10 Questions with ... Hamilton Zar
September 9, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career at 18 as an intern at WFAS, then moved on to get my first paid on-air gig at 19 years old at 106.3 WVIP/Mt. Kisco, NY.
Then over the next 15 years I worked in various roles in promotions and programming in NYC radio at Hot 97, Pure Rock Q104.3, WKTU, Z100, SiriusXM and CBS-FM. While doing that I was also on the air at K104/Poughkeepsie, and returned a few years ago as a jock to where I started it all at the now non-existent 103.9 WFAS-FM. Presently, I can be heard on Top 40/Alternative, kerrfm.com.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I have a lot of passion for radio and I stay optimistic about life. I surround myself with positive thoughts, energy and good people. I also read ALLACCESS.COM all the time. It keeps me sane!
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I still have a "regular" boring sales job outside of radio, and I board-op at CBS-FM. Aside from that, I am reaching out to former colleagues, responding to on-air job ads and just sending my "t n r" to programmers in the Tri-state and beyond.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely! It's one of the few jobs I know I can do and I can't imagine not being in it.
4) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
Almost a year, and during that time not being in radio, I was miserable.
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
ALLACCESS.COM! And just constantly searching on broadcasting companies' corporate sites. I also like indeed.com.
6) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Being back on the air anywhere at a Hot AC/Rhythmic AC-type station. I am ready and willing to travel to other markets, especially to warmer climates, LOL!
7) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
Without mentioning names or stations, I was pleasantly surprised to blindly send out my aircheck and receive a "few thank you but not hiring at moment" courtesy responses from some programmers. Aside from that, I do find it frustrating when you don't get any type of response to an ad.
8) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I spend a lot more time now monitoring local stations, and stations across the country on the Net through the many apps like radio.com, iHeart and TuneIn radio. Personally, I enjoy streaming stations in Boston, Florida, Atlanta, San Diego and Houston. A lot of great jocks are in those markets.
9) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
Being more available to do more emergency fill-in shifts.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Be witty, have a flexible schedule, be ready to travel, know the market, stand out and be the best you can at mastering your craft.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
No Static: A Guide To Creative Radio Programming, gives great advice and strategies. I highly recommend it!