I’m A Program Director

It’s been an exciting time in my radio life. I decided to take on a new challenge that I only know of and not much about. A task that I never got a chance to learn about from a veteran in the world of radio. That task is being a Program Director for a radio station.

My station is online/streaming. It’s on the TuneIn app as well. The station is called Logik Classic. It’s the only hip-hop station putting culture first. I gave it that tag because that is my aim. Urban Hip-Hop radio feels so stagnant to me. A lot of the stations play the exact same songs all in an effort to reach a specific person, so said person can listen to company ads and spend money with that company. I get it. That’s how stations make their money. I just don’t like that the variety is non existent. It doesn’t speak to the people who really live and love the culture. So I’m taking it upon myself to fill that void.

As I learn this broadcasting system, bare with me. I’m literally learning on the fly and have been deferring everyday and listening in an effort to learn. Adding all the music. Structuring the time and thinking of content to add. It’s a task and thank God I don’t have to do it alone. First few days have been rough, but wait for what’s next!¬† My current woe is getting the system to play at least half of the songs I have in the system. Got to get that down before I add more and I have a lot more to add. What a time to want change in the wild world of radio!

5 Years Ago, I was on TV

I hopped on Facebook this morning and the first thing I see was this picture. It was 5 years ago since I posted it. As I look at this picture, I’m reminded of a story that I really never shared before. So, no time like the present.

IMC TV was a local 24 hour music channel in Indianapolis, Indiana. It played videos round the clock and featured radio personalities from all of the stations I worked for. I wanted to be on that station. Especially when some personalities let me know that they didn’t really want to do their shows. I figured that was the perfect lob to get me in. That wasn’t the case.

Time would move forward and more features would get added to the station. The only thing that was for sure is, I wouldn’t be apart of the features. Why? Well I have my own personal thoughts, but let’s just leave it at, the Program Director didn’t think I would be a good fit for the station. It was also because I didn’t have a radio show. I wasn’t on air for any of the radio formats and the thought was “nobody knows me”. To me that’s still a lame excuse but it’s what I had to take at the time.

After weeks and maybe even months of round and round about being on IMC TV, I was finally given a shot. It was through a feature called “Man On The Street.” I had to hit the block with a cameraman and ask random people questions. I got very little camera time, but I absolutely loved doing the feature! Especially as I got more comfortable. It really wasn’t about getting the face time. It was about doing the work and being apart of the station.

As I get in my groove with that, the PD would unveil a website segment called “The Web Attack”. However, it originally wasn’t given to me. It was given to the morning show producer and a part time talent on the Top 40 station. Can’t lie, I was salty. I’m the Online Editor. I put the content on the sites. Why would a “web guy” not be called to do a “web attack”? Grant it, for a while I was only seen as “The Web Guy”, which I always felt was a “dig” or a shot at my skill-set and personality, but this feature is obviously made for someone like me.

To shorten the story, I won the war of attrition. Changes were made, personalities were let go and I was still around to do whatever I could. This is the part where I thank Lisa, Woody, Jennifer and Steve of IMC TV. Because they were the people at IMC that always tossed my name in the hat. The were the people who said “Well, Cam actually wants to do all this” and kept me in conversations. It also probably helped that I was easy to work with and didn’t mind listening to them. Well I hope they feel that way, lol! I approached it all as a novice. That’s what you do when you fall into an opportunity. I couldn’t go in their stunting and fronting like I was hot ish. I wasn’t the top choice. I wasn’t a choice. The PD didn’t want me on the station.

In the end, I ended up being all over that station. I did “Man on the Street”, two web attack segments and I did so many fill-in shows there where some days you would see me every hour! I was super happy and proud of myself. It’s truly a top 3 highlight of my media career.

The time with IMC gave me a chance to see the city of Indianapolis and interact with the people. I got a chance to be apart of Super Bowl week and go to NFL Honors. I also got a discount at Boogie Burger! The cashier was so mad I was given one though. Then asked me if I was famous. Hater. The most shocking moment was when I was in Marsh and some kid stopped me and asked, Hey, aren’t you the guy on IMC? I still don’t believe that happened.

IMC TV would “close” in 2013 and I would be in search of my next on screen media opportunity. I’ll never forget that time and what it meant to me. I never mailed it in. Not one segment. I was happy to do the work. Happy to belong to something. Sure, I wasn’t accepted from the door, but I feel if nothing else, I earned some respect. And that will always be good enough for me. Love.

The Great Thing About My Media Career

I woke up this morning with a pretty great revelation. The revelation that I’ve been able to maintain a solid media career independently for the last year and not really lose a step.

In 2009, when I first said I was going to make media a career choice, I was told that once you’re in everybody loves you, but when you’re out, “no one will know you.” It was basically an “insider vs outsider” conversation. I won’t lie, I believed it. I wasn’t concerned about making anymore friends besides the ones I came in with at that point. What I didn’t take into account is who I was at my core. How valuable I was outside of the game, which is what got me a spot in it in the first place. I wasn’t somebody’s “boy they hooking up”. I wasn’t handpicked for an opportunity. I literally got in as an unknown with a lob from a classmate.

I was told “You got the stuff you can’t teach” and I got my first full time job because I knew what Twitter was,I had retail management experience and I was creating videos to put on YouTube in 2007-2008. At that time it wasn’t what the average person or media personality was doing. I had no idea how much value that built for me.

