How a Sword Fighting Ninja breaks into a major market!…
Harry is one of the greates guys in radio business I ever worked with. A Sword fighting Ninja (I am not kidding, Harry is a martial arts specialist) who can be heard on radio and TV stations around the globe. BTW Harry is the voice of our CHR and HotAC Library and for various international projects Oli and I do. In the last 10 years I worked with a lot of differnet Voice Talents and to me Harry’s Vocie and delievering quality (using the same preamp we got – the MANLEY vox box) is just incredible. His Imaging skills are also far beyond. His awards include the NYC A.I.R. Creative Services Director of the Year Award for his work at WKTU and a nomination for Billboard’s Rhythmic APD/Music Director of the year while at Energy in Chicago.
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Check out Harry’s post and learn how his skill set and his great networking ability got him gigs in Chicago, L.A and NYC.
If you’re looking to move from a small or medium market to the majors, we all know that there’s no magic wand or sure-fire way to do it. There are a few basics that will help you on that path. If I had to sum up it all up in one word it would be – networking.
For the purpose of this blog we’ll assume you have some mad production skillz. Now, besides your local PD and staff, who knows about you? Have you branched off to help sister stations in your company? Have you reached out to some of the Imaging Directors at some of the biggest and best stations throughout the country or even overseas? If not, you need to do so. Nowadays with Facebook and other social networking tools it is even easier to network than ever before.
If you have worked in a couple of markets so far, you most likely have colleagues scattered around the country – because not only have you moved but some of those that you worked with have probably moved to another market. Don’t be the type that doesn’t keep in contact… Some of my best friends in the biz are people I worked with 15 years ago. I have former interns of mine that are now PD’s and guess what, now they can hire me to voice their stations. If they don’t I show up and kick their ass. Just kidding! (sort of). You have to be a people person. Just as we can joke and stereotype the sales staff as a bunch of phonies or slimeballs, don’t become the production stereotype of the loner who sits buried in the studio all day and has poor people skills. You have to have a presence in the building. There’s another saying – you can always tell who the production person is in the building…it’s the person who always looks pissed-off. Don’t let that be you!
Next, let’s examine the psyche of the PD. Whenever they have to make a hire they are putting themselves on the line. By the time someone makes it to the position of PD, they have probably worked in the biz for a number of years and have people that they have worked with before and would like to do so again – or there are people that they always wished they could have on their team. It’s also easier for a PD in a large market to hire someone from another large market rather than pull someone up from a small market. For example, when I was hired at WKTU in NYC I was at KIIS-FM in LA. It was easy for the PD to be pumped that he was bringing in someone from LA… If I were in Cincinnati (for example) it would be a more difficult sell job for the PD in NYC. So, bearing that in mind, you have to be able to give the PD ammunition to justify hauling you from a smaller market. Maybe you also work at a larger level in your small market by contributing to sister clusters. Maybe you helped with a format launch in another market. Maybe a regional VP of programming should be made aware of your contributions and accomplishments so that they can help move you up the chain. Maybe you have won some local or national production awards. Maybe you happen to have worked with someone else on the staff of the large station that can help vouch for how solid you are. So many of these things seem obvious but it’s easy to get frustrated if you feel your career is stagnant. Start talking to people. Now don’t get yourself in trouble and do it improperly where it gets back to your PD that you want the hell out of your current gig! Network without a specific agenda…truly connect with others in the biz and things can happen for your career organically.
I’ll give two examples of how networking worked for me. When WKTU signed on I was in Rochester, NY and would have given my left nut to work there at the time. I sent several airchecks and demos – offered to drive up on weekends. I got zero response. However, I contacted Bill Schultz who was the original Creative Director and exchanged demos. I visited him at WKTU in NYC and stayed in touch with him throughout the years. I worked with one of the other jocks, Skyy Walker at WKSE Buffalo, I knew the night jock Vic Latino because he was an MD at a station in Orlando when I was MD at a station in Chicago and we used to call each other once in a while about new music. I also knew Broadway Bill Lee through some Cleveland radio connections. Many years later, Bill Schultz was leaving KTU, I was in LA and he texted me – asking me if I wanted his gig. I thought he was joking. Nope. He hand delivered my demo to the PD and I had Skyy, Vic and Broadway all putting in their two cents telling him that I was the man. All this from networking and staying in touch over the years!
Finally, I came to be a part of Benztown Branding through a cool circumstance. While at KIIS-FM in LA I met Benztown’s President, Cha Chi who was at sister station KBIG. Andy, Benztown’s CEO in Germany had heard my work on an Australian station and wanted to work with me. He called Cha Chi and asked if he knew of Harry Legg… from contacts in LA to Australia to Germany…Now you can see why I believe networking is the number one way to move forward in this or any business!