10 Questions with ... Bob Stei
February 19, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WRCM-A (Carrier Current)/Manhattan College -- PD, Promotions Dir. and lunatic college shock jock 1990-1993
WNEW /New York -- Programming and Promotions Intern under Lorraine Caruso and Amy Winslow 1992-1993
WIYY/Baltimore -- Assistant Research Dir./Assistant Morning Show Producer 1994-1998.
Greater Media/Philadelphia (WMMR, WMGK, WPEN-A, WXXM, WEJM and WMWX) -- Studio Producer/Promotions Team 1998-2004
FMQB/Cherry Hill, NJ -- News Coordinator 2002-2003
WBAB/Long Island -- part-time jock 2003-2004
WZZO/Allentown -- part-time jock 2004-2008
WPST/Trenton-Philadelphia -- Promotions Assistant 2005-2006
WRFF/Philadelphia -- part-time jock (also studio producer and promotions assistant for WISX and WIOQ) 2007-2012
1) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
A few days after the Clear Channel layoffs, Glassman, who does afternoons at WAFL in Milford, DE, reached out to me. He was an intern at 98 Rock in Baltimore, back in the 1990s. He saw my listing in All Access (thanks, guys) and asked if I was interested in helping out during the holidays. So, before I could hang up my headphones, I did a few Hot AC shifts over the holiday at The Eagle and absolutely loved it! Gary John is a great guy for bringing me aboard and letting me fill-in and enjoy a new format!
2) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
Russ Mottla and Suzy Roeser hired me as a Research Assistant at 98 Rock a few months after I graduated college in 1993. I started in January, 1994 and have always had some sort of radio position in one way or other since. So, you are looking at it!
3) What has been your best resource for finding out about job openings?
The correct answer I know is All Access! First, I did utilize the wonderful trade magazines! I didn't read the openings, but having my name, call letters, brief history and e-mail out there was a great start. I talked to my family and we decided that I should continue to pursue another part-time gig and anything within a few hours of our home in suburban Philadelphia or an hour from my mom's place in suburban Baltimore. I instantly reached out to all my programmers, friends and co workers at Clear Channel and thanked them. They had nothing to do with a nationwide downsizing, and I was lucky enough to work with and learn from some brilliant radio people like Brian Check, John Allers and Wendy Rollins. I have kept in touch and they have been very helpful with assisting me. Next, I reached out to every person I knew and worked with in the business since I started. I explained my situation, attached a resume and asked them to talk to anyone they knew. My last step has been researching stations I would love to join, and I have been sending emails and demos back and forth. The programmers have been outstanding about getting back to me.
4) What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get a job?
When I was at WIYY, Christian Cudnik, who was on the weekends at 98 Rock, took a position at WMMR/Philadelphia. Now, not too many people say this, but I have always been obsessed with the City of Brotherly Love! Even though I grew up in Baltimore, I was born in Philadelphia, and as a child choose to be a die-hard Philly sports fan (great move). I would go to Philly a lot as a younger man, loved the nightlife, and just loved the city. So, I constantly asked him to bring me aboard at WMMR, and he sent my information to PD Joe Bonnadonna. I called 'MMR one morning, and later that day Joe left me a message saying, "When you are ready to move here, contact me." I was so deranged that I planned my move and even sent him a copy of my rental agreement at my first apartment! Joe thought I was insane for doing that, but agreed to see me. The rest is history!
5) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I am very open. I want to stay on-air and I enjoy all of the Rock formats, and I have a new love for the Hot AC thing! Now, if somebody wants to get crazy, I would do a full-out talk show like Don Geronimo or Steve Dahl or a comedy-political show like Stephanie Miller! Hand me the mic, tell me what you want and I will be there!
6) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
Amazing! That is one great thing about e-mail; it's quick and painless! I have a spreadsheet I use to track who I contacted and when to follow up. About 75% of the people I have reached out to have responded in some way or other. I still have faith in this industry!
7) With consolidation there are definitely fewer jobs. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
This is one area where being older and having "been there, done that" is a plus. I know the game and I'm not looking to fight the system. I look at my next position as a privilege and will follow all protocol and just be happy to do what I love. With Clear Channel and Greater Media, I was able to wear many hats and work at several different stations at once, which I enjoyed.
8) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Yes and no. I have not listened to a lot of the local stations since my time off. However, I have been spending a lot of time streaming stations in other markets I am interested in joining. The technology and applications are amazing!
9) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
At the Radio 104.5 Birthday Bash last year, all of the jocks were standing on stage and a few thousand people were screaming for us. In the first row is my six-year-old daughter. I'm on stage blowing her kisses and she leaps into my arms afterwards! We enjoy a set from the band Cake, and afterwards she is hanging out with the lead singer. Lorraine Caruso is backstage with us and I kept thinking, "Damn, does it get any better than this?"
10) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
I did an "informational interview" with a college student days before I was downsized. I told him to always find something else to do full-time or another skill because of the lack of stability. I have worked happily part-time in radio for a few decades now. I am a full-time executive recruiter and those skills have helped me during my current search. I also told him to learn as many skills in radio as he can. People nowadays wear so many hats, and usually the ones who fit many needs can survive budget cuts. I also let him know that pursuing the job full-time could involve living all over the country and moving year after year. My final advice was that the day radio stopped being fun and became just another job was the day to quit!
My favorite new diversion is ...
Over the last year I've dropped about 50 pounds ... and walking and racquetball has been a huge part of my success. Now, I hate walking in this cold weather, so I try to play a few racquetball games a day. My other diversion is an old one ... the great game of Monopoly! My daughter Kimberly has got the hang of it and my wife, daughter and I will play usually at least once a day! I show no mercy -- I will build hotels around the world and make you mortgage your life savings!