10 Questions with ... Ashley Benoit
June 30, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I have a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College, but I decided my senior year that I did not want to go into news as a career. After graduating, I spent some time in New York City exploring the entertainment television world, but realized working behind the scenes in television was not something I wanted to do. I had spent a few years at my college radio station, 88.9-FM WERS, and had interned for the Karlson and McKenzie morning show really what I want to do with my career. At the end of last summer, I moved back to Boston to work for WZLX as a "street teamer" doing on-site promotional events and hoping that the position would allow me to network with people who could help me get on-air. I ended up being connected with a DJ at one of our sister stations a few months ago and she has helped me tremendously by working on my demo tape with me and connecting me with other extremely talented DJs who have given me critiques and advice. While there's always room for improvement, we feel that I am in a place now where I have enough talent and skill to really excel in an on-air position. I have recently started sending out my demo and I'm excited to see where I end up next!
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
The biggest thing for me has been to remember the age-old saying: Rome wasn't built in a day. Nothing worth having should come easy and I believe that struggling to get where you want to be makes it all that more rewarding when you accomplish your goals. I also learn the background stories of successful people I look up to and it shows me that everyone has struggled to get where they are. There have certainly been times when I've gotten frustrated, but giving up isn't going to get me the job that I want. I try to always put in my best effort, so that at the end of the day I can't have any regrets and I can feel good about myself knowing I've done the very best that I could.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I've spent some time in the comedy world over the past couple of years. I've done improv, sketch, and stand-up as well as had my own comedy blog for a while. It's been a great way for me to have a creative outlet and I think the skills that I learn through comedy will help me a lot with my career. It's given me more confidence, taught me how to poke fun at myself, and how to think on my feet much more quickly in a live situation.
3) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
The best way to get your foot in the door is to take any opportunity that comes your way if it is in the industry you want to be in. If you surround yourself with the right people, put yourself out there, and let people know what you really want to do, you'll eventually move up to do just that- with some hard work, of course.
4) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
I used to use major company job boards, but it's much harder to stand out when you're getting thrown into a huge database with countless other people. I love using All Access to find job openings because I typically get e-mail addresses to directly contact the hiring manager for the position I'm applying to. I think it's more personal that way and it makes me not feel like just a candidate number.
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I would love to be on-air, whether it's full-time in a small to medium market or part-time in a larger one.
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Some people may look at my background as something that makes me less qualified, but I think that the various things I have done over the years have actually made me a much stronger candidate/employee. Not only do I know how to perform on-air and edit audio, but I can shoot and edit video, I have strong interview skills, I'm a great writer from my blogging and news writing experience, because of my comedy background I can think quickly on my feet live on-air when things don't go as planned, and I feel comfortable and enjoy interacting with listeners in person.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I absolutely love radio and it's all I listen to in the car. In the mornings on my way to work, I listen to segments from at least four different local morning shows. The rest of the time, I have about 10 radio stations that I regularly listen to for music and to learn from other DJs who have shorter breaks to talk instead of full segments on morning shows.
8) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I have learned that I'm stronger and have more determination than I thought I had before graduating. I have learned that a lot of people are willing to go out of their way to help me out when I used to be afraid of being a nuisance. And I have learned that things won't always go my way in the moment and that's okay ... and sometimes even for the best.
9) How will this experience change you when you get back to work [get an on-air position]?
I think that if I got an on-air radio job right out of college, I wouldn't have appreciated it as much and I wouldn't work as hard to prove myself every day. I know that once I get an on-air position, I am going to be so beyond grateful for it and do everything I can to keep it, continue to get better, and stay in the industry.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
I definitely want to end up on a morning show because I think it would give me the creative freedom that I love. It doesn't matter so much to me where exactly I live and work, as long as I love doing what I'm doing. I'm trying not to have a plan and expectations for myself anymore because every time I've tried to plan something out so far, it hasn't gone the way I wanted. So for right now, I'm very happy to work towards short-term goals and enjoy the experience of seeing where life takes me.
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
I have a huge love of zucchini right now. When I don't want to go through the trouble of making zucchini noodles and sauces and elaborate proteins to go with it, my absolute favorite quick-meal to make is zucchini fritters. They're like healthy egg-y pancakes that I'm crazy about.
- Peel the skin off and grate one good-sized zucchini so that you end up with about a cup-and-a-quarter to a cup-and-a-half of shredded zucchini.
- Place the shredded zucchini in a mixing bowl and add 1/4 C diced scallion, 1/4 C flour, 2 eggs, and 1/2 TB of salt.
- Put about half an inch of olive oil in a skillet and place it on medium heat.
- Drop big spoonfuls of the batter into the skillet to pan fry evenly on both sides. It usually takes about two minutes per side.
- Pat off the extra oil with a paper towel when the fritters are done.
- Serve with soy sauce.