10 Questions with ... Bruce Scott
May 17, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Many years in small markets like Bismarck, ND. Ten years doing mornings at Classic Hits WJJK/WGLD in Indianapolis. Three years completely out of radio as a small business owner, then back in radio, afternoons on AC KOST/Los Angeles, and nationally, nightly as an iHeart Premium Choice jock.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
If I'm not busy, I drive my wife and kids crazy pacing around the house. I've been doing some camping and hiking. Death Valley is a favorite spot. It's a beautiful place with a bad name. And here in L.A. there are a number of free activities for SAG-AFTRA members like movie screenings and voice over classes. I'm also now fully caught up on every show on Netflix, especially "House Of Cards," "Better Call Saul," and old "Emergency!" episodes.
2) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
The last time this happened, I spent three years completely away from radio. I built and operated frozen yogurt stores in Indianapolis. I can tell you that nobody works harder or longer hours than a business owner. It was eye-opening to be on the other side of the business as an advertising buyer. I went back to radio with a new appreciation for small businesses. I also realized that radio is the funnest job on the planet, and everyone who still gets to do it is lucky!
3) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
It's true that networking helps get you noticed. Former PDs, friends in other markets, anyone who might "know someone who knows someone" might make the call that gets you a little extra attention. I'm not a huge fan of sending gifts to the PD, which I think is creepy. I've started working with an agent, Steve Gallagher at Creative Talent Inc. Steve knows more people than I do, and I've realized that I'm terrible at negotiating contracts, and I needed somebody to take that off my plate. I attended the Worldwide Radio Summit as well.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Mornings at a major or large-market AC, Classic Hits or Country station. But it's no longer just about market size for me. I want to work in a building with a positive, supportive environment, where hard work and creativity are appreciated. I never intended to be a journeyman deejay, moving from town to town, and I want to stay at the next job for a long time. The next move is a family decision, not just mine. My wife and kids want a nice neighborhood and good schools and colleges.
5) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
I get some kind of response from about half of the people I contact. That's frustrating, but I understand that PDs are totally swamped now, and have in-boxes full of e-mails from people like me. But then there are people like KOST PD Michael La Crosse, who makes it a point to personally respond to every e-mail he gets. You've just got to be grateful for the people like that, rather than spending time being angry at the people who don't respond. That gets you nowhere.
6) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
"Honestly, is that really you on the aircheck?" Years ago, one station didn't believe I was the same person who sent them the aircheck. They thought I was using somebody else's tape to get the job! Like a lot of entertainers, I'm naturally introverted and businesslike off the air and "turn it on" for the show. I didn't resemble the wild and crazy guy they heard at all. That taught me that I've got to turn it on for interviews. The last thing you want to do is disappoint them at the interview. That goes for meeting listeners at events and remotes too. And, no, I didn't get that job.
7) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
What I'm noticing is that now you need to establish a personal brand. It's no longer good enough to be "a deejay." You need to be somebody who the audience will relate to and remember for some reason. "That's the guy who's crazy about the Dodgers!" "That's the woman who just had a baby and talks about being a mom!" "That's the guy who just got out of prison!" And it's got to be real, (people can now spot a phony a mile away) and you've got to connect with them frequently and honestly on social media.
8) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
No, it makes me sad. I sorely miss my co-workers and doing my show. I'll probably get over this eventually, because I truly love radio, but for now, it's a downer. I turn it on once in a while to hear what friends like Dave Styles are up to, or I listen online to sample stations in other markets where I'd like to work. But just for fun? I'm not there yet.
9) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
Landing the job at KOST in Los Angeles, and being a part of its success and growth was a dream come true. And then to be chosen to be on nationally? It was insane. People always ask me how I got that job. Did I know somebody there or what? No, I just saw their ad on All Access and sent them an aircheck. (Former PD) Stella Prado listened to every single aircheck from the hundreds they got and they hired me! I wasn't even in radio at the time. I literally went from behind the counter of a yogurt store to on the air at one of the biggest stations in the U.S. within the span of a couple weeks. This really happens, I promise you.
10) 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?
Yes! The first thing a couple PDs have said to me was "I don't know if I can afford you." Yes you can! I'm not trying to get rich here, I'm just trying to do what I love and make enough to do the things other people do, like buy a home and save a little to send my kids to college some day. That said, good local personalities are the key to great radio, and we shouldn't de-value our work by doing free internships or any free or super low-paying work to "get exposure," which is nonsense.
My wife got me involved with selling stuff on eBay. For example, she bought a load of medical supplies at an auction. We now have a closet full of surgical gloves and strange medical instruments that people will actually pay for! I found an old Tom Scholz Rockman guitar effect at Goodwill for $9.99, and sold it for $200.00.