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WILL WORK FOR FREE?

QUESTION:

I'm currently attempting to get into the market in the (Top 10 Market) area. I'm a former computer instructor and have years of experience in the advertising and multimedia industry.

I've decided to change direction and do what I've always dreamed of - being an On-Air DJ and eventually become a GM! I want this - It is my mission and my passion.

It seems impossible! I've gone as far as calling PDs at various stations and offering my knowledge and resources (FREE) to assist them and the station. I just want to get in and get a little experience doing everything and anything. But, I also want to see what really goes on behind the microphone.

One station told me that the only way I could give them my FREE time was to be enrolled in school and the time be considered as an internship. I'm sorry, where I come from if someone with a great deal of knowledge wants to assist you - if you have any sense in your head, you do not pass it up! Am I wrong?

I know I have to start at the bottom and that is fine, I'm ready. Someone tell me what I'm doing wrong - I'll do whatever it takes.

DAN REPLIES:

Part of the problem you're facing is due to the fact that there are strict labor laws regarding the use of unpaid volunteers. Specifically, a for-profit operation is not allowed to use them. Someone who is participating in a formal intern program, however, is within the rules.

Instead of focusing on major market stations, your best bet is to find some tiny, small market station and keep banging on the door until they let you in. Many stations (in all market sizes) have a tough time finding & keeping part-time jocks. And virtually all of us do start out in small markets.

If you already know how to run a board, you'll find a weekend job somewhere. (If you don't already have that knowledge, you could try a radio school first.)

By the way, the surest road to becoming a GM is to start in sales, not programming.

I don't think this is the answer you were hoping for, but it's the best I have to offer. Hope it helps in some small way.

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