Traveling – It’s part of the gig

August 5, 2007

There was a time in my life that I did very little traveling, and had little interest in doing so.  Everything I thought that I ever wanted to do – or experience – was right here in the home base.

With that mentality, I managed to work in broadcasting my whole life without ever leaving the state.  I don’t regret that status, but like many things, as we progress in our careers and life, we learn to experience more.

The task and business of old-time radio show collecting, marketing and restoring has been part of my life since I was able to operate a tape machine. I developed many friendships around the country through correspondence, phone calls and later e-mails.  This is the source of some of my best and longest-lasting friendships.

I had to travel to finally meet them in person and did so through attendance at many conventions where I represented myself as a dealer of various cool stuff.  Needless to say, travel cemented those many lifelong relationships – both at a business level as well personal.

I traveled to both coasts to these various events.  Eventually, I got the idea it might be cool to travel just for fun.  I experienced horseback riding for the first time, the humid tropics of the southern states, New York and parts of the east coast and more.  In California, it really seemed like another world to me that I actually liked quite a lot.  I would’ve moved out there if there was a reason to do so. 

Traveling:  It really is a cool thing to do!  But it took me a while to figure it out.

Eventually, I was called upon to travel to do various on-site technical projects.  I spent almost a month away from home constructing a radio station from scratch in North Carolina, and various projects elsewhere.  I found that even though all my “stuff” back home wasn’t at my fingertips, the rewards professionally, personally and of course, financially made for a fulfilling experience. 

For me, traveling became “part of the gig.”

In broadcasting, especially early in ones’ career, not only traveling, but physically moving the home base is typical and expected.

If one focuses their interest strictly on one facet of the business, it is likely a move (or several) will be necessary.

In my case, I changed from on-air and production to the technical aspects of broadcasting.  My career “travels” never strayed farther from the Detroit area than Jackson, Michigan.    If that is what you desire, you’ll have to get used to the fact you will not always have the prime job role you hoped to make a career of.  If you are pursuing radio, thinking beyond the traditional roles and determining what kind of tasks you can perform that will be valuable to the employer are the keys to getting the gig.

If you don’t want to do that for whatever reason, and think you’re “better” than the next person, no matter how good you “think” you are, you’ll never be as good (or wise) as you will be in five years – or maybe just one or two.

There is no short-cut to getting experience in the industry, from both a personal stand-point, perfecting your skills, as well as providing yourself to the industry.

Today I provide a fair amount of contract and sub-contracted services, which temporarily take me to other parts of the country.  Most of what I do for these people is very specialty-oriented.  Having the skills and knowledge to provide those services only comes from years in the business.

On the other hand, if you are dead-set on being a morning show host and nothing else, be ready to travel from sea to shining sea in pursuit of that goal.  

Be ready to work in very small markets, making very little money while honing your skills.  If an opportunity arises that isn’t QUITE what you had in mind but close, you’re making what could be a real big mistake by not checking it out in detail.  Don’t be fussy about what you can get, especially early in your career.

When the time arises, be ready to hit the road... or the air (as in flying) if you really want to hit the air (as in broadcasting). 

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