By Blake Lindsay
People often ask me, “Why are you no longer a deejay on the air somewhere?” I’m happy to explain with a story that has an unenthusiastic beginning, however has a very positive reassuring ending like some of my favourite trials. If you are experiencing a career transition, or know someone who is, I hope this life lesson I learned will help.
Like many others in the industry I keep asking, “Why in the world has broadcasting taken such a turn over the last decade or so?”
I’ve read and heard about the many occupations ranging from our auto industry to banking, the broadcasting business to our medical trade and more, feeling the downbeat blow from consolidations, and budget cuts which cause lay-offs. I believe that technology has certainly helped us more than hurt us, but the steadily improving automation with some of these new machines, has definitely taken several jobs away from people. I became personally impacted by these ongoing changes in the summer of 2001.
I had worked with KISS-FM in Dallas Fort Worth for more than seven years, which seemed to me like a respectable milestone that I was excited about continuing. I loved performing each weekend, especially when I had the opportunity to fill the shoes of our morning man Kidd Craddick during his vacations. Then, one day, all three of us part-time staff were laid off. This was yet another test along the way to transformation. Transformed people must be resilient and spring back when faced with obstacles and career setbacks.
Over the last several years, consolidation and computerized voice tracking has maximized the use of on-air personalities by canning one voice and automating its use on multiple radio stations within the same chain of ownership. One deejay or newscaster can be a talent on two or three radio stations a day, thousands of miles apart. Periodically a listener, who is unfamiliar to this concept, will call the local station hoping to speak with the personality they are hearing on the air, but that individual is not live or local to chat. Honestly, engaging in on-air conversations was one of the many things I enjoyed about being a deejay. I know that radio is only one of many careers being affected in this way.
Much to my surprise, I became re-energized in 2005 concerning my broadcasting career. My radio mentor John King asked me to cut a few promos for WJEL. The station was preparing to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary on September 3. I was pleased he wanted my participation in their celebration and readily agreed to produce a few promos. I certainly didn’t consider this promo opportunity would be priceless experience, in a brand new role, known in the broadcasting business as voice talent imaging. Imaging is the common word, which simply means branding. For example, my voice is instrumental with communicating the purpose of listening to that specific station. In some instances, I might promote the station’s upcoming events, contests or perhaps the station’s identifications. Learning this fresh skill, and getting some practice was more valuable to me than money would have been at that time. I was also thrilled to be finally concluding my four-year absence from my broadcast profession or for me a type of hobby. When you truly enjoy what you are doing it seems to go beyond work resulting in a keen sense of contribution and fulfillment.
I get a real kick as I reflect upon this coincidence that launched a brand new broadcast niche. Here, more than 20 years after I was an on-air student, my first station to broadcast on was as well responsible for being my initial voice imaging assignment. I had been hopeful for a new broadcasting channel to fill my vacancy and voice talent imaging was absolutely my answer. It brought me additional excitement as WJEL received two noticeable power increases since I had been an on-air student. The station benefited from the improved signal.
When I agreed to perform imaging for my mentor and friend John King at WJEL, I asked my friend Jim, who has a simple production studio in his home, if I could make special use of his facility. He gave me the green light and we had a blast. Since Jim was 30 miles from my residence and I needed additional time in the studio, I learned exactly what equipment I required and purchased the right production tools. Now I have my own in-home studio to perform audio production. With expanded use of email, I send my work over to my client in a matter of minutes as opposed to a day or more through the regular mail system.
A lesson, which was reinforced to me here, is that there is really no self-made successful person. It takes other people to be a success in life. Think about that. You need colleagues, partners, employees, or clients and possibly all of the above. Collaboration and building strong partnerships such as this are critical to be successful in today’s fast paced world of rapid change.
As my friend Zig Ziglar would say, “Learn to win here before going there!” This is precisely what occurred for me. Before long, my next door was opening. Another friend, Larry, purchased a radio station in Paris Texas. I sent him a sample to hear from my fresh voice talent branding for WJEL. After listening to it, Larry was confident my imaging would also help him launch his brand new station in a full-size way. I created custom-made production for Larry’s specific needs and he was pleased with the outcome. These two radio stations were enough to provide plenty of experience and momentum to develop my new knack in broadcasting.
My mentor and friend John King, plus Larry and Jim all were active in helping me develop right into voice talent production, yet another career which has transformed into a hobby. My brand new business is called Blazin’ Blake Productions, using the radio handle, which I am known for, on hit music stations. My voice is also heard on several commercials, broadcast nationwide.
Blazin’ Blake Productions is growing, and I am pleased to be making progress with this brand new trade. I currently perform voice production for four radio stations, and a local TV program. I additionally help people with professional audio on their websites, explaining in 10 to 60 seconds, a quantity of key benefits their trade accomplishes. This also keeps my broadcast communication skills sharpened.
That is another life lesson learned. Try to make every engagement or opportunity a win-win. John’s request for promos to billboard WJEL’s upcoming reunion was the precise push I needed to see my brand new vision through. My personal voice production illustration I am sharing can happen to all of us in a variety of ways. This has really helped me maintain my commitment in staying open-minded. I continue to strive toward personal mastery, good technique, and effective execution in the hopes that what I am able to do is a service to others.
It is intriguing how sometimes the occasional unsolicited career changes that we encounter usually find some way to challenge us by making us even stronger rather than stopping us. I encourage anyone in a job or career transition to be resilient and to positively look for a new door to open when one seems to close. Life is a series of entering and exiting. I have learned that how you exit one event or era affects how you enter the next. So exit gracefully and well as you enter into the next opportunity.
I have also learned that when we are forced to seek new and perhaps better opportunities our hidden talents frequently emerge. That is the process of being transformed by turning the lemons of life into lemonade. Doing our very best to remain hopeful, resilient, stay confident, and keep a positive attitude is most important through these career changes and professional transformations. I absolutely believe deep in my spirit that when one door closes another one is about to open. That open door might be just a step away or around the corner. The main thing is to just hang in there, and keep knocking and seeking because soon a new door of opportunity will open. You have to believe that or life challenges will have you instead of being able to meet learning challenges head on and become transformed in the process. As the good word says, be transformed by the renewing of the mind.
This is good, Blake. Taking tough situations and growing from them is not always pain free, but it sure is worth it. Thanks for the advice and encouragement!
Great story Blake! I too have done similar things in my 67 year lifetime. When one door closes, another opens up. But you have to get up off da Counch and go through the new door. Sounds like you have. I have tried like hell to get into your line of work, but out here in California there are many many talents running around. After literally hundreds of demo ced’s sent out I got absolutely no response. Keep it up Blazin’ you are an inspiration!!
What an enthusiastic and uplifting article. Thanks for sharing this.
What an interesting and uplifting article. Thanks for sharing it.
Blake: You are such an inspiration to all who know you and are fortunate to hear your story. You can pay no higher tribute to you parents than your success and sharing of gifts with the world. Bravo, my friend!
A great story and wonderful words to comtemplate every day.
Great to hear you are continuing to be heard on the radio. I believe with more voice-tracking and more jockless radio stations….that voice talent and imaging is more important now than ever before.
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