Radio Connection student Dana Green goes ON AIR!
Radio Connection student Dana Green (Las Vegas, NV) easily recalls the first time she was inspired to pursue a radio career—in the third grade. “It was my birthday,” she says. “Every morning I would drive with my family—I’m the oldest of five kids—and my mom would drive us to my grandma’s house, where I would catch the bus to go to elementary school…Every morning we would listen to the morning show, KIIS-FM. It was their morning show. They were the funniest and their show was the most entertaining. I enjoyed listening to their radio show more than I enjoyed watching cartoons after school…On the birthday morning I was going to my grandma’s house, my mom drops me off and she says, ‘Make sure that you listen to the radio show this morning.’ I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely.’…They started doing the birthday shout outs, and they’re saying, ‘Happy birthday, Rachel and Matthew. Happy birthday to Stephanie. Happy birthday, Dana. How are you doing?’ And I just remember thinking to myself, I’m the first person that they said, ‘How are you doing?’ to. Everybody else just got a happy birthday. They’re like, “Hey, Dana. How are you doing?”…I was on cloud nine. And it was at that moment I realized that there was somebody in the radio who was actually doing that, and I thought to myself, ‘I think I could do that.’ Of course, the path to getting to our dreams sometimes has a few detours. Years later, as a young 20-something, Dana says she was caught up in the stress of trying to make money as a bartender in Las Vegas and caring for a daughter. She’d heard of the Radio Connection by then, but never took the first step. Even so, she never forgot her dream. “People that would come into my life, they’d ask me what are my ambitions,” she says. “I’d always say, ‘I would love to be a talk radio show host.’ And I’d always been given the feedback, ‘It’s about who you know,’ and that made sense to me. After working five years in the Vegas service industry, Dana says her breaking point came earlier this year. “It was Cinco de Mayo,” she recalls. “I was working in my minimum wage job here on the Las Vegas strip. I’m a bartender, and I had an absolute meltdown with my manager. It was the worst-case scenario, and I thought to myself, ‘I cannot continue. I’m ready, I’m ready.’ And the next day I called Radio Connection.” Dana was placed as an apprentice at KSHP AM 1400 in Las Vegas. She says not only did she feel welcomed, but from the very beginning sessions with her mentor, Danny Jackson, Dana was thrown into the hands-on workflow of the station. In no time, she was an integral part of the schedule. “Right from the beginning, I think my first day at the radio station, Danny and I were producing commercials together,” she says. “I voiced a Dodger baseball bumper. It was a 30-second spot, and that was put into traffic, emailed out and put into traffic. Ever since then, I go in every Thursday. I’m there at 7:45 in the morning. I work on the radio shopping show.” Since starting the program, Dana has continued to get more responsibility. Now, she gets regular air time on the microphone. “At the beginning, they were letting me sit in, take notes, listen and watch how they work the phone lines…just kind of observing,” she says. “Then when they threw me into it, I got to be involved with the actual process of the show running on air. At first I was just on the mic, and Danny and I were kind of co-hosting back and forth, talking with one another. And then they put me on the soundboard, so I’m able to talk on the mic and work the soundboard and the phone lines…Now, when I come in at 7:45 in the morning, I get a quick briefing from the sales director. She gives me the sale items for the day, and then I go on air with her. She’s on there for the first 15 minutes until, you know, our first commercial break, and then she basically takes off, and I’m in the radio studio running the show solo…from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. every Thursday morning.” It doesn’t end there. Dana has taken the opportunity to throw herself into every aspect of the station, making herself an asset every chance she gets. “They have gotten to the point where, at the end of the show, I’ll ask either Danny or Rene, who is the sales director, I’ll ask them if they need any production work done, and they’ll give me maybe the name of a show, the name of a restaurant, or any of the, maybe an auto parts store. It just depends on what needs to be done. And then I will go into the studio, do my research on them…write up a quick script, then I’ll either voice it myself or will have somebody else in the station voice it for me. After that, I edit it all down and send it out to the sales director, who sends it into traffic…If the show ends at 10:00, I usually leave at about 1:00 in the afternoon…they have given me so much freedom in that studio, it’s unbelievable.” Now, after some detours, Dana is finally on the road to the career she’s always dreamed of having—thanks in part to that fateful moment of crisis in May. “It showed me that I was beyond ready to start the next chapter in my life, because I was done working a minimum wage job that wasn’t fulfilling for me at all,” she says. “It pays the bills, but there’s more to life than just making do…The year of 2016 I was working two jobs. I worked seven days a week between two different restaurants, and thought to myself, ‘This must be the way that you get ahead.’ And by the end of the year, I was in the worst mental state, I was just not happy with what I was doing, I hardly saw my daughter. It was, most importantly, unfulfilling. There was nothing that I was getting out of it, and by the end of the year, I still had nothing to show for it. And here we are in 2017; I have a savings that I’ve never had before, I feel like I’m doing something, because I am going to school. I think over the last five years, I’ve learned the value of life, over anything. And that’s what put me in the right position to finally pursue Radio Connection.” Now that she’s changed course, there’s no looking back. “If I could find myself a job, whether it’s running and getting coffee, I don’t care if I’m sweeping the hallways, if I can get a job somewhere in a radio station right out of school, that’s my goal,” she says.
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