Long Live Radio.
A total newbie in radio, I had no clue what to do. Thankfully, my first and only partner, Andie, took me under her wing and helped me to suck less during our show, AK947.
We were together for five years.
“So how’d you get into radio?”
Back in the day, I had burned a CD-R disc recording of myself doing a time check, a weather check, and a traffic update. I snail mailed copies of that disc to all the English radio stations in Manila. Of course, I got no replies. I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t have hired me either anyway.
If however, like me, you can’t or never auditioned, then your next best bet is to get to know other people in the business — DJs, program directors, station managers, sales and marketing staff, secretaries, and the owners. Every connection counts so turn on those people skills, and if you don’t have them, you’ll need to learn how to network. Google it.
2. Know yourself. Do not try to “fake it ’til you make it.” That doesn’t really work in the real world. Most humans have a pretty damn good BS Detector; you don’t want to pat yourself on the back for fooling the village idiot, do you? In short, don’t try to be someone you’re not because we’ll smell it off your breath before you even open your mouth to speak. So please be authentic. Don’t be a know-it-all asskisser trying too hard to be cool. IMO, if you have to try to be cool, you already aren’t.
Instead, be yourself. One kid I used to know wanted to get into radio really bad, and he was so bad about it. He walked into the booth bragging about his past experiences at competing radio stations (which made me wonder why he was with us then in the first place), about how he already knew what to do in radio, and how he could teach his fellow auditionees a thing or two. He came with swag and fluffed himself up too much for his own good. Be the opposite of that kid. If you don’t know something, it’s actually okay to say so and ask for help. As for that kid, to this day, he’s still not a DJ.
3. Do good work. To get into radio, and more importantly, to stay in radio, you must do good work. If you’re well on your way through the first two points of this quick list, you’ll find that this last third is the toughest one. I’ve always wondered what it meant to “do good work”, and based on advice from a former DJ I met long ago at an event at Chowking (of all places right), it’s to always be in it 100%. In this case “it” is radio, but I think it applies to much pretty the work we dedicate our lives to, too.
It was former Monster RX DJ, Gelli Victor, who gave me that advice. At the time, she had left radio for a successful professional hosting career. Nonethelees, she shared with me that she had missed radio; that I should hold onto it for as long as I can (and for as long as I enjoy it). I asked her how, and that’s what she said to me: “Always be in it and give it 100% — your audience deserves no less than that.”
I’ve forgotten her advice sometimes though. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been late waaay too many times for my own show, for example. But when I flip that mic on, I’ve always kept our listeners in mind. But radio is a small industry; English radio especially. People talk, and should you have to leave radio as many of us have and want back in, keeping it 💯 also means doing good work with others.
Radio is a team effort, and if you’re a dickhead — you stab people from the back and the front, or betray your own radio partner (amongst many other dickhead moves) — then those very same people will keep you from coming back in. A former co-DJ of mine, for example, kept trash-talking about me on Twitter. When his name came up as a possible talent to join other radio stations, guess who kept him out of the running? Yup, that’s right. Me. If we can’t work well together, we can’t work together.
“Why did you quit radio?”
I didn’t quit radio. I quit Mellow 94.7. There’s a difference.
My last day at Mellow was Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. It was the last working day of that year.
“Isn’t radio dead?”
No, it’s not. I still hear music being played over the radio in cars. I still see traffic trickling in from people listening live over our website. I still find new music from radio myself. For how I use it, radio still serves its purpose.