What’s Your Story ?

Sam Phelps

Radio is an interesting journey – there are very few people that woke up one day and thought “I’d like to work in radio” and then *insert flanging chimes and harps* “People know me on the radio and I’m famous!”.

In between these two points can be years and years of hard work. Some, if not most, never make it ‘to the top’.

Maybe you’re reading this and you’re a big deal, maybe you’re reading this and you’re a ‘nobody’ or somewhere in between, but we can all agree that as far as employment goes, wages aren’t going up and the industry is shrinking.

Networks are consolidating; un-manned automation systems are alive and well; laws are changing; and to paraphrase Steve Miller – time keeps on slipping into the future.

What does this mean for someone trying to enter the industry?

Are these up and comers being looked after? Do they have the resources to get better? From the many stories I hear of ‘the good old days’ clearly there’s a pattern.

The people, resources and especially time are all important in developing, not only the passion and love, but the skills needed to be a true professional. The ‘kid’ would be influenced by the seasoned pro. What if the pro doesn’t have time anymore. What if the kid is willing, but the company is not?

This isn’t an argument about economics – we all choose where we invest our time and money – but what if you don’t have a choice?

How many of you reading this have sent a job application in and never heard a result? How does it make you feel? What should you do? What do you do?

If you are working in the industry right now, I’m pretty sure you work bloody hard, long hours and it’s mentally very demanding – it’s a business – it’s there to make money and it’s workers make that happen. But if you aren’t developing young talent, are paying low wages, taking away opportunities and the time to grow, could we be killing the future of the industry?

There are many potentials out there spending lots of money on schools which do have some excellent facilities and some talented teachers, but once you’ve finished the short courses, then what?

Very few can study this full time, either because there’s so few places, or don’t have the large sums of money needed. Universities take in twice as many students for journalism degrees (or equivalent) than jobs that are available in any given year.

So what happens now? Well traditionally competition is healthy, the cream rises to the top, but what if the cream is never in the mix? Or there’s just not the quality because the wages aren’t there, the opportunities aren’t there or the grass roots levels are neglected. And when some do crack the low end professional scene, they just end up hating the job because the reasons why they got into radio become the least important and regarded as ‘not valuable’ by management.

Many studies have come out saying wages are not the thing people are unhappy about in employment, it’s being valued and being respected that determines whether they stay or go. You can work really hard and be made to work really hard while being respected and feeling like you are adding value to the team/company!

I wish to note that there are many amazing bosses, solid company structures and fantastic opportunities out there for lots of young/re-entering people, but I also acknowledge that they seem to be more the exception than the norm as time goes on.

I’m Sam Phelps, director of a website that helps people between school/commrad and a pro career.

It’s called CVAudio.com.au and although I have only been operating for a short time, I have had a lot of people just wanting to talk. They have so many questions, but sometimes don’t even know what questions to ask, or to whom they should ask them. They do know the destination, but have no map for the journey.

I’m inviting anyone who’s reading this and would like to transfer their knowledge, be a mentor, be a pro to someone who wants to be like you, to drop me a line and tell me the type of person you would want to mentor. I’ll pass on your details to that type of person and you can start empowering the stars of tomorrow!

This is a small industry and we all talk, maybe we could open up our industry to people knocking on the door that are just as passionate as we are, but don’t know the secret knock to get in just yet.

Sometimes we need a bit of skill, a bit of knowledge, a bit of hard work, a bit of money, a bit of time, a bit of ‘who you know’ and a bit of luck. You could be someone else’s luck and just maybe that luck might come back around to you someday!

You can contact Sam Phelps at CVAudio here.

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