10 Questions with ... Nick Bonsanto
September 13, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I am a NJ native who started his career as a DJ in the Trenton market at WTTM working in NJ for several years and then becoming one of the first Sports Talk hosts in the market in the early '90s. While in NJ, I was the play by play voice for Rider University men's basketball and also handled play by play for -- at the time -- Trenton State College as well. I worked my way up to programming as well, launching the new WVSJ News/Talk Station in the NJ/Philly market in the '90s as well as doing some fill in work at several NJ and Philadelphia area stations including WIP over the years. I moved to Chattanooga, TN for new opportunities and became the PD and afternoon-drive host at ESPN 105.1 The Zone, where I was very active in the community and later became a regular on Prime News at 7 on the local CBS -TV affiliate WDEF-TV. My time there created an opportunity to take The Nick Bonsanto Show to a national platform and I moved to Las Vegas four years ago where I did my show on The Sports Byline Radio Network live from the Luxor Hotel and Casino for over three years. Over the years I have also done shows in some major markets like Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco and also locally here in Las Vegas along the way. I wasn't let go by the network ... it was a mutual agreement, and with the landscape changing, I am currently doing a web based show looking for the right opportunity to continue my career.
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I have embraced social media and the Internet and launched a daily Internet-based show here in Vegas to stay sharp and remain relevant in the sports radio landscape.
2) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
I have found All Access to be a valuable tool in looking for openings in the market and am thankful that you are there to keep me informed. I also find networking with people in the industry is paramount to knowing what is going on in the marketplace.
3) What is the next job you would like to obtain?
I would love to find a quality local market station to work as a host and programmer again ( I would even welcome a non-sports talk show). I would love to create and grow a brand (even a new brand) that has a quality on-air sound and most importantly is a proud member of the community they serve and can do that in a profitable way for ownership. I see myself as a leader, both as a host and/or programmer who together with ownership creates something that is a source of pride and profit for all involved.
4) What is the most unbelievable on-air bit you were allowed to do?
I am not sure you would call it an on-air bit, but in the Sports-Talk world you get to speak to many interesting people in the sports world. Interviewing Mike Tyson live and having him spew stories about his personal marriage to Robin Givens and finding a man in his bed with his spouse (a very popular actor today) was one of the most shocking and interesting live moments I have had in my career. Sometimes the best things just happen and are not actually bits. Although I have done everything from racing donkeys and elephants to competitive eating contests, and they were fun as well.
5) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Yes, there are fewer jobs out there, but I really believe what separates me from the pack is my drive, high motor, extremely entertaining FUN style that incorporates sports and entertainment side by side. I am a tireless promoter of the brand who believes in being everywhere and anywhere in the community that will present the station and my show in a positive light. I also believe that my ability to get personal with my listeners and peeling back my layers allows my audience to connect with me in a way that they feel they know me. Let's also not forget I really know how to work with sales to create programming that they can sell.
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Yes, I do surf the dial, but I have to say I find myself on the web often listening to talent and looking for ways to be better at what I do on a daily basis. I sometimes feel like Dr. Frankenstein when I try to take pieces of others and attach them to me to make myself a better host.
7) What do you miss the most about radio? The least?
What I miss the most about radio at the moment is that I miss the community. The community and working to better the community are paramount and important to bonding with and creating your audience. While doing my national show I learned that this was the missing link in what I was doing.
As for what I miss the least, it has to be the high wages that we all receive in the industry. Okay, I can't really miss that because it's not true, but I thought someone would chuckle over that comment.
8) Is there anything specific that you regret doing while you were still working?
The thing I regret most in my career came early on when I didn't understand the importance of paying your dues and creating your brand for future success. I found myself always looking for bigger and better and not spending enough time to get comfortable in my own skin. That, however, isn't how the most recent years of my career have been, because I understand the importance of that now and want to find that long term home to build something that I will be remembered for.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in the biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
My advice to people breaking in has been very similar throughout my career: Be prepared to do whatever is asked of you and absorb everything going on in the station like a sponge. Be willing to take suggestions, even when you think you know better, and don't give up because it's a long and sometimes dark road you must travel. Oh, and don't go out and buy a new car you can't afford that early on in your career in radio. It sounds funny but it's true, as living modest in the early days is important to your success, because financially many can't weather the storm of their early career and get derailed by that.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
My recent experience of things not exactly working as I had hoped has already made me really appreciate my career and what I was born to do. When you are in radio for a career, radio is in you and without it you don't exactly feel whole. I can promise that my appreciation for my next position will be like seeing the sun shine after a month of storms, and I for one will appreciate it and not squander the new opportunity.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
I recently pulled out a book on my shelf I hadn't read in some time written by Mitch Album, "The Five People You meet in Heaven." I love this book because it reflects on a person's life and the life they lead and how life comes full circle after their death. It makes you appreciate the journey and understand that everything and everyone in your life is part of who and what you are, no matter how small. It really makes you reflect on life and living it the right way.