Toro & The T-Shirt
January 26, 2016
You can teach skills. You can teach systems, but you can't teach passion. If a member of your work team is not internally inspired... motivated by something - whether fame, fortune, a pat on the back, to prove someone right or wrong, or the desire to reach a certain position - then attempting to teach them to maintain motivation is done in vain.
Passion is the glue that will continue to allow someone to grow to heights unimaginable, as long as they don't lose heart along the way.
When I arrived on the scene of what was CBS Top 40 WXRK, 92.3 NOW, a month after it had launched, it had become apparent that afternoon talent Tic Tak was motivated; not always for the task at hand, but certainly for finding the next crop of talent for radio's next generation.
The recruiter at your local Army National Guard office could learn a thing or two from Tic Tak when it comes to motivating someone towards a goal, but until they get there, using them in a position of personal gain, with a payoff for them in the end.
Tic Tak Teaches Tactics
Throughout the time that Tic Tak and I worked together, I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that he made me aware of more than fifteen young whippersnappers, whom he deemed ready to be part of the radio team in New York City.
Tic Tak would follow up, too, with lots of messages of pressure. "So, did you hire him yet?" he'd ask over and over again.
Tic Tak, in back, and Will Calder, now with Power 96 in Miami, when they actually wore the same shirt on the same day. That was a good day.
And to his credit, of those fifteen, at least ten of them are finding their way to success in an industry that isn't going to hand that to you on a silver platter.
And as far as gatekeepers go, I was fantastic in that role, allowing his newfound talent a place on staff or in an internship, but not handing them the glory too early, and certainly not when it wasn't proven or earned.
Then came Fed Ex delivery guy Eric Torres, getting your goods from Amazon to your front door in the daytime, and at night creating the backdrop and soundtrack as a club DJ and mixer in some of NY and NJ's most attended party places.
Tic Tak set the meeting at a sushi joint in Soho, and as the inquisition began, I zoned in on the skills, the systems that Torres may have already known, as I was sure the passion part would be obvious. But instead of intense passion, I noticed a slight tinge of fear, discomfort, and a prospect who wasn't really sure what the purpose of this luncheon was.
I didn't really have a clue of its real purpose, either, but Tic Tak ate every piece of his Fatty Tuna roll; that I remember.
Then, fast forward to Fall 2009 at 92-3 NOW's first concert, which was three concerts, all in one night, simulcast from one college to another, each with a different headliner, including Fabolous at St. John's University and a kid who the world didn't know yet, Justin Bieber, who sold out the venue at Hofstra University in record time.
Because Of Your Short Attention Spans
Before the show and in between acts, we had hired DJ's to entertain and pacify the crowd, and for the Hofstra show, that was Eric Torres, but now with his superhero title of "Toro," no longer in Fed Ex attire, but in a self-made 92-3 Now T-Shirt.
If there was one thing 92-3 Now did extremely well, it was t-shirts, but the most memorable of those during my tenure, was one we didn't design. Toro did.
The shirt, the man, and the boy.
It wasn't the design itself that left the permanent impression, but the source of what made Toro design the shirt, then to have it printed. Passion.
From that moment on, I began to fight for Toro to be a 'real' part of the team at 92-3, turning the question around on Tic Tak, "So, did you hire him yet?" And eventually it came to be that Toro went from hanging out in the hallways to becoming Tic Tak's official producer, with pay.
Surviving The Storms
Eventually Tic Tak would leave the station, replaced on air by NYC air talent Lil' Cee, who along with Toro built the base of a phenomenal DJ mix team, adding other great NYC and NJ club DJs to the roster.
Toro continued to grow in skills, knowledge and passion, and eventually he got a shot to do an overnight shift on the weekend.
Merry Christmas Toro: First Shift Ever
As the transitions began to occur at 92-3 Now - from Dom Theodore's departure to Michael Martin overseeing it all, to Gillette's shot at the PD post - more jock changes were to come, and in those changes, Toro was moved to a daily late-night shift.
And with my dismissal in November of 2012, all of the original air talent had been changed out, but with Toro finding himself as part of the line up that made it through. Even as the station changed its moniker to Amp 92.3, another roster of talent that had rotated in was rotated out and all but one held on.
Better Days And Nights
When the reigns were given to the highly capable hands of programmer Rick Thomas, Toro continued to hang on, but also to be given permanent residence in the 7p - 11p shift.
What got him there? Passion. What's held him there? Results, work ethic, and something he never lost...that same passion.