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Post by tvguy2 » Wed May 04, 2011 7:52 am

Over the past nine months, I've had the pleasure of telling a few PD's/corporate types in radio "I'm not interested in you." That was after I had applied for a job (especially where the job description was vague, and may not have included full details of the market, the salary, or the duties.) There was even one job in the market I live in that was a perfect fit to my resume.

But the owner is known as so bad -- and the group so awful -- I never even applied. With voiceover, video and teaching, I DO have that luxury. And with 13 years spent in markets 2, 3, and a couple others in the top twenty, I still refuse to sell myself short and move to Enid, Oklahoma.

My wife got laid off from her job a month after I lost my last full-time job. So, we started our own business, gathering clients who needed voiceover, video, and PR work (she's a former TV news anchor who went into public relations after years anchoring in top five markets).

We weren't immediately successful at it, but we had seven months of savings. At the end of five months, we were paying all the bills with the income from the small firm! And this changed our view in the following way:

EVERYONE IS NOW A CLIENT, whether it's a full-time job or the small business. Or my teaching.

She went back to work full-time a year ago in public relations when a client of ours hired her full-time in a job that fit her perfectly. But we continue to run the small business, and, again, EVERYONE IS A CLIENT. She works from home two days a week for her employer, just like she did when the employer was a client.

Your water district job? Client. Unemployment? Client. And any radio station anywhere? Client. CLIENT, CLIENT, CLIENT. JUST a client. And when one client goes away, many more could take that client's place.

If you take that worldview, so to speak, I think the following will happen for you: you won't feel so desperate, you'll appear more attractive to employers, and -- you'll expand your income.

Hit Craig's List as hard as you do AllAccess. Learn video editing -- get Pinnacle video for the PC (I assume you have a PC) and train yourself. See if you can get on running the audio board part-time at a TV station for local newscasts. Look for work with production houses. As Bergin did, learn some computer networking -- ESPECIALLY in this day and age!

We have had clients come and go now. Some come, go, and come back. Some need one service, and that's all. But they are all clients -- full-time employer or not.

A fairly well-known band in the bluegrass genre -- The Seldom Scene -- always had this philosophy: "create a demand for the band, and make the band scarce." It's working for me.

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Post by pepelepew62 » Wed May 04, 2011 9:34 am

Well, it's a shitty business no doubt, it'll eat your heart out.
You'll have to be diplomatic when PD's say stupid things to you.
And if you're willing to start at the very bottom, the best of luck to you, you'll need it, for sure.
I think the way to go is progressive college radio, with a hopefully open minded ops. mgr. or PD aka one of the instructors...That's a freeing job, where the true value comes from working with younger broadcasters who simply want to voice their opinion and play their music.
If you're looking to make a career at this game, I think you're wasting your time. That's just my opinion.
Do something that pays. Who would want to sell their soul to the Devil like Howard Stern simply to get attention?

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Post by tvguy2 » Thu May 05, 2011 7:39 am

At the same time, dude, a lot of this really ISN'T your fault.

Really, It isn't.

There are now so few jobs available, thanks to consolidation, that the best of the best have a hard time finding anything. In markets where I could easily work again -- Chicago, Los Angeles -- jobs are being cut left and right. And if I wanted to go to a smaller market (and I don't), I'd get the "you're overqualified" lecture -- in other words, some scaredy-cat wouldn't hire me because yes, I could replace them.

(And, by rights, probably should).

This MIGHT change if anyone can convince Congress and the FCC that they screwed the pooch on radio and television in 1996. Commissioner Michael Copps actually does answer e-mails -- you might even want to write him, as the FCC has a hearing before Congress in a few weeks.

Not that Congress would care that THOUSANDS of very good, deserving radio and television people are out of work, mind you, and not that Genachowski, a sh*thead if ever there was one, could care about anything other than broadband.

