10 Questions with ... Erik Eitel
August 5, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I've been listening to the radio for years since I was a young kid growing up in New York City. I remember when the late WNEW was the only place in the Big Apple "where rock lives." I also remember listening to Z100 when it went "from worst to first" back in the '80s. And I've also enjoyed many of the local on-air personalities that were on the air during that time. From Jim Kerr to Scott Shanon, they had always entertained me then and still do today. There were many times when I even imagined myself being on the radio as an on-air personality. But life took me on a different direction. It's too long a story for me to mention here. I went to school at LaGuardia Community College and Queens College here in the city where I studied Accounting.
I then went on to work at a number of Wall Street banks as an accountant. But my first love had always been and continues to be radio. So in 2009, I had finally decided to make my dreams of being on the radio a reality. I took a course on radio from a broadcasting school that required me to work with an on-air personality at that particular station as an unpaid intern. I was fortunate to work with two on-air personalities at two different stations. They were Janet Coleman at Pacifica Foundation's WBAI and Chuck "The Triple Threat" Tolbert at Clear Channel's "Power 105.1" WWPR. They both taught me a lot about the radio business and how to run a radio show, among other things. I knew right then and there that this is where I belonged. This is what I wanted to do professionally for the rest of my life.
After successfully completing the course, I began looking for opportunities in radio. But I was unsuccessful in finding any gig. So in January 2011 I began my own DIY online radio show called "Almost On The Air With Erik Eitel." It was a twice-a-week 14-minute show that featured highlights of pop culture events of the day mixed with my own sense of humor. I had a small following of listeners who would later follow me on Facebook and Twitter. But on January 2014, I had to permanently end my show after three years due to financial reasons. Now I'm out there looking to get on the air. If I can get any gig that I can find, I would definitely be a happy camper and can finally live out my dream.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Every morning after I get up, I meditate for about an hour. It's a great way for me to start the day. I just eliminate anything negative that may come to mind and focus on all the positive energy I can obtain. And I feel stress free after I'm done. Not many people out there will do it. But they should really try it and see for themselves.
2) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Market yourself a lot. Get in touch with industry people any way you can. It could range from doing an internship at a station to even social media. Let them know that you are out there and you are "chomping on the bit," so to speak. And maybe, just maybe, that right opportunity will come along to you. It won't be easy, but it doesn't hurt to try.
3) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
That's easy! It's AllAccess.com, of course.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I would truly love to be an on-air personality. But I know it won't be easy for someone like me who hasn't been in radio for a long time to get that gig right away. I'm open to do just about anything in the meantime. I can operate a board and even write and produce. Just don't ask me to get you coffee. That's not what I'm looking for.
5) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I know so much about music. That runs the gamut from the artists and songs of years ago to that of today. I also have a great sense of humor. And I like to think fast on my feet, too. But at the end of the day, it's all about your presentation and personality. And how well you can reach out and entertain your audience every time you are on the air.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Absolutely! But in all honesty, I've never stopped listening to the radio.. .
7) 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. If there's any consolation, spending more time with my family and friends is a blessing in disguise. They say "life is too short," and when it comes to the family that's no lie. So I have to enjoy every moment with them as much as I can. But during the weekdays, I would prefer being at work. And my family can agree with me on that one.
8) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
The most I miss about music/radio is hearing the on-air personalities speak so often. Years ago you would hear them about a dozen times every hour. But today, you only hear them about half the time or less. Of course, it depends on what format you listen to. I feel like most on-air personalities today have to stick to a "script" when they are on. And sometimes you only hear them for five seconds at a time. You can't build a direct connection with your listeners with such limitations. But that's my opinion. The least I miss about music/radio is giving away free T-shirts and free umbrellas to listeners. They want to win cash and concert tickets, and I sure don't blame them.
9) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
Since being "on the beach," I've become more motivated seeking my next exciting opportunity. So when I return to work I plan to give it my all. That is, make myself a better person professionally and personally, and hopefully inspire others to believe in themselves and not give in to the negative "you'll never make it" mantra from others.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Five years from now, I see myself on the air in a medium or large-market station working five days a week. And maybe even doing some producing on my show or work ing on some other projects that may be out there. Ten years from now, I see myself hosting my very own network television show. Maybe I can be the next Ryan Seacrest.
What great movies have you recently seen?
I love comedy, so this summer I saw "A Million Ways To Die In The West" with Seth MacFarlane. It may be a heavy "gross out" comedy, but I enjoyed it a lot. And since I like action, too, I also enjoyed "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes." I pretty much like any movie that has a great cast and some good writing that makes it worth watching.