10 Questions with ... ChumZilla
November 3, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Starting where most radio DJs get their start, I had my first taste of radio in 1998 at 107.7 WFCS, based on the campus of Central Connecticut State University. While coming up as a club DJ I got my break at Jammin' 107.7 WWRX handling the majority of their mixshows while eventually becoming the Mixshow Director and Production Manager in 2005.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I don't let myself get consumed by negativity or wrapped up in other people's business. Also, not letting people derail my dream. Sure, some things are impossible, like riding a dragon into work, but getting back into radio isn't. It might be an uphill battle, but anything really worth it is worth fighting for. Pick and choose your battles.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I'm DJing as many club gigs as I can and releasing my own music. I'm also a total pro-wrestling nerd (I'm actually watching Ring of Honor as I'm typing this). After I left radio, I followed my passion for food and went to culinary school. For the past five years, I've been working as chef in a few amazing restaurants. I've also been dabbling in Internet radio with live podcasts.
3) 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.
I can see how it can be discouraging. Let's be real here: The pay isn't all that great for the amount of work you end up doing. Also, all of the mergers with these broadcast companies is getting scary. However, there are some stations out there that choose to go against the grain and really stand out. That's very inspiring for me and has honestly helped re-ignite my interest in radio.
4) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely. I miss it too much to leave it again. Even if I'm right back on college radio, doing Internet radio or podcasts, I'm not going anywhere.
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I always get told to shoot for the stars and I usually do. But I honestly just want to make and host a syndicated mixshow. I'd love to be on the air again with a "normal" shift, too, but my heart is in actually being a DJ, spinning music for the people and telling some jokes while doing it.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
The irony of it all is how much I didn't listen to the radio until I left. Being an independent musician as well, I tend to look at a lot of the music on the radio as watered down, but I listen to it now more than ever. I get a little homesick every time I get in the car and listen to the radio.
7) What do you miss most about radio? The least?
I miss entertaining the people with bad dad jokes and breaking new records. I love sharing new music with people because you never know, that song you put them on to could make a big impact on their lives. Music is a moving and emotional experience that the artist is sharing with everyone. The thing I miss the least is the assumption that radio jocks are well paid and don't work hard. Until you've been in that chair wearing as many hats as we have to do our job, you really can't judge. You really have to have a love for radio to stick it out and do it.
8) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
I'd like to think that I live without regrets, but that's not that true. I let a girl I was with at the time really get in my head and mess my whole game up when I was on my way out. My main regret, though, is that I didn't pick my ball back up and hustle harder, in general really, to continue my radio career.
9) If you were offered a similar position to what you were doing for considerably less money, would you seriously consider taking the job just to stay in the biz?
Absolutely. I love it too much and I'm basically starting all over again. So to expect to make the same salary I made then after being gone for so long is unrealistic. I have to prove myself again.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Hopefully on the radio still!
Uh oh ... now you're on your own for getting new music. If applicable, name your three most recent purchases since leaving the biz.
I still get sent music all of the time, but I still actively purchase music. I did even when I was on the radio. But here they are:
- Czarface - Every Hero Needs a Villian
- Gangrene - You Disgust Me
- A subscription to www.franchiserecordpool.com (Funk Master Flex's records pool). This is probably the most important music purchase I've made as an active club DJ.