But if enough people write to the FCC and Congress about media consolidation, could the genie be put back in the bottle? No. But you could, conceivably, raise enough of a hue and cry that the big consolidators give even more consideration to selling some of their properties.

The economy will determine that, of course. But so can public opinion.

Owning a radio or TV station is still owning a license to print money. The big consolidators simply do not know how to run the stations they own. A smaller owner might.

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Post by robnokshus » Thu May 05, 2011 9:25 am

Lot's of good advice here that I won't bother to repeat, but I think that Halltalk had a great suggestion for you; internet radio.

There are a lot of existing outfits you may be able to track for for little or no money. If you have something to say (other than between the songs patter) then you might want to consider doing a podcast. Perhaps you are an expert on something or you hold strong opinions or are just downright entertaining. You can put together a good sounding 20-40 minute podcast for minimal investment and build your own personal fanbase. You probably won't make much, if any money, but it could go a long way to stisfying that radio jones of yours.

Good luck.

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Post by robmeister » Thu May 05, 2011 9:44 am

Yes, I know that InfiniClearCast has swooped in and made decisions like "Let's fire all of our morning guys, and give Ryan Seacrest a bag of money to syndicate." Took me a while to swallow that pill. Other decisions, like buying up five or more stations in town and cramming them under one roof, tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Not a big fan homogenization.

I should point out that I am NOT seeking full-time work at this time. Weekends/fill-in seems a better fit for me, at least until my chops are better. It's like baseball: You have starters and you have bench players; I think that for now, I'm better selling myself as a bench player.

Yes, I know the technology has changed, and when I went back to school last fall, I picked up on much of it right away because I do know how to speak Computer. While there, I went back on the air, too, and it felt good being back in the saddle. The instructors I worked with all gave their unsolicited opinions that I have the talent and skill to get back in the game. On the other hand had to Google "PPM" to find out what it is. But hey, once I'm familiar with tech, it beccomes a non-issue.

Yes, the "I deserve better" bit wasn't very sporting of me. I confess I was merely venting my frustrations. But there are jocks I hear all the time (whether locally or via webcast) that do make me ask why they're working and I'm not.

One of you suggested I start an Internet station. I've been flirting with that idea. But anyone can launch a Pandora clone, right?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have pizzas to deliver...
Rob Norris
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Post by rockpddude » Thu May 05, 2011 2:19 pm

Dear Frustrated Beach-Comber:

Part of working in radio is about how much you really want it.

If this is your true calling then find a way to get your foot in the door. Are you ready to work weekends? Start off as a board-op pushing buttons? How about part-time work as a promotions person?

Unfortunately, after seven years you are really back at square one. If you really want to get back into radio you have to be willing to start at the bottom.

Good luck. I hope you find your path.

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Post by robmeister » Fri May 06, 2011 12:00 am

halltalk wrote:[I don't have a] problem with Seacrest. If you were a station owner and could advantage of his exposure on Idol - wouldn't you at least consider it?
Never was a fan of American Idol... 8-)

More to the point, I wasn't "attacking" Ryan Seacrest per se; he just happened to be the first name that sprang into my cranium. Oh, and I also think voice-tracking is way overdone.
You seem to dismiss the online station/podcast route yet potential employers may want a link to check you out and this would enable you to do that. And no, not anyone can do it. I've been urged to do it for years and haven't - although I should. Maybe you should take some IT courses, get certifications. Maybe graphic design. Present yourself as weekend/relief/IT/web designer to a station and you might get a call.
I minored in Information Systems, and I do dabble a little bit in Web design. I have a blog (which has been admittedly neglected for a while), and I have done podcasts based on that blog. I can always revisit that as an option...
Be the best Rob that you can be and stop comparing yourself to anyone else.
You are right here. No sense in thinking I'm the next Jim Ladd/Vin Scully/Charlie Tuna/Insert legendary name here. I can only be who I am. I guess what I desire is for a PD somewhere to actually LISTEN to my material (which is fairly recent) and actually RESPOND to my application, whether it is yes or no. Since January, I have submitted no less than 40 packages, either by e-mail or Priority Mail, and I have received a total of TWO replies (both negative, of course). I encountered this when I actively looked after losing my job years ago, too. I know that sometimes PDs can be inundated with up to 300 packages for one job, and it is very easy to either take the first one that comes in, the one that's easiest to reach, or even click an e-mail at random, and then chuck the rest, but if PDs actually REPLIED more often, then I would at least know (believe?) they actually LISTENED to my material.
I'm not putting you down, Rob. I'm frustrated and struggling as well these days. But you remind of the classic passive-aggressive types [who are] just pissed off and venting. . . And you might want to reconsider that because if I were a PD looking to hire, I'd be wary of your attitude. I could easily see you getting some weekend hours . . . and very quickly deciding you're "better" than the morning show or afternoons or whatever and then trouble starts.

