10 Questions with ... Double J
February 16, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KAGM/Albuquerque -- mornings/APD; KDLW - MD/APD; KARS - Imaging Dir.
- KDND/Sacramento -- weekends/ fill-in
- KHTN/Modesto -- Promotions Dir./Imaging Dir./afternoons
- KWIN & KWNN/Stockton -- mornings
- KNKK/Lake Havasu City -- PD/mornings
- KPAT/Santa Maria -- mornings/APD/Imaging Dir.
- KDON -- Imaging Dir. since 2005
- KOCN -- Imaging Dir. since 2009
- KNKK -- Imaging Dir. since 2009
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Push-ups ... Lots and lots of push-ups ... with the blinds open, of course. Sure they're "girl push-ups," but they're still push-ups. Some days I do them shirtless, some days I do them pant-less ... just depends on the mood I'm in. (Scared the hell out of the neighbors one day, though.)
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
When I'm done getting buff for the day, I like to go over old shows and bits, listening to see if there is any way I could've done it better. Trying to come up with new bits, or putting a twist on old bits. I love to work on imaging as well. If I have any imaging to do for clients (KDON KOCN and KNKK), of course, that takes priority, but if not, I like to experiment with different plugins to see what cool concoctions/sounds/new settings I can come up with. I've been using the Waves Mercury Bundle plug-ins for years now, and I'm still building new settings that I end up loving and using. Sure "factory presets" are fun and a lot of times very good, but understanding how they work and then building and creating your own settings is what sets an 'Imaging Dir." apart from what I like to call "Plug and Play Directors." I write copy for sweepers constantly. This means, I have content ready for my next show or job. So hire me, I'm ready to go!
3) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
Years ago, a buddy of mine told me about a PD who was looking for a new morning show and said I should apply. Then he says "Plus, I have the inside scoop for you." He told me how this PD loved a certain type of beer from this one particular microbrewery. So I thought, ah-ha! I'm gonna get on this PD's "good side!" So I sent him a case of his "favorite beer." What my buddy failed to mention before I sent the case of beer to him was that he was a recovering alcoholic. Needless to say I didn't get the job. I didn't get the beer back, either. So hire me.
4) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
I was kind of shocked. PDs have been very courteous to me. It's been quite a few years since I needed a job, so I was pleasantly surprised to get the e-mails I have been getting. Years ago, I remember it was more likely for a jock to hit the lotto than to get a call or an e-mail back about a job we had applied for. That just goes to show how times are changing. My theory is that the programmers of today were treated this way back when they were looking for a job, and they still remember the feeling of not getting a response and how crappy it feels. So now, they don't want to be "that guy" and make anyone feel the way they felt, so this is why they e-mail talent back. ***For the record I'm trying to be positive here*** So hire me.
5) What's the most unbelievable on-air bit you were allowed to do?
"Conquer Your Fears." Growing up, my mom used to always take me to the rodeo and I'd watch these bull riders get on the backs of these massive, earth-moving, poop slinging mammals. These vaqueros (yeah, it's Spanish) have always fascinated me. For some reason, I've always wanted to ride a bull, and when I came up with this "Conquer Your Fears" bit, I foolishly thought "this is the perfect opportunity to check one off the old bucket list!" I pitched it to the GM, PD and owner, thinking they would say no, but to my surprise, they actually gave me the go ahead. (Talk about willing to do "anything" for ratings, huh?) In hindsight, I would never do it again because, a) Well, it's insane, but more importantly b) It is such a huge liability. I digress. As the "Conquer Your Fears" bit came closer and closer, I became more and more afraid. So the night before, I secretly called the ranch where this was all going down and tried to set it up so he would give me a tiny little, harmless thing ... a calf, if you will. He promised me it was the smallest one he had, and that I would be fine because "it's the bull my 14-year-old son rides." I went to sleep that night confident I would own this little fur ball the next morning. It was 7a and 36 degrees. I showed up ready to ride. I was gonna own this thing. There I stood, wearing only a pair of underwear, blue cowboy boots and a giant blue, foam cowboy hat. Why was I only wearing underwear you ask? Because it's funny. Well, to my surprise, there stood a 1,200 -bull that was drooling uncontrollably, pooping all over itself, and giving me the look of "Oh, you're done son." It took me about 15 minutes to give them the okay to open up the gate. I felt like I rode that beast ... no, CONQUERED that beast ... for at least 30 seconds! Turns out, it was only about three seconds, but it was still the scariest seconds and most unbelievable bit I was ever allowed to do. I conquered my fears that Friday. So hire me. PS Here's some video of that day:
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I think a personality's entire presentation is vital. From cover letter, to resume, to the actual demo, it is all important. Over the last year I have heard so many demos from people that sound like they took 10 or 15 minutes to put it together. IT'S THEIR DEMO!?!?! If this is your career, treat it like so. My morning show demo, for me at least, needs to be the catchiest demo she or he has ever heard. I want a PD or a GM to listen to it and think, "Oh wow, that's amazingly creative. If he does all that for his demo, imagine the quality of work he would do as an employee of ours." For my demo I wrote out a script, and then had Dave Foxx (former Creative Services Director for Z100 in New York) voice it for me. I also had Don Amiche (Benztown VO & KJLH/Los Angeles afternoons) voice the same script. This gives me two different options to send to a PD or GM, depending on the format. After writing the script and getting it voiced, I took my time producing it. I feel the elements between the content should wow the person listening just like the content should. Here's a link for you to listen to my demo and then ... you know ... hire me:
7) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your wife that you probably didn't have time to do while you were working?
