Recently my friend Randy Clark and I were conversing on Twitter about our professions, past and present, and Randy asked me if I could tell him in 140 characters or less why I work in the radio business (again).
I tried to answer him in a couple of tweets but decided it was worth more, and that’s what I’m going to write now.
The big picture for me is radio broadcasting is a way to connect and make a difference in people’s lives.
Early in my life, I was a teenage disc jockey and it was pretty cool playing records, (vinyl) and talking on a microphone to hundreds or thousands of people from the safe and secure studio at the radio station.
My first 10 years in radio from 16 to 26, I was on the air at a variety of radio stations, playing the hits, making commercials, interacting with listeners via the request line and sometimes face to face. It was fun to be a radio celebrity.
It was also a time for me to learn how to overcome stage fright, and it helped me grow out of a self-imposed introvert shell.
Side lesson: Introverts don’t have to be shy or isolated.
I also met my 1st wife (which led to 3 great kids) when I was a radio disc jockey. She was a listener who called in a request, and 5 months later we were married. That definitely was a connection that made a difference in our lives.
At the ripe old age of 26, I moved my growing family to Detroit where I became fascinated with the business side of radio: the advertising sales side which brings in the money to support the rest of the radio world.
But it wasn’t advertising that really caught my interest. It was the whole mix of communication & connecting to motivate others to do things with psychology and marketing that fascinated me. That and the creativity that was involved in developing ad campaigns that were impactful.
After Detroit I went back to on-air work and left radio a couple of times. I learned how to drive a forklift and run a thermoformer. I learned what “register” is about in the printing business and I even organized a tool crib and helped them convert to a bar code inventory management system.
But nearly 11 years ago I returned to radio full time because the bug was still there. For 8 years I worked for a group of stations in the advertising world while also getting involved in the digital media and social media world. Eventually the offers to work full time in the web world came and I left. Twice this happened.
In an ideal world, I would get to work with both. Radio and digital media. That happened at the end of 2013 when I was offered a position in sales with WOWO radio and their digital media division. There are many other reasons why this is a good fit, but ultimately I get to work in 2 arenas I really enjoy and I get to connect and make a difference in people’s lives.
On the radio, we connect listeners with businesses that can take care of their needs via advertising campaigns. We also give back to the community as we did recently with the 65th annual WOWO Penny Pitch.
So, Randy, there you go. The answer to why I have returned to the radio world in 569 words, not 140 characters.