Seven years

Leave a comment

Saturday, May 26th was my 7-year anniversary at Leroy’s.  That’s a long time to hold on to the same job I’ve had since high school.  Too long.  I’ve been working between 35 and 40 hours per week since I graduated from SIUE.  Now that I’m starting part-time at KMOX, those hours at Leroy’s will be cut in half.  The good thing is I’ll still be able to keep my health insurance.  As long as I can keep at least 12 hours a week, I’ll have insurance.

Tomorrow will be my first day working at KMOX.  I’m really looking forward to it.  It will cost me more money than I’ll be making the first few weeks because I have to purchase a new wardrobe.  KMOX is a completely different atmosphere than Emmis.  Khakis, a button-up shirt and a tie will be the everyday attire at KMOX.  This is clothing I do not have in surplus.  I would have looked like I was working in sales if I had worn that to Emmis everyday.

Finally! A paying radio job!

Leave a comment

Even though it is only part-time, I can now say I have a paying radio job.  I was officially hired at KMOX this afternoon, and my first day is Tuesday.

It’s a board operator job with some added responsibility, like screening calls and other associate producer-type duties.  The hours should be pretty good for part-time, and I’ll have my schedule 3 – 4 weeks in advance.  The only downer will be the occasional overnight shift on Saturdays (into early Sunday morning), but I know I can handle that.  And it’s not like I didn’t expect it.  I am on the bottom, after all.  But, on the bright side, I do hear some of the most interesting callers are on late at night.

Now I need to figure out where to park.  When I was there for my interview, I parked in a lot that cost me $9.  Hopefully I can find something at least a little cheaper, or else I’ll be taking the Metrolink and walking a few blocks to KMOX.

Recent opportunities and a rant against radio stations

Leave a comment

Today was my last day of going to the chiropractor. The treatments lasted about a month, which is just what I expected. I’m glad to be done with it. The chiropractor recommended I come back every 2 or 3 months for preventive care, but he didn’t push it. He said it was completely up to me. I’m sure the preventive care wouldn’t hurt, but I think I can do without as long as I do the exercises he showed me several times a week.

I’ve got an interview at KMOX for a board operator job this Thursday. Hopefully I’ll get it. I would love for it to be full-time, although I won’t be surprised to hear it’s a part-time position. Either way, I’m taking the job if they officially offer it to me. It’s been 6 months since I graduated, and I need to start gaining industry experience now.

I may have another part-time job next week. About 5 months ago, I applied for a part-time copywriting position with MonsterCommerce.com. They are a division of Monster.com that focuses on search engine marketing and other various things. Apparently they just got around to looking at my resume and thought I would be a fit, so I moved on to part II of the interview process.

To make a long story short, if I get this part-time job, I can do every bit of it from home and on my own time, and make $10 a page. Considering the two sample pages took me a total time of 30 minutes, this could be a decent way to make some easy money. Since the company is affiliated with Monster.com and Network Solutions, I’m not worried about getting screwed out of money by some fly-by-night outfit.

A couple of books have recently renewed my faith in the future of radio. One is “Have Mercy,” the autobiography of Wolfman Jack. The second is “No Static: A Guide to Creative Radio Programming” by Quincy McCoy.

Wolfman Jack’s book was simply a lot of fun to read, but he also made some incredible points about the downfall of music radio. He could see it coming, like most creative people in radio, years ago. Hell, this book was written in 1995, shortly before Wolfman Jack died. Wolfman Jack’s stories made me want to be able to listen to some of the DJ’s he grew up listening to — DJ’s who really loved the music and were actually allowed to (GASP!) play their own songs. It may be hard to believe, but DJ’s once had quite a bit of creative freedom.

Quincy McCoy’s book was a bit more textbookish, but nothing horribly slow. It focused on ways McCoy believes can create the most incredible radio stations possible. Aside from his own perspective, McCoy interviews quite a few radio visionaries. The one person interviewed in the book that I am most interested in is Lee Abrams, who is currently a big shot over at XM Radio. In short, Abrams hopes that XM will do to FM what FM did to AM back in the late sixties and early seventies. And he’s got an incredible vision of how to make that happen.

While I have heard complaints of lazy music programming on some of XM’s stations (as well as Sirius), I’ve heard far more good than bad. I don’t have XM or Sirius myself, but if I can get a decent income sometime soon I will subscribe to one. It’s not that I want to see FM fail. Quite the contrary. But I don’t want to miss truly creative programming that can be found elsewhere, even if I do have to pay a monthly fee.

