Recent opportunities and a rant against radio stations

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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

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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.

I didn’t get the job

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I just found out that I didn’t get the part-time IT job.  The partners on the committee finally came to the conclusion that they did not want to open a nepotism floodgate.  Am I upset?  Yep.  Definitely.  But I’ll keep looking.  Something will come up eventually.  But the money from this IT job would have been really, really nice.  I’ll just keep sending out the resumes and hope somebody bites.

And for those of you in the know, I haven’t burned the Yellowstone bridge just yet.

Still no luck

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As of last night, I have officially applied for ten different jobs since graduation. I was only offered one, and I turned it down. That was the only interview I had. One rejection letter seemed promising, but only because they said they would keep my resume on file since they decided to completely discontinue the position rather than hire anybody at all. I suppose it’s one of those jobs that was deemed unnecessary and not “economically viable.”

I will admit that several of my resumes and cover letters have been sent to jobs that are certainly lofty goals for a college grad with hardly any real experience. Two of those were jobs at Anheuser-Busch, while another was at Google. The Google position is still open, but I know that if I get that job it will be like winning the lottery. Anybody who knows anything about their Mountain View, California headquarters will immediately understand this.

There are two other jobs that I’ve applied for that are still open, and both would be great. One is at Emmis, where I interned. I should at least be able to get an interview out of that one since the three people I worked for there all gave me great evaluations and one, Drew Johnson, recommended me for a part-time board operator position that, unfortunately, never came to be.

Hopefully something will turn up soon, because I am getting tired of Leroy’s, and everybody there knows it. I’ve been there nearly seven years and it’s time for something else. Every week is the same and there is no challenge. And the feeling of wanting to leave has increased tenfold ever since I graduated. With graduation came the knowledge that, once I find a job, I can effectively double, even triple, my income. That makes every day spent at Leroy’s more frustrating than the day before.

I’m already on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Jobster, and several other job sites. But if you know of any openings that haven’t been posted that I might be a good fit for, please, let me know. I need all the help I can get.

The first interview

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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.

Time for an update

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I haven’t been blogging much as of late.  Nobody besides friends read these things anyway, with the exception of my “torrent” blog from a while back that still gets about 50 or so hits a day from people worried about being caught downloading movies and television shows on the Internet.

Well, school is officially done.  It was official last week when some text was added to my transcript saying that I have fulfilled all requirements for my degree.  I’m glad to see that on there.  It’s amazing that college is already over.  Now it will only take SIUE another two to three months to mail me the degree.

The job hunt is off to a slow start.  I started looking seriously in December and have sent in a handful of resumes and two demo tapes.  I’ve had zero calls.  The possible part-time job with Emmis as a board op has all but completely fallen through.  I may still receive a call, but I won’t rely on that, especially with it only being part-time.  I’d prefer something full-time so that I can get away from my job at Leroy’s.  It’s been nearly 7 years at that place, and I’m ready to leave ASAP.  With the exception of money, they’ve been pretty good to me, but talk about a dead end job with no creative outlet.

While many of you know of my radio ambitions, I’m not ruling out other jobs.  I really enjoy creative writing, and that is a skill that can be utilized in advertising and PR.  Those two industries seem to have some exciting job opportunities as well.  The problem is landing those jobs.

I suppose I should get to bed.  Tomorrow is another day of work and job hunting.  Wish me luck.

My new monitor

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Chimei 22″ MonitorI just used my mom’s credit card to order myself a new computer monitor for Christmas.  It’s a 22″ widescreen behemoth made by CHIMEI.  Some of you may not know of CHIMEI, but they are known for making some of the best monitors around.  I saw it on sale for $300 at Newegg.com and had to get it.

Merry Christmas to me.

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