10 Questions with ... Ben "Boomer" "The Rabbi Of Rock" Schuman
October 12, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started out interning in Bermuda in 1997, then at K-Rock, NY (1998), WHMP-WLZX in Springfield, MA as Promotions Dir./nights ('99-'02), WXEG/Dayton, OH as APD/MD/mornings ('02-'07), and WFXH in Savannah-Hilton Head as PD/afternoons ('07-'09).
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
Since I left radio I got re-married, had two operations to help end 10 years of horrible chronic pain and gained some much needed weight. I wake up every day and see all the great things in my life and know that things have-are-will turn around soon, and I'll be back doing what I love to do ... and am good at!
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Trying to be a good "Army Wife" to my new wife (who is, yes, an Army Sergeant), long-distance dad to my kids, son to my folks, reading a TON of books, and re-connecting with family. Plus, I've gotten healthy. I had horrible chronic pain for 10+ years due to nerve damage from lung operations. I've been able to have some operations that have changed my life, eased my pain, and given back to me a very good quality of life. It's been a true blessing!
3) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
At first I shut off completely, but now I am back to thinking that it's still one of the greatest things to do ... ever. A world without music is one I would never want to live in, and I believe even more now in the importance and power of radio than I have in many, many years. We're on the verge of making a giant shift back towards what was our last time of "good old days." And I plan to be a part of that!
4) Do you plan on sticking with the music/radio industry?
I hope to! It's my true love and I feel like my calling. After all that I've been through I want to stick with it and am ready to start at the bottom and prove myself all over again, if that is what is asked of me.
5) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
The relationships that you build in the industry are invaluable. If you do good work, work hard are honest in your dealings with people, it will serve you well in the short AND long run. I'm doing my best to ask those who have known me for 10+ years to keep eyes and ears out. Helps a ton.
6) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
Hasn't happened yet. I'm currently working on this. I've formed a personal "Coalition of the Willing" in helping me get back on the air. If I gotta do the windows, too, so be it!
7) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I've done it all -- from promotions to PD, overnights to morning drive. I just want to be back in the building and back working on someone's team. No job too big, no job too small for this hairy, tattooed and unconventionally handsome Jew!
8) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
Again, I have done every job in the building at one time and I have the experience to be able to help out in every facet of a station which, I think, makes me a rare and helpful commodity.
9) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
In Savannah, within a year of being made PD, we had been voted Best Alternative Station (Small Market) by a now-defunct publication. I was more proud of being the 'head' of that staff than anything I've done individually.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
I have been through a lot of BAD since I last worked (one of the seven worst divorces in the history of divorces), multiple operations, and being separated from my kids. I think it's fair to say I have grown up a lot (dare I say, "matured"?) and am much more even-keeled, calm, and have a better perspective on life than I did while I was in the thick of things in my last few years in radio. I realize now that, just maybe, I wasn't ALWAYS right before ... Ha ha!
My favorite new diversion is ...
Actually an old one... I started playing tennis when I was four, but had to abandon it after 6 six lung operations and horrible chronic pain. I recently started playing for the first time in eight years, and other than music/radio, tennis was always my biggest passion. It's so amazing to be back out on the court. (I did come to the stark revelation that the last time I played I had a full head of shoulder-length hair and only three or four tattoos!).