It started out like just another blog post – dissecting yet another of those “best/worst” job polls that left radio jobs near the bottom of the heap. For all the variables that jobs site CareerCast factored in to measuring the value of 200 careers, job satisfaction wasn’t on the list.
So near the bottom of the post, I asked you to rate your radio career on a simple 1-10 satisfaction scale. And did you ever. My Facebook page blew up with more than 90 comments, along with a slew of missives on LinkedIn and Twitter, added to the “comments” section on the post itself. It seemed like everyone wanted to tell me their radio story. And perhaps it was a welcome respite from the “Here are 10 concerts but one lie” craze (you’re welcome).
The sheer number of “10s” was mind-boggling. Many people had tales of ups and downs, of great jobs that went south, of redemption and faith, and careers that were filled with joy from the early years to right now today. Clearly, it was emotional for many of you, evaluating your life’s work.
In this post from Lori Lewis below, you can almost hear the audible sigh when she wrote this comment:
There were comments from some new people in the business, but I heard from a lot more veterans – people who have worked decades in the business, and have had amazing career runs. Veteran jocks like Debbi Calton at WMGK, Dave Kane at WCMF, and Bob Keller from KSEG have loved every minute of their long, storied radio careers.
And some big names chimed in – rock radio legend Jim Kerr and public radio icon Don Gonyea. And then there were people who I worked with over the years like Cary Pall, Tom Yates, Beau Phillips, Bob Bellin, and many, many others with stories about their years in the radio business.
Along the way, there were some funny ones that summed it up well:
And the post ended up connecting with radio people from around the world, like Lynsey Dolan who’s on the air in Ireland at Dublin’s Q102:
But it wasn’t all hearts and flowers – and “10s.” In fact, a number of posts and comments were sad. Tales of heartbreak and dreams that were dashed, careers that started out promising but took a turn, never to recover. For some, there was remorse, sadness, and disappointment in the way the radio industry has evolved – or devolved – as the case may be. And in reading over those comments, you have to feel empathy for people who were once so enthusiastic about their careers, but were left disheartened and disillusioned.
But some radio vets – even through the tough times, the bad breaks, and the miserable bosses – say they never regret their decision to go into radio. And as I theorized when I wrote the post, many commenters made a point to tell me just how much outright fun they’ve had throughout their years in radio.
It was cathartic for me to read these comments. Because like scanning a couple hundred reviews for a restaurant or a movie, you can’t help but come away with a definite feeling about how people truly feel, despite the changes and the disruptions, the moves, the jobs, and the call letters.
And it turned personal and even emotional for me – a chance for me to think about the number I’d assign to my radio career that has now spanned more than four decades, and is thankfully going strong. Like many of you, I wondered about whether there was any way I’d be able to break into the business, especially without “great pipes” and the talent to make magic on the airwaves.
Your comments brought me back to my first real introduction to radio in an intro class at Michigan State taught by an electrifying grad student named Jim Respress.
Everyone in radio has a story, and if you want to make a quick connection with someone you’ve just met in the business, just ask to hear the narrative of how they came to pursue a radio career. Mine is as circuitous as anyone’s, marked by lots of hard work, strong parental support, some bumps along the way, lots of curiosity, great mentoring, a few breaks, and of course, just plain luck.
But the one word that dots so many of the comments I’ve read these past two days – and the feeling that has always been with me since Day One – is passion. It’s all over your posts, your stories, and your recollections. That CareerCast jobs ranker simply doesn’t account for the sheer passion, heat, and energy that you all bring to your jobs and careers.
It ended up being inspiring to me, and a wonderful reminder of just how fortunate I’ve been, and continue to be. So thank you.
And yes – a 10.
You can check out the Facebook post to check out the growing number of comments.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.