10 Questions with ... Issa Lopez
August 2, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My career began in radio when I was in my teen years. I used to sing the morning show song for a very popular morning show here in Colorado. After pursuing my singing career for a couple of years, I received an opportunity with iHeartRadio in 2005.
I was with the iHeartRadio family for close to 11 years. I started off with their Latino format "MEGA" doing mornings, then I had my own afternoon show when they switched to Rhythmic and found a home for over six years doing middays for 95.7 The Party. I also had a Spanish Top 40 syndicated show for them on iHeartRadio.
Currently I am doing voiceovers and imaging from my home studio, and I am looking for an opportunity to be able to find more voicetracking opportunities. I have a full studio in my home, and I have a passion for radio.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I have really come to terms with how important your state of mind is. Everything is mental. Staying motivated involves learning to ignore the people who say "it can't be done." And above all, follow your gut. I keep a regimen ... a schedule I follow all week to stay focused. As long as you stay positive, keep taking things one step at a time, and do what you can to connect with people in your chosen field, there are far more possibilities than you think.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
#1) I took a small part-time radio job on Saturdays that was available because it is crucial to stay in the radio flow. Also, a part-time job could open a door to a full-time job. #2) I'm pursuing my dream of doing voiceovers. I speak English and Spanish, and when I did have income coming in I invested in a real professional home studio. I had already had 15 years of VO experience under my belt, but I decided that with all this time on my hands I was going to network my butt off, at least three to four hours a day, weather it's cold calls, social media, or making a specific demo for a company that has no clue I am about to convince them they need me.
3) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
Get crazy and jump in the pool of cold water. When I was 16 my favorite radio show really didn't have a morning show song, and since I am a singer, I contacted some friends of mine -- I did some exchange work in the studio for them -- to create a professional self-written song that I personally delivered to the station. They ended up using it for years, and BLOOP ... that's just another thing to show on your resume.
4) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
Okay ... this surprised me, but literally stalking groups on Linkedin that are in the field you want, because I have found over six gigs for commercials this year alone by just reading the comments people write on the group blogs! Oh, and do a search on Twitter twice a day with job seeking key words that you are looking for ... all kinds of stuff will pop up.
5) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
Honestly, I have only been let go once in this field. I was a success in Colorado for 10-and-a-half years in both English and Spanish. I received two broadcasting awards in 2007 and have had my own morning show twice! I am finding out now that I'm looking for a job that I was very lucky to stay in one building all those years.
6) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I lived and breathed my job. That's all I have focused on all these year. So when I lost my job, I lost myself. My goal is to find who I am outside of my career. I have come to realize you can't give your job too much power over your life.
7) 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?
Absolutely. Radio is a love of mine and I know radio salaries have changed a tremendous amount.
8) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Stay focused ... learn from everyone you can in the building! Even the guys who have been there for 20+ years ... you can't learn enough. Also, not everybody is going to like you on the air. Don't let that get to you. An old boss of mine once told me that radio stars are either loved or hated. If you're in between, that's not really where you want to be.
9) What do you miss most about music/radio? The least?
I am a very social person. From one day to another, to be home with just me and my studio... that was not easy. I miss my listeners ... the relationships you build with them. Think about it: they allow YOU to be a part of them. What I miss the least ... I saw radio change very much through the years. The breaks are just getting smaller and smaller. It's crazy.
10) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
This is a great question. When I was let go, I didn't know how to really answer this, but I do now. I am the girl/woman who is listening. I am one of the most relatable radio personalities anyone can hire. I am Puerto Rican and moved to Colorado when I was seven. I lived in foster homes for a very long stretch of my childhood. I was abused, mistreated and had to re-invent myself every time I was moved into another foster home. I have had a huge imagination since I was little. I had to survive. To hire me is to hire someone who knows how to spark an emotion from your listeners, and that to me is the whole purpose of becoming a radio talent.
Care to contribute a recipe for our "On The Beach" cookbook?
Absolutely! This is a part of me that my listeners are still following on Instagram and Facebook ... my cooking secrets!
For the BEST MOIST CAKE EVER ... EVERY TIME, take any box of cake mix, add 1 cup of buttermilk and a small box of instant vanilla pudding mix. You can find a husband with this secret ... Ha!