Attitude, Rob. Attitude.
Yes, I was venting. Mea culpa. When I petitioned for a spot on the radio station at the college I went to last fall, the instructor made it clear to me of the very same thing, and that I was subject to the same rules that applied to the other students. I told him I was not seeking preferential treatment, and that all I wanted to do was to learn new tricks (and un-learn some old ones). It was a bit humbling, yes, but in the end a rewarding experience. No doubt I need to somehow carry this over into the Real World(tm), and see what happens. Know a good yoga instructor, so that I may "enhance my calm"? :)
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Post by CarterManGod » Sat May 28, 2011 11:50 am

Last edited by CarterManGod on Mon May 30, 2011 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Neil Schubert
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Post by Neil Schubert » Sun May 29, 2011 8:25 pm

Your job in radio:

The bottom line is I would do some more research to see if somebody is blackmailing you. I would check your demo with one of the more established jocks at a station that you aren't planning to try to work for. Sometimes, it is your demo. Sometimes, it is your voice. Your air name might be bad. Burn CDs at the lowest speed your burner has, and use good media. Send both the short aircheck demo, and an entire show in mp3 format. If you're good at using an audio editor, you may want to demonstrate how you would sound on their station. I can do this, I'm an engineer, but most cannot. A properly set up audio compressor can at least get you somewhat of a radio sound. In the old days, there was a certain model of pioneer cassette deck that had one built in, that was common for making demo tapes.

One of the things I've discovered is that there is something I've coined EEO fraud. EEO (Equal Opportunity Employer) fraud works by posting a position for a job that is not available, ahead of time. The employer gathers tons of applicants for a position which has already been unofficially filled, and then hires the pre-selected person with all these applicants to show that they comply. Thus, it looks like, to the FCC and the EEOC, that the employer is in compliance. Often, the position you applied for doesn't really exist, but your application is applied to another position. I also discovered one prospective employer had tried to sell my personal information to a data broker for money, but the information was rejected. They were profiting from stealing my identity!

Radio is one of those things that I would no longer count on being in existance in the future. I would tell you to get into some other profession. The only surviving radio stations will be those in small towns and public radio. If you aren't already doing it, mobile DJ services are still useful, club DJs are still around. If you are really good at programming, you could try to get in as a program director, but the problem is that it is like the good old boys network, like joining the mafia. Many stations want you to have a degree to do this. If you take the money you spend on the degree and subtract it from your wages you make as a program director, you would make more delivering pizzas. There's no guarantee that once you've wasted all that time in college, that you are going to get a PD job.

Otherwise, my advice is to get out of radio, the ship is sinking like the Titanic! The pirates don't even want to try to sail. Radio has been replaced by radio automation, only you are your own personal program director, and you don't have to listen to any advertisements at all! As I say to the radio station, I can do that too! Show me why you are better.

Television isn't looking good either. What they both have in common is bad business models. The FCC is somewhat to blame, but the FCC's failure to enforce certain laws has allowed radio to encroach upon itself and create the worlds biggest competitor - the portable media player.