As some of you know, I recently purchased an HD Radio receiver for my car. As nice as it is to have these extra music channels available for free (especially KSHE2 – Klassic KSHE), the companies that run them are blowing a golden opportunity. I realize that the HD Radio Alliance made an agreement so that the HD2 stations will be commercial-free for at least a few more months, which means there is no money coming into these extra HD stations, but why can’t these companies use the HD2 stations to experiment and give the average consumer a reason to switch to HD Radio besides the slight improvement in sound quality? It might cost a little something, but not much. Especially if you give the programming jobs to young, creative people who are already making crappy salaries. Give them a chance to create the worthwhile listening experience that has been absent from FM for far too long. If it fails, these companies aren’t out much money. If it succeeds, they can move it to the FM band and start seeing stronger ratings books and more money.

These companies that own the stations broadcasting in HD2 have simply created extra music channels that are nothing but big playlists on shuffle. They are lifeless. According to Billy Joel, “It’s all about soul.” These HD2 stations have none.

If I want a big playlist on shuffle, I’ll listen to my MP3 player. At least that way I’m guaranteed to like all of the songs.

Still hunting

Leave a comment

I’m still doing my fair share of job hunting. It’s certainly no fun, but I’ve got two recent possibilities, and hopefully at least one of them will land me a position at a radio station. One is with Emmis, the other is KMOX. I’ve got personal recommendations from people on the inside of both places. If a job opportunity arises for which I’m qualified, I now have people who have enough confidence in my work ethic and abilities to recommend me to their bosses, or those in a position to hire me.

I’ll blog something about it later if anything happens, for good or bad.

In other news, I received a call from my doctor today. According to the results of yesterday’s 3-hour glucose tolerance test, I am officially a hypoglycemic. I figured that I was for the past 14 years or so, but I’ve never had a doctor look into it. Last week I went to a doctor because I don’t have a general practitioner and I thought it was time I had one. I mentioned my possible hypoglycemia and he had me do the 3-hour GTT at Quest Laboratories in Granite City yesterday. The results came in today. He said my bloodwork looked great as far as cholesterol and things like that were concerned, but the last blood sample they drew from my arm confirmed my hypoglycemia.  Luckily it’s mild, which means I don’t have to measure and be careful of what I eat.  I still have a “Recommended Hypoglycemic Diet” list that lets me know what foods not to get completely out of control with and overeat.  And that could happen.  Sometimes I just like to eat a lot of something at once.

The first interview

1 Comment

I interviewed for a job on Wednesday.  This was my first real interview since graduating and looking for a job.  I was offered the job the next day.  I turned it down.  Let me explain.

My friend DJ (Dennis Coleman to all of his fans) is a copywriter, producer, and on-air personality at a radio station in Lebanon, MO.  He called me on Monday night and said that his station had an opening for someone who would do exactly what he does to help relieve the workload.  He had already talked me up to his bosses and said that if I wanted the job I’d have a good shot at getting it.   Lebanon is two hours and thirty minutes away from Granite, and I told DJ to let me think about it for a couple of days.  I immediately began thinking about it and decided quickly that I would move if they decided to hire me, and if the price was right.  This would be great experience.

The next morning while at work I received a call from the operations manager of the station.  I missed it, but called her back within thirty minutes and agreed to come down for an interview on Wednesday.  Things were moving fast.

On Wednesday I drove the two hours and thirty minutes to Lebanon and made it with an hour and a half to spare.  The interview was at 3:00pm.  I filled out an application and everything went well.  The interview itself lasted for nearly an hour.  I was told everything I would do and given an idea as to what I would be doing.  At the end of the interview the operations manager told me she would make her decision by Friday and call to let me know either way.  I talked to DJ for a few minutes after the interview and headed back to Granite.  MP3 players are little miracles that make driving so much easier.  If you don’t have one, get one.

I felt great about the interview, except I knew it would come down to salary.  I was asked my salary requirements, and I said a number that I knew was high, but not too high.  Something that could be negotiated, and I’d be willing to take a few thousand less per year.  Nothing was said at the time of the interview, but I still knew that’s what would keep me from taking the job if it were offered to me.

