HOW LONG TO BIG LEAGUE?
QUESTION: I do a small market morning show. Two years ago, I had never seen a radio station, but because I've been lucky enough to be around really talented folks during this early stage in my career, I seem to be literally running up the ladder. That's good, because I made this drastic career change at 30 years old, and can't waste any time! I really want a major market gig eventually, so I'm really working my ass off the be the best I can. It's very odd that many of my potential supervisors are younger than I am, or at least my age, and have been doing this thing for 15-20 years. My question to you is....Is it unrealistic to think that I can land that major market morning gig? Yes, I know, they have to die, and retire, but is my lack or experience gonna kill me? I swear, this is gonna sound boastful, and I truly don't mean it to be, but if I sent you a tape, you wouldn't believe it's been only 1 year, 9 months since the first time I cracked the mike.
I also know there are dues to pay. I have responded to PM Drive openings, and have had PDs call me back, but as soon as they find out how long it "Hasn't" been for me, they disappear. One guy literally called me a liar, saying that I had sent him a super-edited air-check. Do ya have to be in the game for 15 years to go where Terry Dorsey, Kraddick, etc. are?
DAN REPLIES: It's not unrealistic to shoot for a major market...although the odds are it won't happen for you just yet. Regardless of how talented you are, there are some things you can learn only "in the ring," to use a boxing metaphor. Many of us think, during our first year or two in radio, that we're ready for the big time. But time & experience usually cause us to look back with some embarrassment at our naivete.
Somewhere between your third and fifth year in radio, you'll probably have a pretty good idea of how far you can go.
If you're really as good as you think, then you should be exposing your name & work to the rest of the industry: sending out airchecks, appearing in the trades, meeting people at conventions, etc. Remember, in our business itís not "who you know"; itís who knows you.