It’s National Radio Day. Here’s How I Got Into the Business
They have a national day for everything and today is National Radio Day. So decided I would blog about how I got into this wacky business.
The year was 1988 and I was an assistant manager at a restaurant in my hometown. I came home from work one day and found that my brother and his then fiance we're at our house for a visit.
My brother Gene worked in radio since 1974, and he met Steph while working at WFAS near New York City. They asked me how work was and I told him how frustrated I was dealing with some of the high school aged kids at the restaurant.
Steph knew that my brother worked in radio in the Scranton market for many years and that he had lots of connections. She asked him if he knew of anybody that was hiring in the radio industry. He asked me if I wanted to do radio. I told him that I would rather work and television.
Now I did not want to be on the camera, I wanted to be behind the scenes either as a cameraman or as a producer. So he called his friend Sid, who at the time was working as a Sports Anchor at a television station in Scranton. Prior to that gig, Sid worked with my brother doing mornings on WEJL in Scranton. Sid told me if I got any kind of media experience that he could push to have me be his personal cameraman.
At that point, my brother remembered two of his former co-workers in Scranton we're starting a new station in Binghamton. He called them and asked them if they were still looking for help. They said that the full-time lineup was already set, but they needed part-timers, especially people that would work for free to gain the experience. They were looking for interns, but when my brother told them I was interested, they told me to come up and meet with them.
The owners were Ben Smith and Kevin Fitzgerald. I knew Kevin because he came over the house a couple of times to watch football games with my brother. I had never met Ben prior to that day, but I listened to him on the radio in Scranton.
I met with them in June of 1988, and they told me if I could be half as good as my brother was it would be a great hire, so I got the job and had to wait for them to get the license. The FCC took their sweet old time granting the license which was finally was delivered on February 11th of 1989.
I worked part-time at the station for two years, starting the day it went on the air.
In September of 91, they offered me a full-time position hosting the night show and as production production director, and the Freezone was born. Production means you produce the commercials and make sure they are ready to go on the air. I actually took a cut in pay from managing the restaurant to take a full-time job in radio.Besides have a smaller paycheck, my commute to the restaurant was 3 minutes and to the radio station was 55 minutes.
I never did get into television as a producer or a cameraman, but 30 years later I am still doing radio and it beats trying to motivate 16 year old kids who are getting paid minimum wage to do work in a hot kitchen.
It turned out to be an awesome career choice. Where else can you get paid to listen to music an voice your option on everything?
[via National Day Calendar]