10 Questions with ... Justin aka Justice aka TOOL aka Unemployed
February 22, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started off my career as an intern/stunt guy for Paul and Young Ron at WZTA/Miami, where I got the name TOOL, which seemed to stick after going to my first convention "Bitfest." I flew out to Texas, got the cheapest hotel and hoped for the best. Paul got up on the first day of the convention and said, "This is TOOL, the only intern I have ever had to pay his own way to come here. Someone give him a job." That weekend I had multiple offers and decided that I was going to become the producer/stunt guy for Bob and Madison at WDCG/Raleigh. From there I went on to become the Executive Producer for Kevin and Virginia at WLDI/West Palm, where I became Justice, which lead to working with Chio at XHTZ/San Diego and WRDW/Philadelphia. Almost nine years later, here I am, packed and ready for the next and hopefully final stop on my radio journey.
1) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
I have had time to create pages and pages of ideas/content/bits to try when I get back on air, one of which I really believe is going to be a true game-changer. I feel like I have something to prove now for some reason. I have this "drive" that has really focused my passion and I can't wait to take on Radio 2.0.
2) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Yes. I have a passion that is really going to be hard to shake. I will always be a morning radio guy even if I'm seen on TV, heard on the Internet or over an FM transmitter. I believe radio will evolve with technology and there will be different delivery systems, but there will always be a place for real talent, so I'm not only here for the long haul, but I'm prepared for the changes.
3) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
I view all the websites that post job openings like everyone else, but I think most jobs evolve from friends in radio reaching out in one form or another. I go to two conventions a year (Morning Show Bootcamp and Bitfest) and the relationships built there have led to every job I have gotten in radio.
4) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Networking is always going to be your best tool, and it's easier now than it has ever been to do so. Meet the people you want to work for, meet people who do what you want to do -- and don't waste your time with them. Make sure to learn as much as you can whenever you can. I would also say don't wait for the door to open; break it down. I went to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting just to get the internship that got my foot in the door. Make people interested in you ... do something to stand out. Create YouTube videos. If you want to jock or do mornings, then start an online radio station and practice! Take improv classes, write skits, learn to edit audio and video, learn to build websites, the more you know the more valuable you are.
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I would love for my next move to be my last one! To just be in one market for the next 20 years! But, I want to be someone who creates, not just another copy and paste morning show only using bits that have worked somewhere else, or setting up fake bits/callers. I want to be like Kraddick, always trying new ideas/bits/benchmarks and being one step ahead. I want to be the one they copy, one of the people they call when they need an idea to take their bit to the next level.
6) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I have used the time off to invest in myself to become better at everything I ever asked people to do for me while I was on air. So I am now very self-sufficient. I have learned to build websites, sharpened my video and audio editing skills, took classes on social marketing, started writing comedy bits, took improv classes and have maintained great relationships with some of the top morning shows across the country. I am still helping brainstorm ideas for various morning shows. I never want to lose my connection and feel like I have "been away," even though I'm off air, and this helps a lot.
7) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
So much more now! Hi, my name is Justin and I am an addict. There was a span of six months where I listened to seven hours of morning radio every weekday live online and then listened to some podcasts at night. I was tracking a ton of great shows for a week at a time, building their timelines, marking where they put their benchmarks, commercials, etc. I wanted to see what different angles they took on the topics everyone was talking about. I wanted to see what made them the best in their markets. I was acting kind of like a consultant as I would break the show down and see what I would change to make it better or how I would compete against them if I had to. I still get up early and listen to various shows online, but now it's more like three to four hours a day.
8) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your family and friends that you probably did not have time to do while you were working?
I have really used the time "on the beach" to make myself a better person -- not just on the radio, but off as well. I was lucky that I got to see my family more since most of them live in New York; it was tough during my radio career to see them often. I am glad I got to spend more time with my mom before she passed away in July. I wouldn't have had that time had I been working. I have really gotten to spend a lot of time with my girl as well and know the true meaning of love. I need to get back on air so I can make enough money to give her the ring/wedding she deserves. There is nothing more that I want than to start a family.
9) 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?
Money is not what is important to me. Now, if it meant that I would be working around people who made me better, people that I could continue to learn from, or a place I could grow, I'm interested. I want to be at a place that really wants to win ... somewhere not happy with second place. This is my career; it's not just a job to me. I look at it like an actor picking scripts. I don't care if it's an indie or a blockbuster. I won't take a job or turn one down just for the money or just to say, "I have a job in radio." That's what makes people lose their passion ... and that's my biggest asset.
10) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I have learned a ton about myself and how important the people you love are. I know what I really care about; I know who my true friends are, how people really view me, and most importantly that I won't take anyone or anything for granted anymore. I tell the people I love that I love them more often, and I try do things instead of talking about doing them.
Uh oh ... now you're on your own for getting new music. Name your three most recent purchases since leaving the biz.
People still "buy" music? The last three that I "bought" were:
- Santana "Guitar Heaven" - When I want to jam.
- Eminem "Recovery" - When I want to work out or get pumped up for something.
- John Mayer "Battle Studies" - When I want to chill.