10 Questions with ... Jerry Hoyt
January 13, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career in 1996 as a part-time jock at WNVZ (Z104)/Norfolk, VA. After adding on-air duties at cluster sister stations WWDE and WFOG, I was the final evening air talent for WVKL (Kool 95.7). I then was the night air talent for WAFX (106.9 The Fox) from 2001-2002. I also was a part-time on-air talent for WWVZ/WWZZ (Z104) in Washington, D.C. from 2002-2003. In 2003, I moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where I began part-time at WARW (94.7 The Arrow) in late 2003. From there, I moved up to full-time night jock, and later OM of WTGB (now WIAD). In addition, I was PD of "HFS" on 94.7 HD-2 from 2009-2011.
After a brief period as PD of WHFS-A 1580 in DC, I spent nearly a year at WFLS in Fredericksburg, VA and worked at Total Traffic Network in D.C.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I am creating music mixes, like mixtapes of the '90' if you will, and posting on various sites that host music radio shows. I also try to stay connected to my various former radio associates and the business through social media.
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.
As an outsider, looking in, it is clear to me that radio has to get back to being live and local, and making a connection to the listeners. The audience can go anywhere these days for a music stream, but radio has to provide something more to survive.
3) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
Nearly a year now since leaving part-time duties at WFLS and WWUZ in Fredericksburg, VA. Before that it was about a year from CBS Radio to WFLS and Total Traffic Network.
4) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Internships are still the best way to get a start in this business. With the number of jobs in radio decreasing, it's all about connections. Volunteer opportunities are also a valuable source of experience and help to build your resume. Don't assume any job is "below you."
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
All Access job listings and the various corporate radio website job listings. You've got to check them daily.
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
You have to emphasize your strengths. In my case, because I have done so many roles from air talent, promotions, engineering and operations, I use that diversification as my selling point.
7) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
Besides having ratings success as a jock on WVKL and WAFX in the Norfolk market, and on WIAD (94.7 Fresh FM) in the D.C. market, I would say being OM for 94.7 in D.C., and leading the rebirth of "HFS," a heritage Alternative format in the D.C. market, from 2009-2011 on HD Radio. In addition to posting some great streaming numbers, I also successfully led "HFS" through a successful HFStival in 2010 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where over 15,000 people attended the event.
8) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
I miss most the ability to entertain the listeners. I miss the daily time I had to connect with the listeners through music, and providing them a voice to keep them company. I miss the creative theater I had when I programmed a station, and crafted the music together in such a way that people wanted to hear what was coming next. I have to say the thing I miss the least is the obligations to sales departments. It's a necessary evil, but too often sales departments fail to realize it's a symbiotic relationship with programming, the circle of life.
9) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
Failing to focus my energy on the joy that the job brought me. Many times it was too easy to get caught up in the politics of the position, and forget the real reason you were in radio, and the joy it brought you.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Don't assume any job is "beneath you." Your competition to get into this business is tighter than ever. You need any advantage to get noticed in this business. And, DON'T BURN YOUR BRIDGES!
Your favorite new diversion is ...
...creating music "mixes" and posting them online and promoting them through social media. It allows me to be creative.