Yes. Being able to spend more time with my wife is amazing. She told me yesterday, "It's a nice change of pace that you're not always saying 'hold on,'" or 'give me 10 minutes, I'm almost done.' I love spending time with my wife. She is my best friend, but I need to get back to work. If you're hiring please tell me what your favorite bee ... uh ... never mind. That didn't work out last time. But you can still hire me.
8) What do you miss most about being on-air and doing a morning show?
It has to be drawing an emotion out of a listener. Whether its laughter, tears, pure anger, or passionately irritated, it means they are invested in our content. Not only do I love hearing people's personal and family problems but I also love telling people about all my personal problems I'm having at home as well ... even if it ends up with me sleeping on the couch for a couple days. It's worth it. CONTENT IS KING. I believe my misery (no matter how exaggerated it may be) or a listeners problems (no matter how ridiculous they may be) can lead to the funniest on-air moments. Oh yeah, I also love pretending that I'm a psychologist and that I know how to fix all their problems. Usually when playing Dr. Phil, my wife will call in and call me out for not abiding by the advice I'm giving the listener. Now hire me, or I'll be sleeping on the couch again for typing this.
9) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I've learned it's pretty difficult to get rid of my belly. No matter how many push-ups I do, I just can't get a stinking six-pack ... wait ... what? (No seriously, you need to hire me, I hate working out.)
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Learn to love Top Ramen. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the creamy chicken is the best. Seriously, never give up. The first time I ever made a demo, I was an intern at an Oldies radio station. I'm not talking about a Rhythmic Urban AC Oldies station. I'm talking about a Classic Oldies format. I asked the PD if I could make a demo tape in the prod room. He said yes. I was so excited. When I was finished, I took my little demo tape to the PD and played it for him. I was so proud of what I had made. I was like a kid in a candy store about to get the Everlasting Gobstopper. After listening for only 45 seconds he shut it off and said, "I'm gonna be 100% honest with you ... that's the worst demo I've ever heard." He was shaking his head in disbelief and kind of laughing. He said, "You'll never be on the radio, so if you want to be in this business, you better start learning how to do production." (In all fairness to that PD, I was horrible. That demo was so bad it was borderline felonious).
However, him telling me that drove me to learn, not only production, but imaging as well, and of course the basics of being on the air. Once I got those down, I started learning the programing side of radio. I started adding bells and whistles to my on-air product, then bells and whistles to my production and the same with my imaging. 20 years later I'm still adding the bells and whistles and still learning new things every day. One thing I've learned is never give up on what you love ... and I still love radio. So hire me.
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
This is hands-down my favorite recipe.
BOURBON-BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS ON A TRAEGER GRILL
- 1/2 Cup Yellow Mustard
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Molasses
- 10 to 12 Beef Short Ribs, preferably from the Chuck or Plate
- Prime Rib Rub as needed
- 1 Cup Beef Broth
- 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 2 Tbsp. Bourbon
Make the slather sauce: In a small mixing bowl, combine the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and molasses; whisk to mix.
Coat each rib on all sides with the mustard slather sauce. Season with Prime Rib Rub.
Make the mop sauce: Combine the beef broth, soy sauce, and bourbon in a food-safe spray bottle.
Place the short ribs, bone-side down, directly on the grill grate. Cook for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of a rib is 165F when read on an instant-read meat thermometer, spraying with the mop sauce every 30 minutes.
Transfer the ribs to a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bring up the edges of the foil and add whatever remains of the mop sauce. Bring the opposite sides of the foil together and fold several times, tightly enclosing the ribs.
Return the foil-enclosed ribs to the grill grate. Continue to cook the ribs until the internal temperature is 195F, about 1 hour more. Let the ribs rest for 15 minutes, still enclosed in the foil, then open carefully. (Watch out for escaping steam.) Transfer the ribs to a platter or plates, then drizzle with the juices.