Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"
How it All Began for Hubbard's Drew Horowitz
When I rejoined McCann Erickson in Chicago in 1977, I met Drew Horowitz who was then the SM and eventually GSM of WFYR. Drew was a soft-spoken dynamo who knew the radio business inside and out. He treated his staff with respect and expected effort in return. Because he was so kind and nice you wanted to please him, and his staff did just that. WFYR was one of the most economically successful stations in the market. Several years later he became the GM and made the station the first oldies station to contend with the current music stations in ratings and revenues. When he became GM of WUSN, I had the privilege of buying the media for the station, and I discovered why Drew was so successful: He was smart and serious, but always had a smile on his face. You could do no better than to work with Drew; he made every day a learning experience and a day that mattered.
Now, in his own words, here's how Drew Horowitz got into radio…
I actually went to college and received my degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the Annenberg School of Communications at Temple University, but I never really intended to go into the broadcast industry. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, and as a result I also ended up with a B.A. in American History. So I bartended after graduation, saved my money, and went off to law school. After a couple of years I realized that I didn’t really like law school or the legal process.
During the summer between my 2nd and 3rd years, I spent time with my cousin and his girlfriend, who was in radio sales at WBBM-AM in Chicago. I was lamenting that I didn’t like law school and was running out of money. She said she thought I would be great in radio sales. I knew nothing about the sales process or what was involved. She gave me a crash course and helped me with my resume, which was pretty sparse. I asked for recommendations as to who I should talk to and she gave me a list.
I began “dialing for dollars,” trying to get an interview. All of the successful legitimate stations wouldn’t give me the time of day. But the bottom-ranked stations were all willing to meet with me. I interviewed with a new sales manager who just arrived in Chicago from Washington D.C. and was trying to build a sales staff at the lowly rated automated Oldies station, WFYR. He was willing to see me even though I had no experience. I had never been on an interview and had no idea what I was doing but I needed a job.
My meeting didn’t go very well but I think I wore him down, never stopping to catch a breath. I followed up to see if I got the job , and he laughed and said no but that he was willing to set up a second meeting. I did a little more homework on him and the station and was better prepared for this meeting. After a relentless barrage of why I should be given a chance and why I would do a great job I finally convinced him to take a chance on me.
He hired me as a commission seller with a small guarantee and I was off to the races. A month later I sold the Dick Clark Rock, Roll, and Remember book-signing package, with a big commission, and I realized I was pretty good at this sales thing. Sitting here today, 37 years later, I will be forever grateful to Lee Simonson for taking a chance on a kid with no experience, but a lot of desire.
You can e-mail Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.
So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.
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