10 Questions with ... Chris Hedden
May 3, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
To begin, I first worked in local Western NY radio as a shy and fresh-faced intern back in 2008. After I was let go due to downsizing, I worked a variety of odd jobs and pursued freelance journalism as well as making YouTube videos as a way to still be creative on the side. Then in 2014, I returned to the local radio airwaves here to work at a six-station cluster part-time. But now, I'm looking for something bigger and to get into the thick of things somewhere in the mix of the New York State market!
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I take everything on a "one day at a time" basis. I like to stay very goal-oriented in whatever I do, and whether it's being creative, constructive, or searching out the job market, I like to stay accomplished in order to stay motivated. The busier I can be, the more positive I feel.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I enjoy staying creative. Whether it's being a freelance journalist, playing a lot of music, recording radio voice work from my home studio to stay sharp or making videos for YouTube, I love being able to be creative. It's a state of mind that has never stopped being the ultimate fulfillment to me.
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.
Personally, I'm excited. I've been looking for a bigger role in the biz for a long time, and while I've seen both the good and bad in radio, it hasn't at all deterred my desire to move into something bigger where I can have more of an impact. I'm ready to get out there and work!
4) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely. I've developed such a lasting love of the business and have enjoyed every aspect I've had the pleasure of being a part of. I never rule anything out when it comes to the media business world, but as far as radio is concerned, it has a deeply special place in my heart.
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I'd love to have a full-time position where I could not only expand on my skills, but be part of a great team. The thing I absolutely loved about doing part-time work was that I didn't just learn one skill, I got to learn about being on-air, doing production, being a voice talent and learning the business side ... and I only want to continue that on a day-to-day basis. I'm looking to set the bar as high as possible, for being as great an asset as possible.
6) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
The courtesy level has been exceptional, and I'm beyond grateful to the people whom I've gotten in touch with and those who have done the same. That's another thing I love about radio; there are a lot of wonderful people in this business.
7) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
With everything I do, I try to bring as much of my youth and enthusiasm and humor as possible in order to always keep things as interesting as can be. And when it comes to time on the job, I like to set myself apart in the way that I work. With radio, I'm not there to just punch a clock or earn a paycheck. I'm there to pay my dues, earn respect, build relationships, and become that reliable horse that'll do whatever it takes to get the job done.
8) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
At this point in what's still a young career for me, being given the chance to do my own Saturday morning live show was a really big moment. Getting to be on the air was simultaneously the most nerve-wracking/exciting moment in my radio career, and being given the reins to that meant a lot to me.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Always be consistent and believe in what you do. Rejection and down times will come, but it's all about persistence and just continuing to hone yourself and your skillset. Believe in what you do, and believe in yourself. Believe that you're a commodity that someone in the biz needs, and that listeners are just waiting to hear.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
In five to 10 years, I'd like to gradually build my way up into a media market where I'm comfortable, still just as excited about what I do, and still just continuing to learn and grow. As humans we never truly stop learning, and I'm hoping that whether its five years, 10, or 20, I can still just as proudly say I'm still growing and only getting better at what I do.
Uh oh ... now you're on your own for getting new music. If applicable, name your three most recent purchases since leaving the biz.
My three most recent purchases are Brian Fallon's "Painkillers," Iggy Pop's "Post Pop Depression," and the Grateful Dead's "Wake of the Flood," among others. It's been a heavy music-listening time lately!