10 Questions with ... Rob Jay
March 10, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I got my start in radio kinda by accident. While in college at SCAD in Savannah, GA, I was the typical broke student and needed a job to survive and support my Skittles addiction, so I ended up working for a Clear Channel (iHeart Media) cluster as a van driver. Shortly thereafter, the PDs of the Urban and Top 40 stations approached me about doing weekend and fill-in shifts as they knew I was in school for performing arts. Their exact words were, "You're in school for acting right? Well go in there and take the stage!" I fell in love with radio at that point and after a year-and-a-half there, I moved to crosstown rival Cumulus WEAS as the mix show and overnights host. After about two years there, I got the opportunity to move back closer to New York and I landed at KISS 101.7 in Wilmington, DE as the afternoon-drive host, and had a blast taking the ride home with the Tri-State area for the last seven years.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I have a positive attitude about life in general. I've been through so much adversity in my life and bounced back. I always feel like the sun will shine tomorrow and there's a great chance things will be better than they were yesterday. So in my current hiatus, I keep that outlook on the situation. I keep hope that tomorrow I could get that phone call or that e-mail response that I've been praying for.
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.
Since being on the outside looking in, I've seen a lot of promising things taking place, like the demand for the inclusion of social media, and this sense of companies turning back towards the "local" touch. I'm big on social media and using it to connect with listeners, and also having them feel closer and more intimate with me in a way. I see the industry taking better advantage of that platform to build lasting and profitable relationships with listeners and advertisers alike to push that winning agenda.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
I most definitely plan on sticking with radio despite being "out here." I spoke with one of my past PDs recently, Sam Nelson, and he told me that if this is still what I really wanted, I would have to stay committed to it and be ready for the next opportunity because it will come. To have people like him praise my talent and drive and knowing within myself how much I love and am passionate about what I do, it's enough to keep me in the game. Even if it were just a part-time gig, this is something I will always feel like I MUST do ... it's a part of who I am.
4) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
The longest I've been out of the fold is seven months, and that was due to a tragic, somewhat catastrophic event, but those seven months felt like two years!
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
Not to be a homer but my best resource for finding job openings has been AllAccess. I check the site several times a day, and there's always good information here. Networking with others who are still working in the business has been beneficial as well.
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I believe my passion to connect with the listeners and my fellow teammates helps to separate me from the pack. Every time I crack the mic or walk in the door, I'm looking to make a connection. It is because of that that I'm always persistently thinking of ways to enhance the radio experience, and I'm willing to learn any and every aspect of our operations so that I can be available to help out or stand in if necessary. One of the greatest benefits of working at an independently owned station like WJKS was that we had to assume multiple responsibilities, several of which I voluntarily took upon myself simply because I wanted to learn, and possibly lighten the load for someone else.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I think I spend more time listening to the radio now. I don't have the concerns of doing production, being a news director, writing copy or working on promotions and marketing strategies so I'm constantly running up and down the dial. I have several radio apps on my phone, so I'm tuned into someone literally all day; different formats, different markets ... still learning and being entertained.
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?
I haven't really slowed down much, but I do find myself taking advantage of the free time. I recently located and visited my father whom I had no contact with for 22 years of my life, and spent a few days with him, which is something I never would have had time for even if I wanted to do it. My friends and family are all amazed that I actually sleep now (lol), and now when they call me I have time to talk, or I'm making the phone calls to bother them when they don't have time to talk!
9) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
What I miss most about radio is being able to engage the listeners every day ... so many different personalities and people from different walks of life. They entertained me just as much as I entertained them, so I miss that relationship, that camaraderie. What I miss the least is the hassle of trying to find a parking spot.
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
The advice I would give to anyone trying to break into this business is to perfect your craft, make sure that you take advantage of every opportunity to learn, and learn everything you can, even if you have to teach yourself! Be versatile, be flexible.
Uh oh ... now you're on your own for getting new music. If applicable, name your three most recent purchases since leaving the biz.
Getting music is still pretty easy if you know where to look, but I did go out and buy J. Cole's new album and was glad I did. I also bought Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" single on iTunes. I really dig that song ... it's currently on repeat. I also went out and bought my own copy of Adobe Audition, since previously I was using a copy licensed to the station. I figured it was best I get my own.