Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is It "Decision Time" For You?

I think it's safe to say the radio talent world was rocked last week by hundreds of 'R.I.F.' firings at the two biggest companies.  It's put a lot of you (even those still employed) in the position of having to soon ask yourself, "what's next for me?". 

Earlier this year, I found myself in a similar position and it can be...well, challenging.  You may decide to hang in or opt out and re-invent yourself, perhaps in a completely different profession.  A couple of colleagues suggested I re-post this blog so those of you not sure of your next move might see that you're not alone.  You'll hear a lot of noise in the near term, some affirming your love for your craft and others telling you it's the end of the road.  It can be terribly confusing and demoralizing and I feel your pain.  I hope this helps.

Why I'm Not Ready To "Give It Up!  Get Out Of Radio!"

If you've been on the world-famous radio 'beach' for a while, I'm guessing this will sound pretty familiar.  I can't tell you how many times, during my year-long job search, I've heard the following from colleagues, friends and even some family:
  • "Dude, get out of radio.  The business stinks-it's over"
  • "Radio isn't what it used to way I'd stay in this business"
  • "There are no jobs!  Why bother?"
  • "Hey, you had a great run- but it's time to go to work for a living"
  • "Radio sucks.  It's all corporate!  Why would you still want to do it?"
Sorry to disappoint but I honestly don't find myself ready to "give it up" or "get out now".  Why? It isn't a matter of me being stubborn, in denial or not realizing the reality that the business has changed so dramatically during the past dozen years.

I simply can't imagine abandoning radio because I really, truly, genuinely love what I do.  How many of us are so blessed we can say that about our jobs and really mean it?  I love my craft a great deal.  There is nothing like building a fun, exciting, compelling radio station, creating a hot buzz, getting those numbers in and knowing you have something unique and special going on. There's nothing quite like helping on-air talent grow into greatness.  Nothing like bringing a team together and being on a mission. Nothing like brainstorming an event idea and having it turn out way better than you envisioned.  Nothing quite matches the thrill of being part of a group of winners all doing something great.

I love being part of all the cool stuff we get to do. We were almost thrown in jail with the WSNX "Mystery Money Man" stunt.  We set a Guiness Book mark with the "World's Biggest Musical Chairs" and won a free MTV concert for Notre Dame with "Rock Alike" when we were in South Bend.  We debuted 98 Surf FM/ Pensacola-Ft Walton Beach #1 in about 100 days on-air.  Our facility at WOLL/West Palm Beach was a dive with bars on the windows in a crack neighborhood but we banded together and rocked the house (RadioInk's Eric Rhoads did a weekend shift for us and was shocked his car wasn't stolen).  

We got to do an Arrow station in Nashville and cranked it up to #2 for several years (no shame in being second to WSIX in those days) and were honored to have Peter Frampton play St. Nick at our "Breakfast With Santa" event. We had an all-star line-up in Orlando at Big 100 that was the only FM not to simulcast with a TV station during Hurricane Charlie and did a 50kwAM/100kwFM simulcast with our N/T station...their news folks with our seasoned pros (like Mike Harvey, Bob Berry and  Chris Rivers) that kept listeners informed and feeling safe during an amazing, destructive event. How fun it was to do an Adult Hits launch in Louisville (Louie FM) and have immediate success working with Atlanta legend J.J. Jackson and wonderful pros like Lori Bradley and Traci Taylor (one of the few in this format genre that was a big success).

This isn't reminiscing about 'back-in-the-day'. It's reveling in the ability to play a role in an industry that finds itself in a storm of redefinition.  And, save for a day or two here and there, I've loved every minute of it; despite all the changes and challenges, I wake up every day wanting to do it all over again.

Does this mean I don't get the occasional creeping negative thought? Of course not. Staying positive is the one of the biggest challenges when one is looking for work (as millions in America can attest, including many in my home state of Michigan whose families grew up in the auto industry).  It really is vital to have enough true faith so I view any opportunity that closes as a new one about to open right around the corner.

To my friends and colleagues who, out of love and caring, suggest "give it up, dude", sorry but this is what I was gifted to do, the fire still burns within me and I intend to keep doing it until some fat lady insists on singing directly to me.  

Yes, I know...I'm nuts.  But, as you well know, I'm just not the quitting type.

Thanks and KEEP ROCKIN'!