10 Questions with ... Allyson Martinek
May 31, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Fresh out of Broadcasting school I applied to ONE radio station. I was either going to get hired there or finish college. It was the legendary 96.3 WHYT in Detroit, market #6 at the time. I was hired two days after sending in my "tape" in July of 1995. Twenty years later, three sets of call letters: WPLT (The Planet) and WDVD, four different companies, five general managers, 11 program directors, and more staff changes then I can count, I celebrated my 20th anniversary at that same radio station in July 2015. Congratulations e-mails were still coming in when I was let go two weeks later. Re-branding ... what can you do? But I understand a window is supposed to open after the door closes so... :)
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I remind myself everyday that there isn't a person in this business who hasn't gone through this at least once ... in this or any business really. Sometimes you get a raw deal; it's life. I really do believe things happen for a reason, even though it's hard to see that in the moment. But when I wind up where I'm supposed to be, this will have all made sense!
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I instantly started writing a book after my downsizing. I'd always wanted to write a book, so what better way to occupy all of this time I'd just been given. I wrote it, it's called "Living On Air: A Radiogirl's Quest For Fairness And Happily Ever After." It's doing really well on Amazon and I've just started writing book #2! Now I wait for Oprah to call me...
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
If there is one thing I'm sure of it's that I'm supposed to be on the radio! And not just because my grandfather owned a radio station when I was growing up (WJML, the L is my mom :). Doing anything else isn't an option. I've worked really hard throughout my career to be really good at what I do, to make strong bonds with my audience, and I can't wait to get back to making really great radio!
4) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
This is it! Before the "incident," I could brag that I had never been fired in my life. Not in my radio career, or any job leading up to it. I can no longer say that (she said through clenched teeth:). It's been seven months and I'm not getting any tanner, so I'm ready to come in. Everyone probably makes the beach joke, right?
5) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
Not blowing smoke but definitely All Access. Most that I have applied for I found here. Next it would be from my listeners. I'm very fortunate to have an audience that wants me back on the radio as much as I want to be back on the radio, and they send me job leads. Its precious and I love them for it. I probably get anywhere from 20-40 job leads each week from listeners who e-mail, Facebook or tweet me links.
6) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
Well, I've had one very nice phone conversation that ended with "we will be talking again," but that was a couple weeks ago. And I've gotten one rejection letter. Which brought me to this conclusion: I think the rejection letter is a bad idea. Some people may like the closure, but there's nothing like having it in writing that you aren't really good enough. I'll just assume if I haven't heard from you in a week or so that you're just not that into me. You know, just like the bad date that ended with "I'll totally call you tomorrow."
7) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
My social media skills and ability to bond with my listeners gives me an advantage. When I lost my job, I retained almost all of my audience despite the fact that they couldn't even hear me anymore. I instantly started making videos to stay connected and maintained what was already a very high profile on social media. They stayed loyal to me because we had built real relationships over the years. I think having those two attributes are very important in making your show #1 ... honestly caring about your listeners and being accessible.
8) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
It's funny that you ask; not only could I NOT listen to MY station, I couldn't listen to any station that was remotely similar. So I started listening to the Urban stations and Sports Talk. Because the formats were so different, I could listen without crying uncontrollably.
9) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
I'd probably say that my biggest career accomplishment would be turning struggling morning shows around. I'm very proud of my show in Detroit, where it started and what we attained. There is no better feeling than knowing your hard work took you to #1! Also, helping to get the TV show Dish Nation picked up. The work everyone put into the pilot is why the show is still on today.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
Well I'll certainly start one of those savings accounts I've heard people talk about. As much as I enjoyed buying more candle's and baskets than any one person should have, I learned that being a popular morning show with high ratings and multiple years left on your contract does not keep you safe. So maybe there isn't "plenty of time to start saving later." Silly girl!
Your favorite new diversion is...
... the ID network. After I lost my job I sought out the unfamiliar ... things that didn't remind me of what I was missing. My normal TV patterns involved reality TV and sitcoms, but once I became unemployed I took comfort in the ID network. Which is weird because it's not really comforting with all the murders and such. A LOT of old Datelines and Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda's are keeping me occupied these days :).