If you want to be an all-star, you start out in the minor leagues

We all dream of being at the top of our game, successful, maybe even owners of or own businesses or corporations.  Because of the formula for success, no one gets there overnight.

We all had hopes and dreams when we were younger

Since the second grade, my dream was to work in broadcast radio being the host and star of my very successful morning radio show in St. Louis.

Throughout grade school, junior high (now middle school) and high school I was focused in on my dream of working in radio.  I never considered any other job. 

When I was in junior high, a new morning show started in St. Louis on KSLQ (now Y98) hosted by Guy Phillips and Mike Wall.  Those guys were funny.  I still remember one of the bits they did in the late 70’s.

After starting to listen to Phillips and Wall in the morning, I wanted to be a morning show deejay when I grew up.

During my high school years, I daydreamed of working at the same radio station as my favorite afternoon drive deejay, John Frost.  I envisioned myself sitting behind the microphone of FM 103 KHTR hosting their morning show and competing against Phillips and Wall.

When I started college, I got on a morning show with Dan Strauss, Jim Shank and Bret Dillion at KCFV, the college radio station for St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley.   When that show abruptly ended, I convinced (okay nagged) the faculty advisor/station manager to allow me to continue doing the morning shift.

Although my goal was to work in morning radio, my plan (if you even want to call it a plan) was not very realistic.  My plan was to just work at the college radio station and wait for the program director of KHTR to hear my show, call me and say “how would you like to be the new host of our morning drive time?”

To be truthful, with that kind of plan my desire to work in radio was not a goal as much as it was a dream.

What I did not realize at the time is that if you want to be a success, you don’t start at the top, you start at the bottom – in the minor leagues.

In radio normally you do not get your first paid on air fulltime gig working the morning drive time slot at a top radio station in a top 10 radio market.   Your got to start at the bottom.

You got to record your show (called an air check) onto what is called an audition tape.  You then make many copies of your tape and send them off to program directors of radio stations of every format in every state in America.  If you are lucky, your tape will fall into the hands at the right time when the program director is looking for a replacement at his station and that station is somewhat near where you live.

Radio careers normally start in the smaller markets – Joplin MO. Fresno California, Modesto-Stockton California, etc.  Your first job is going to be a crappy overnight job on the weekends, not earning enough money to really pay the bills (unless you get a second job).

My story sounds like the story many young boys have about being professional baseball players.  They all dream, as a child, to be the next Aaron Judge.   What many kids do not realize is the months and years a player spends in the minors before being called up to the majors.

No matter what we do in life, we al start off as novices in the minor league.  Regardless of if it is in our careers, relationships or hobbies – we all start off as small fish in a big pond – hoping we will be discovered.

Getting out of the minor takes a lot more than just hope.  It takes hard work, dedication, commitment, several failures and the ability not to give up after failing repeatedly.

Although I never got that when it came to my dream of working in radio, I totally get it as I am building my professional writing, speaking and coming this fall – podcasting career.

As a writer, I am starting off in the minors.  I post to this blog weekly, and I am frequently entering writing contests and submitting stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul.  I will soon be submitting pieces to magazines in hopes they will publish my work and pay me as I wait for my career to take off.

As a speaker I have delivered many speeches at various Toastmasters meetings, and a few in public.  None of them have been paid gigs – yet.  But I keep working hard in what I call the minors until my career to take off.

To borrow a phrase that is popular in some broadcast booths in baseball, I have been called up “for a cup of coffee”.  For those who do not follow baseball, that means I have had brief experiences in the major leagues. 

I have won 2 writing contests with the Joplin Writers Guild, I had one of my pieces published in the Wolfner Library newsletter, and I have had an article published in the Joplin Regional Business Journal.

I have also had many rejections from contests and other attempts to be published.  But I am not giving up, because I know that it takes a lot of hard work to succeed at your goals – and now you know that too!