I received a call from the operations manager Thursday afternoon.  She said the job was mine if I wanted it and went over the hours and benefits again.  Then she brought up salary.  She said she had talked to the manager abover her and that they couldn’t pay me what I asked, and offered something else.  Something much lower than I had expected.  I had no choice but to turn down the offer.   I explained that I could find a job in marketing or advertising in St. Louis for more money, and I would still be close to my friends and family.  She said she understood and couldn’t blame me for passing.  She then thanked me for coming down for the interview.  I thanked her for the opportunity and for considering me.  She also told me that the production and copywriting samples I left with her were excellent, especially for someone with virtually no experience, and that I shouldn’t have a hard time finding a job in either copywriting or production; one that would pay more than she could offer me.

It sucks that I’m still hunting for a job, but it wasn’t all bad.  I would feel worse if she had called and said they decided to go with someone else.  Also, I got some interview experience and some great feedback on my work from someone who has been in the industry for a number of years.  At least this didn’t drag out.  It was over and done with in less than four days.  Now I can move on to the next opportunity.  Hopefully it won’t take too long to present itself.

That’s all, folks!

Leave a comment

Well, almost.  Monday I submitted my senior portfolio to the Department of Mass Communications at SIUE.  If everything goes well, I get to graduate.  Finally.

When I woke up Monday morning I felt a slight stinging in the back of my throat, the kind associated with colds, flu, bronchitis, etc.  I knew I was going to get sick.  That night I had a fever of 101.2.  I get sick about once or twice a year with a nasty cold or something similar, but I rarely get fevers.  The next day my voice was shot.  Luckily that didn’t hit two or three days earlier because I wouldn’t have been able to finish some of the recorded portions of my portfolio and I would have had to wait until the end of the spring semester to submit it.  It sucks being sick, but it’s better now than earlier.

I submitted a resume and a few airchecks to a radio station in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Thursday.  The airchecks were from my senior portfolio, and I would have done something custom for that station but, like I said, my voice is shot.  I’m taking amoxicillin for the next seven days to kill this.

I suspect I’ll be sending out a lot more resumes with demo tapes, mostly through e-mail since that is how a lot of program directors and production directors request it anymore.  I don’t know anyone who got a job off of one resume and demo tape.  Most seem to send out a dozen to 100 before somebody bites.

My mom already doesn’t like the idea of me moving out of the house for my first job, but the chances of me getting hired in St. Louis for a first radio gig is slim.  Emmis still hasn’t called about the part-time board op position for KSHE and K-Hits.  I’ve been told to I can expect a call after the first of the year, but I’m not holding my breath.

It looks like the Radio 101 project I’m doing at Steve & DC’s studio with a few guys is delayed until January when we can get our stuff together and get on the same page.  School and work has hampered our ability to get together and actually plan things.  We’re using Basecamp to help out a bit, but we still need to get together face-to-face and get some chemistry flowing.

That was a long post, but it’s been a while.  Hopefully I’ll have some exciting stuff happen soon, now that school is unofficially done.

Long time, no blog

Leave a comment

Well, it’s been a long time since my last blog. I figured I’d update now because I can’t sleep. I have to work in the morning, but if I can’t fall asleep within 10 minutes then I get out of bed and find something to do. This is something to do.

I went to Game 5 of the World Series. Yes, I was there when the St. Louis Cardinals won it all, defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-2. I took a few pictures and got the last strikeout on video with my Canon PowerShot S230 Digital ELPH. It’s an older camera, but it gets the job done. I wish I had a better zoom, but I made due with what I had.

My mom won the tickets at her work and she took me. She would have rather given me the other ticket to take somebody else, but the rules stated that she had to go or give the tickets to another employee, which is only fair.

I’ve never given so many high fives to random people in my life. Downtown St. Louis was a madhouse, but with good reason. I don’t really get into baseball during the regular season, but I was once again swept up when I found out the Cardinals were in the post-season. I even got some shirts from Emmis. One shirt with “The Mets are still pond scum,” and the other with “Here kitty, kitty.” Now I can use them to sleep in.

This Friday is my last day at Emmis for my internship. The production directors of all four stations are treating me to lunch next Friday. I may be hired as a part-time board operator for KSHE and K-Hits, but that is stil up in the air because of EEOC reasons. I’m going to be pissed if I get screwed on this.

A podcast I’m involved will hopefully kick off this coming Saturday. It’s called Radio 101. Right now I’m doing some imaging voiceovers for it, and hopefully I’ll be a bit more involved in the near future. Everyone involved is already busy, plus they are taking on the task of a weekly podcast. It looks like we’ll be recording it at the Steve & DC studio at Union Station. One of the people involved is “Junior” from their show. I’ll post more about Radio 101 soon.

That was longer than it should’ve been.

Older Entries