10 Questions with ... Sandy McIlree
August 9, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WOW-A/F/Omaha, Evenings 1989-1994
- WHEN.Syracuse, Mornings 1994-1995
- KAMX (Mix 94.7)/Austin, Mornings 1996-2001
- KRBV (100.3)/Dallas and KAMX (Mix 94.7), Mornings (Simulcast) 2001-2002
- KAMX (Mix 94.7_/Austin, Mornings 2002-2013
- SiriusXM 2012-2014
- Austin Radio Group 2014
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Maintaining a positive mental attitude can be tough at times, but I believe I am going to be back on the air somewhere. With that in mind, it isn't hard to stay motivated. I want to be ready when that happens. I still do show prep every day and share it with whoever wants it on my website www.sandymcilree.com. Doing show prep everyday has helped me stay in the practice of doing it and helps stay in contact with people in the business.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I wish I could say I have learned to speak Mandarin, Spanish and Farsi, become a scratch golfer and created a social media app with a valuation of $80 million but I can't. I decided to use the time to broaden my radio skill set. In today's radio climate, you have to be able to wear many hats, so I've sharpened my production skills, learned how to design and build websites, reinvented how I show prep, thought about what the new show will be like and read every piece of research I can on the future of media consumption, social media and the Millennial Generation.
3) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely. The thought of leaving radio has never entered my mind.
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
In a perfect world, the next job I obtain would be doing mornings on a Hot AC, AC, Top 40, Classic Hits or Country station in a top 20 market where I can stay for a long time. Again, that is a perfect world. So much of getting a job is timing. I was offered a job last fall in a great market but was being considered somewhere else that would have been a "Dream Job." I rolled the dice on the "Dream Job" and crapped out. The other station had to move forward and made a solid hire for the gig. No regrets.
5) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
Overall, I have found the "courtesy level" to be about what I thought it would be, and that's good. I have had to keep in mind that while the one thing on my radar is to find a job, the people I am hoping to hear from have 100 things on their radar. It has been a lesson in managing expectations. I have tried to use a proactive but not annoying approach to applying for a job. I want the potential employer to know I want the job but I don't want to annoy them with a barrage of e-mails or phone calls. It's a fine line. The reality is, if someone wants you to work at their radio station, they WILL get in touch with you. The most frustrating part is having some dialogue with an employer and then for some reason they go completely off the radar. I'd rather be told, "Hey you suck, there is no way we are going to hire you ... ever!" than someone going dark.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I spend more time listening to the radio than I ever did when I was on the radio. I still get up early, go to my computer and start working on whatever I have for the day. The entire time I am listening to the radio. I start listening to East Coast shows and move West through the morning. It's been fun listening to people I know from the business, but I've also enjoyed finding new shows that I have never heard of. I try to listen as a consumer, but the radio guy in me just won't 100% allow me to do that. I find myself listening for new production ideas, great teases, music features and a possible sidekick for when I get a job. If you are interested in a job that I don't have yet, send your stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org.
7) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I've learned patience. Not everyone is on the same timeline as you. Not just in looking for a job, but in life. That has been a fantastic lesson
8) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
Yes! I regret turning down the offer Entercom/Austin made in December of 2013 so I could go across the street. Bad move ... really bad decision.
9) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
This experience has been humbling. It is embarrassing to say, but when I resigned from the last station, I didn't think I would be out long at all. I was wrong. In the big picture it has been the best thing to happen in my career. When I get back to work, I'll appreciate being on the radio more. The space is more crowded (Spotify, Pandora, podcasts, etc.) now than ever. You better bring your "A" game every single day and be able to do more with less.
10) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
I hope to be doing the job I described above.
What's your handicap now that you've had time to practice?
Funny question. I was once an avid golfer and recently made the decision to give the game up completely. I wasn't very good, wasn't getting any better, and not enjoying it. However, if someone was interested in hiring me and wanted to play golf, I would find a way to scrape it around the course.