10 Questions with ... Erik Eitel
December 8, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Since I was a little kid, I grew up listening to the radio here in New York City, and I've even mimicked some of the great deejays. I loved music and I loved hearing it played on the radio. Back then I had dreams of becoming a radio personality. But instead of studying broadcasting after high school, I instead studied accounting. It's a long story, so I'll spare you the details. After working on Wall Street as an accountant for over a decade in the late 2000's, I decided to go after my dream of working on the radio. I took an online course in broadcasting that allowed me to intern at two New York City radio stations. I interned at Clear Channel's Urban "Power 105.1" WWPR and Pacifica's non-commercial 99.5 WBAI-FM. I learned a lot from my experience at both of those stations, and I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When I successfully completed my course and internships, I began searching for other opportunities in radio. But I haven't been able to find any. I was also laid off from my accounting job on Wall Street during that same time. Since then I've been doing some odd jobs to make ends meet while still searching for that one great opportunity in radio. My ultimate goal is to become an on-air personality in a major market. But if I can get anything I can find in radio in whatever role, I'll definitely be on my way.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Every morning after I get up, I meditate for about an hour. It's a great way for me to begin my day. I just eliminate anything negative that may come to mind and focus on all the positive energy I can obtain. And I feel stress-free after I'm done. Not many people out there will do it. But they should really try it and see for themselves that it does work.
2) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Market yourself a lot. Get in touch with industry people any way you can. It could range from doing an internship at a station to even social media. Let them know that you are out there and you are willing to take anything that you can. And if you're lucky, that right opportunity will come along to you. It won't be easy, but it doesn't hurt to try real hard.
3) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
That's easy! It's AllAccess.com, of course.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I would truly love to be an on-air personality. But I know it won't be easy for someone with little experience to get that role right away. I'm open to do just about anything in the meantime. I can operate a board, write my own material, and even produce what comes to mind. I know that you have to start somewhere, and I'm willing to do that.
5) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Nowadays you have to be original. That is, be your own person with a unique approach no one has ever done before. You have to stand out from all of the rest. It's not easy, but it's doable. At the end of the day, it's all about presentation and personality. And how well you can reach out and entertain your audience every time you are on the air.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Absolutely! But in all honesty, I've never stopped listening to the radio.
7) 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?
Yes. If there's any consolation, spending more time with my family and friends is a blessing in disguise. They say "life is too short," and when it comes to the family that's no lie. I have to enjoy every moment with them for as long as I can. But during the weekdays, I would prefer being at work. And my family can agree with me on that one.
8) What do you miss most about radio? The least?
The most? Personality driven DJ's on the radio. I feel like most on-air personalities today have to stick to a "script" when speaking. They need to bring spontaneity back to the radio often. And not just on morning drive. It helps during the workday when your listeners need it the most. The least? Those never ending long commercial breaks.
9) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
Since being "on the beach," I've become very motivated and active seeking my next new opportunity. When I return to work, I plan to give it my all. That is, make myself a better person professionally and personally. And hopefully inspire others to believe in themselves and not give in to that negative "you'll never make it" mantra from others.
10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
5 years from now, I would see myself on the air in a medium or a large market station working five days a week. Maybe even do some producing on my own show or work on some other projects that may be out there. And 10 years from now, I would see myself hosting my very own morning drive show. But getting up at 3 AM won't be very easy.
Seen any great movies?
I recently saw the final film in "The Hunger Games" series "Mockingjay, Part 2." I liked the movie, but some of the earlier films in this series were better than this one. I'm very much looking forward to the new "Star Wars" film "The Force Awakens." I grew up on all of those early "Star Wars" films, and I hope this new film won't be disappointing.