I've stopped applying for engineering jobs at radio stations. Let them go dead air or off air. Engineers are not important. Buzz in the audio. Poorly encoded mp3. Skippy computer. Hire that guy from three states away. I'll listen to my computer in lossless compression from legitimate non-pirated cds that I own. I can watch movies and you tube videos if I want to watch TV. I'm sick of job applications and the associated schemes. Let the boat sink already. Get it over with. Radio will revert to the stations that were in existance in the 70's, the ones that have been there forever. Unfortunately, the golden age of radio has long ended and now we are headed for the ice age.

Neil Schubert

A little history to explain the future:

Sitting in front of me is a Yamaha t-1000 tuner. It cost around $400 dollars in 1983, not corrected for inflation!. Yes, people bought these. Why did they spend $400 to listen to the radio? Because radio was very enjoyable in 1983. You could turn the radio on, crank it up, and it had a positive image. Unless you took the time to pre-record, there was no voice tracking, it was all done in real time. The sound quality was excellent, less a few worn out records.

I have compared good recordings from 1980, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2011. The biggest decline in my enjoyment of radio was between 1990 and 1996. Even the advertizing was great in 1990. It was mondane and dull by 1996 and it sounded bad. By 2001 radio had become very much like the movie Groundhog Day. Top 40 radio has always had over-repetition. But then they created Classic Hits. Classic Hits is a sardine can (hard disk drive) of only a certain group of chosen songs, mainly from the 70's, that keep getting played over and over again. One station was predicitable by the day of the week. I'm having a hard time finding light AC, soft rock, and even oldies from the 60's. Music from 1978 to 1982 seems almost absent from radio.

Your situation:

The problem is not actually yours, but a combination of radio and the record industry. Program directors with an attitude are part of the problem. The radio business has had problems with this beginning in the early 90's. The "fun" left radio when they installed computer automation. With CDs, Cart Tapes, and Records, airplay was more closely monitored, not by the PD, but by the air talent. The PD had to actually type out the entire day. Usually, the PD was more interested in the framework - spots must be run in this order and at this time. Air talent did some of the work, often working off of a chart with percentages. If it wasn't top 40, you had to know your music!

The death of radio, as I unfortunately call it, has to do with the following:

1. Poor programming, or lack of programming. These are all the songs from that category, and they're the only ones we are going to play. That means our playlist repeats every two weeks, at best. I want you to show me the way...every day!
2. Sound quality. You can keep installing new equipment, but it is not the equipment that is the problem. It's the digital processing and the lossy compressed mp3. You have to sound better than the iPod. They did that in 1980 and 1983 and 1990. Around 1992, it seemed like everything went digital and they had that hissy scratchy clipping sound.
3. The record industry and music industry. The number one song today is number 40 in 1982. The artists are indistinguishable, the production consists of lots of samples and loops, and is too thick. There were producers like Jesse Johnson and Quincy Jones that could assemble some of the best works of the 70's and 80s, yet, with all the technology we have today, we can't figure out how to arrange a song so that it sounds different than the rest!.

There's too many different groups, none of which have the following of Madonna, Barbara Steisand, Neil Diamond, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel or Fleetwood Mac, to name a few. New music is being marketed like toilet paper.

The new stuff just isn't making me run out and buy it. There's a few good albums, but not an entire chart, like 1983, 82, 81, or 80. The new stuff is squeaky, whiney, superficial and seems to lack the seriousness of the 70's and 80's. They avoid topics about relationships, love songs, politics, and have even moved away from movie themes and TV shows. They don't know how to play instruments, write melodies, or write music that explains the words of the song. There are several songs that seem like they stole somebody's poetry, and wrote music to it. There aren't well planned chord changes. It's the same canned music, like they were all taught by the same teacher. Their voices are all buried in effects and compression. Sometimes I wonder if some of these artists aren't the same.

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