Talking about yourself is one of the hardest things to do. In job interviews, meetings, and even social gatherings you have to masterfully articulate how great you are without seeming overzealous or under confident.
Last week I was able to speak with a radio broadcast professional about their work and experience in the radio industry. My meeting with the 107.7 Jamz and Sunny 94.3 Operations Manager Paul Johnson gave me insight into the radio business, and most importantly, advice on how to properly broadcast myself.
For those of you unfamiliar with the radio broadcast industry, here is a quick description of Paul’s job.
“An operations director [manager] defines the vision for the station’s on-air product, manages personnel in this area, cultivates talent and determines the best ways to showcase on-air personalities. Smooth on-air operations and shaping an on-air product that appeals to the targeted demographics are tickets to success in this position.”
As you can see, an operations manager plays a vital role in determining the stations brand. Here is Paul’s advice on defining your brand and being your own “operations manager”.
Build Skills and Use Them to Make You Valuable
Publicist, marketing/sales professionals, DJ’s, engineers, and even web designers can call radio their home. The industry offers many jobs in a variety of career fields. However, radio jobs are extremely hard to find, especially if you’re a newbie. One way to get your foot in the door is to have a relevant set of skills that allow you to do work fast.
For the broadcasting industry, Paul recommends that you buy a decent camera, learn audio editing software, such as Audition, and practice writing. He explains that by having those skills in your back pocket you can easily step in and help out.
It is important to remember to step in where your skill set fits. Say there is a project going on where your team is making a radio commercial, offer to help with assignments you are strong in (if you have a choice). By doing so, you advertise your worth to your employer.
The difference between a pro and an amateur is confidence. From the interview, to the first couple of months of work, to when s*** hits the fan, you must always be and show confidence in yourself and your work.
Paul said, when interviewing you must leave the employer wanting more. Let them know that you chose to apply or reach out to this company because you like the caliber they operate on. If they don’t have anything open at that moment, ask them if they could refer you to another company of the same caliber. This positions you as being desirable, not desperate.
Find Your Purpose
One question you must always ask when participating in an informational interview is how/why did that person decided to go into their specific industry. This question is a great conversation starter and is useful because it gives you insight into industry culture, as well as what is important to those working in it.
Paul kindly answered this for me by briefly reflecting on his 40 years in the industry. He told me that when he was younger he loved to play music. (He was even in a rock-n-roll band.) After realizing his passion of music didn’t match his musical skill set, he took his dad’s advice and began searching for another career path.
His relationship with radio began in college. As he got older he found his lively voice, love for music, and passion to “inspire, entertain and motivate people”, all came together under radio. He said he has taken a few breaks over the years, working as a computer programmer/analyst and even a police dispatcher/911 operator, but he has always come back. The key, he says, is to match your skills with your likes, by doing that you are guaranteed to exceed and be happy with the work you do.
I encourage each and every reader to take the opportunity to network and meet with others in and outside of your industry. As Robert Kiyosaki said, “The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work”.
Paul Johnson currently works for Beasley Media Group. Before holding his current position, he worked as an interactive sales manager, and program director/DJ. His work has taken him from Minneapolis to Oklahoma City to Charlotte, North Carolina. He holds a B.A. in Speech-Communication from the University of Minnesota and a Computer Programming Certificate (equivalent to major sequence in B.S. degree) from the Brown Institute.