Three years ago today I had my first ever paying job in radio. It was the Green Bay Packers first preseason game of the year against my home state team, the Cleveland Browns. No I am not a fan of the Browns at all.
My journey in radio started at the end of my sophomore year of college when the sports editor of the Fourth Estate newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay asked me to co-host his sports show with him for the final three weeks of the semester. After one show I was hooked, I knew immediately this is what I wanted to do for a career. The next three years of college I had many co-hosts and friends who joined me on the air to talk and debate sports. So much thanks to my friends, Josh Brewer, Scott Kirst, Sanjay Murthy, Matt Froehlich, Steve Paulus, Dan Schill, Chris Hady, Ben Kvalo and one of our funniest listeners, Ryan Mulloy.
When I got into professional radio I felt like I was a freshman in high school all over again being around people who had done this for years and knew a lot more about the business than I did. However I felt comfortable pretty much from start because of how accepting most of them were of a 22-year old kid who wanted to learn everything he could about radio. I had a phenomenal internship for “The Maino and Nick show” on 1440 WNFL. The hosts, Nick Vitrano and John Maino taught me a lot during my internship and continue to help me with opportunities today as I am now a fill-in co-host for that show.
Looking back three years I had one responsibility. Run the Packers games once a week while I finished up my last year of college. Now I am responsible for doing work for five of the six stations we own. I am a weekend DJ for our rock station, 93.5 which plays anything from 1968 through now and as long as it rocks. A fill in co-host on our sports show, fill in producer for multiple shows, behind the scenes work for multiple stations and a fill in DJ for our top rated station, WIXX.
I also got the opportunity to have a weekly sports segment on our country station’s morning show, Bear and Charlie in the morning.” Bear would give me ten seconds to say why the Packers one or lost their previous games and my opinions on other sports topics at the time. I have literally worked every hour of the day, had crazy schedule changes and called in in a moment’s notice. It’s been a hell of a ride so far where I have learned a lot and experienced highs and lows of the radio industry. I am excited to see where my career goes next as I continue to work towards my goal of becoming a full time employee regardless of the format. My dream scenarios are in the rock and sports fields.
A little advice if you are looking to go into radio. Be willing to work in any format even if you can’t stand rock music, or you are completely against anything country. You will be forced to work crazy hours, take what is offered or there might not be a second chance. Also do not be intimidated. Now this doesn’t mean go in and act like you’re the greatest thing to ever happen to the radio industry. Be respectful and willing to learn but if someone challenges you on air, speak your mind and have reasons to back up your opinion. One of the main reasons I have had success is because I am myself on air, and when I make a statement I back it and have the information to back it.
So if you are looking to go into radio or the media field in general, best of luck to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions!