The other day, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while asked me if I miss my radio career.
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My immediate action was “no, not one bit.” But I took a minute to think about it, and there’s more to it than that.
There are most certainly things I miss about my radio career, which spanned over twenty years. It was a big part of my life. It defined me. I miss the people. The comradery. I definitely made some lifelong friends in the business.
I miss having the opportunity to be creative. To come up with content that was my own. To open a live mic to an audience of thousands of people, not exactly sure if I was about to give the best performance of my career, or the worst.
I miss connecting with listeners. I would always humbly say I hated being recognized in public…which was somewhat true. But it was also validation that people felt so connected to me that they were compelled to say something when they saw me. That was pretty damn cool.
But there are things I don’t miss about my radio career, so much that I will never go back.
I used to LOVE radio. There were radio stations and shows I was obsessed with…that I couldn’t imagine missing a second of. But over the years, I’ve seen the life slowly sucked out of it. Now, I struggle to find anything worth listening to at all.
It’s because corporate greed has taken over. Playing it safe is now the only option, with the music they play, and every word the DJs speak.
I will also never forgive the radio companies that paid me much less than I was worth, but consistently drove into my head that I should feel lucky to be there. These same companies continue this practice today, and it’s only gotten worse since I got out. Most of the hard working and talented people who create what you hear on the air every day, are barely paid a livable wage. While the fat cats in upper management take home an income equal to dozens of them.
Now I’ve come to know that there is in fact life after radio. I’ve been able to build and operate a business – my own business…and be able to actually pay myself what I’m worth. Substantially more than if I had stayed in radio. Now, and for many years to come.
A part of me wishes I had left the radio industry ten years earlier. But honestly, I have no regrets. My time in the business put me on the path to where I am today…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.