10 Questions with ... Richard Deaver Jr.
January 26, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I have had such a whirlwind and unique career. I would not trade it for the world. It started while I was still in school doing overnights on Temple University's WRTI/Philadelphia. This was also the time I was an intern for anyone who would have me. I was at several stations in Philly, including WRDW, WPHT and the legendary WYSP (rest in peace). I was very active during the 2008 election cycle and on a per diem basis (most of the time for free), I interviewed Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Sarah Palin and President Obama on their campaign stops in Philly for several stations. After graduation I took my first job hosting a morning show on KRMS as well as being the News Director. After that, I tried my hand as a News Anchor for WXDE for a while until I was able to go back home to Philadelphia and work for a unique start-up company called Tango Traffic. At the time I was also hosting a weekly Talk show on WFYL in Philadelphia. After a few years, like many of us, I was ready for the next challenge. So I went to ALL ACCESS (where else) and saw my dream job staring at me. Mornings in NYC! I applied knowing there was zero chance I would get an interview, let alone this job. But I went for it and to my surprise, I got an interview and three days later ... the job! I also worked hosting a morning show on KOSP in Springfield Mo.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I am just getting back into the job market. I have had a little extra time on the beach because I had an unforeseen illness in my family. Thankfully, that is taken care of and I am ready to get back to work. In the meantime, between interviews and looking for gigs I spend my days at Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia, volunteering and helping furnish homes for abused women and children.
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.
I would say it is a bit discouraging the amount of consolidation I have seen. Many times there are very talented and hard-working people who fall victim to cost-cutting measures. As a constant consumer of media, looking from the outside, it is my observation that content is very similar between stations across many formats and I think that the identity of stations -- especially in smaller markets - is being lost. But I am encouraged because as a listener, I am starving for a fresh, new and unique talent to identify with. What encourages me is I see a path for good talent to succeed much more than a few years ago because of that.
3) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Very simple: Make friends. Become a sponge. Find a mentor. There are so many talented people who are willing to impart wisdom. Take it! Internalize and run with it. Never think you are done learning or that you cannot get better. Ask questions... everyday! Most importantly, be unique. I see so many people who try to imitate top talent. While this is flattering, they already are working. Best advice I have ever gotten: What makes you unique? If you cannot answer that, your prospective employer probably cannot either.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I am hungry and open to any opportunity where I can build a lasting brand, collaborate, and do good old-fashioned radio! While it is obvious most of my career has been spent doing mornings - from unrated markets to NYC -- that does not mean that is all I am willing to do. Radio is what I love and what I am good at. My next job will be with a great company, in a market where there is stability and lots of consumers of media. Ideally I would like to work with a passionate team that is willing to become entrenched in a community and is proud of their brand ... where we all work hard and it shows.
5) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
This is an easy one...
"HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING CALLED MEATBALLS?"
Looking back now I wish they would have asked me if I was comfortable being the slightly obese character on the show with a really stupid name. Since I am playing Monday Morning QB here, since I am from Philly, I wish that stupid name was Cheesesteaks or Tubby Soft Pretzel!!!
6) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
This is also an easy one. Mornings is market #1 before I was 25.
7) What do you miss most about radio? The least?
I am 100% sure that what I miss the most is taking you away from your reality if only for the shortest of moments and making you smile or laugh. I miss the feeling of good you can do by being there each day. True story: I will never forget at my first job, I got a call from a man named Sam S. He called off-air and said his son just recently passed and he has not laughed that hard at a segment in a long time. He said to me verbatim, "I forgot I was sad for five minutes and I really needed that." Ever since then, every time I crack the mic I think of Sam and speak to him. That one person who needs it. What I miss the least is getting up at 1:50 am, but hey its radio and totally worth it!
8) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
There are two things.
First, I regret when I was newer in this biz, I was taking things so personally. When you are young you have a hard time seeing the bigger picture ... and there were times I took things as a personal attack when it was only meant to help me.
Secondly, I regret not being able to separate the o- air personality from the professional one. When I was a year or two out of school, that person I was on the air was me and I thought if I toned it dow,n I would not be the same. I thought that since we were in radio, we did not have to act like (what I thought at the time was) those stuffed shirts in office buildings. I can best describe it as thinking I had to be "on" at all times. It came off as unprofessional and showed my youth. Most important of all, I regret not realizing being professional does not mean you have to not be you or have personality. I learned that there needs to be a sense of professionalism and decorum both on and off the air and it makes you a better personality and co-worker. This was a tough, eye-opening lesson that I am grateful I learned while I was younger, not older.
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?
This is probably my favorite question! Heck yes! In stepping back and taking care of my mother these past few months I figured maybe the radio bug would stop biting. Boy, I was wrong! As long as I could pay my bills, eat and have a few dollars for a beer or two, I would take less money. That is not to say I would take a job where I could not survive for love of radio. Moral of the story: As long as I had Ramen noodles and my heat on, I'd probably do it ... depends on the circumstance.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Well, in five years I hope to be doing a morning show where I am part of a community, have made a difference, and am waking up doing what I love each day.
In 10 years, as long as I am on the radio, waking up a market that is passionate about the radio and content I would be happy. Perhaps I may be married or have a girlfriend. I would love to get back to mornings in NYC, but if not, I would be okay. Doing it made me realize what is important. Market size is last on my list anymore.
Uh oh ... now you're on your own for getting new music. If applicable, name your three most recent purchases since leaving the biz.
Okay well the last three purchases I made are as follows.
- As much of the new Adele Album 25 as possible (on iTunes)
- Johnny Cash Greatest Hits
- Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman
I am very eclectic. I love everything from Top 40 to AC to Country and anything in between.
As a bonus just today I bought the new Beiber (don't judge ... you like it, too!)