Singing Gorilla to a PD's office, mailed a STOP sign with my resume taped to the back of it to let the PD know that I was the last resume he would have to read ... and bought advertising on a station promoting my interest in getting employment at the station in question.
Oh, you said to GET a job. All those things didn't work...
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Sports/Talk host, PD, OM, Station Manager, Division I PBP voice.
6) Are you finding salaries/benefits lower than you ever thought, about the same, or have you seen some pleasant surprises?
Salaries have dropped ... and this does not surprise me at all. Coming from the side of the desk that saw how tough it is for smaller, medium and mid-market stations to keep in the black, the only option is to pay less for staffing. You can't change your electric bill or you building costs ... so the bottom line is falling on top of the talent. Literally.
7) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
Do you have any concerns with a handgun in the studio or on the premises?
8) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Great question. I try and let the prospective employer truly understand my experience in a great many areas -- sales, hosting, engineering, producing, the ability to work with computers and digital components, all the way to dealing with the FCC and affidavits, quarterly reports, etc. In 30+ years, there really has not been a job I have not been responsible for at a station. And sending them a pizza once in a while.
9) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
Miss the most? The interaction with the audience and co-workers. I enjoyed a good discussion/debate that I can't always get with my wife or five-year-old daughter. The least? Corporate suits, 1,600 miles away, trying to tell our group what people in our city wanted to hear on our local airwaves.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Do not say no to any opportunity. I had a young gun once who had just won a "contest" for a Sports/Talk position tell me, when I asked him to help unload some equipment for a remote, that he didn't think he should because he was "the talent." I really don't think he understood that to survive and make a career in this business NOW, you need to be able to sell, to be able to troubleshoot not getting on the air for a remote, be able to run a board without opening your mouth, or be able to program the log onto the hard drive for the weekend. The days are fading quickly of the "Talent" being the only part of the business. Just say yes....
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
Spicy Chipotle Pork Tenderloins
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1-2 lbs pork tenderloin
Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Slice the tenderloins (but not too thin) into serving sizes
In a large plastic bag, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder, salt, paprika, and brown sugar. Place tenderloins in bag and shake, coating meat evenly. Refrigerate for 35-40 minutes.
Lightly oil grill grate, and arrange meat on grate. Cook for 20 minutes, turning meat every 5 minutes. Remove from grill, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.