Present day, I don’t have a national platform, nor do I have a multi-million or billion dollar company backing me or setting me up for success and I am still creating great content moments. I love talk radio, so podcast are lifesavers for my creative juices. I’m able to take even more risk now with content as a “free agent” and it fells amazing.

I couldn’t do it alone though. I have a handful of real friends in the industry to thank. The ones who called the day they knew I was heading back to Chicago with no real plan. Who didn’t understand why I didn’t get some opportunities, but still didn’t let their level of opportunities dwindle or die because of it. People that if nothing else, respect me for the work I put in and the effort I give. I “out media” and “out content” the big dogs here in the midwest, even if the numbers don’t reflect it. A marketing budget will solve that though.

I just wanted to recognize how thankful, grateful and blessed I am to still be doing a lot of things that I love, even if it’s only part of the time. To my real ones. Thank you.

Moments: Leaving Radio [November, 8, 2015]

It’s no secret to the people that are close to me that I have been talking about leaving radio. Shoot I’ve even been planning an exit strategy throughout the year.

Right now it’s in the 5AM hour and I’m thinking of Amos Brown’s career and legacy and again understanding why I really got into this industry.

I’m barely 7 years in and contemplating walking away and I knew a man who put in 40 impactful years and affected everyone that knew and listened to him.

Somewhere along my journey, I forgot about the Marathon of Change. In that marathon it’s not about your mind, but more about the path to endure. I often think, why isn’t this changing? Why isn’t this being done? Why are things the way they are? If you ever listened to “Afternoons with Amos” or talked to him off the mic you know, you don’t give up after one wrong answer or no answer. You keep asking the question and make yourself undeniable, unforgettable and the catalyst for all the answers you want.

Sure I’m not making the money I want and of course I want more opportunities to grow, but it’s now crystal clear that walking away for a length of time or forever isn’t going to make that happen either. I’ve got until the day I die to get my point across and I’m going to do exactly that.

I soft shoe shuffled, came to a halt and even dropped to my knees in this race. I’m officially back up and ready to keep running. Cause there really is no place I’d rather be than Broadcasting.

Hope you all have a great morning, no matter what you are going through.

I Want To Be Great For Vain Reasons

I want to share a personal flaw with you. I want to share with you this bad habit I have of calling out people that I feel suck or are inferior when it comes to their profession or craft. This isn’t me yelling at the TV during my favorite sporting event or even me critiquing rappers, which I also love doing. This is more personal. This is me looking at the broadcasting industry I choose to be in and the people in it and the work put in or lack there of.

Do I ¬†think I am the best? Hell no! In fact, I would love to get more game, insight and have more people to call mentors as I build what I hope is a 20, 30 and beyond year career. I just get upset when I see people not taking full advantage or squandering an opportunity. Daily and hourly, I listen to media personalities. Some are super dope and really putting in work and making the most of their time. Others not so much. The not so much people are the ones that bother me. They are the ones who have gotten a great opportunity and feel the race to be great is over. At least it sounds like that to me. They don’t mind being mediocre, going through the motions or doing just enough. It irks my soul and somedays, I can’t let it go and say nothing about.

We live in a time where “popular is the new talent” and now a huge following will make people see a skill-set in you. To a degree, I’m not upset at that. What upsets me is when you get that opportunity and you don’t try to become at least “pretty damn good” at what you were given an opportunity to do. I was told within my first week of media school that it’s about “Who Knows You” and how that will be a huge part in your future opportunities. I’ve watched that happened. Sometimes I can salute it and say “great work!” Other times I’m like “it’s been X amount of years and you’re still not even pretty good at this; Why?”

My last gig, I wanted to be at bare minimum pretty damn good at everything. I learned my job, the basics of other people’s jobs and then wanted to try my hand at doing those positions or helping. Now, that definitely rubs people the wrong way. Hence why I call it a personal flaw. However, I just think that’s how it should be. We should want to be great and know all that we possibly can in our chosen industries. How will you stay in if you don’t know more than your current job?

One day, I’m going to have a social media following so huge that I will get handed a TV or Radio Show just because “I’m popping right now”. When that happens, I’m not going to mail it in. I’m going to practice even more. I’m going to gain more information, write, rehearse and repeat and consume myself with being great at the opportunity provided. I’m going to do that for my right to critique. It’s not even a competition thing for me. I want to be great, so I can say “Dude, you suck!” and the only thing that can be said in return is “Well, everybody can’t be you” or just an insult. I can deal with that. That means the work ethic, the skill and the talent is all there and I am maxing out on it. So when I make a statement of your lack of effort or quality, it really should be taken to heart. The best isn’t always number 1 in this media game, so I don’t feel the need to focus on that. But when it comes to men and women in this game making the most of their time and opportunity. That’s a completely different ball game. That ballgame should always be played to win. Cause now more than ever, there are no guarantees and a wasted opportunity will lead to less chances taken in the future. For years I’ve heard stories of how “so and so” did this and that left a bad taste in my mouth so now “I won’t waste time doing this again.” You’re right, it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. That’s why I hate to see others half ass great opportunities. Opportunities that I would never take lightly or slack on a day.

Yeah, I want to be great for vain reasons. I’ve come to accept that about myself. However, notice how I don’t ever hope or wish anyone fails or never gets a shot. Understand this is me saying that I just want people to try harder. I’m not a hater. I just like to listen, watch and associate myself with quality work. I don’t like this “Popular, Green Ribbon Era”. I’m not out here to earn completion points. I’m trying to be remembered as a legend in whatever I put my effort into. I just wish everybody else felt that way.