Recently, I posted on all my FaceBook pages for people to submit segments on Life after Urban Radio or Music. I constantly hear from radio people who want to leave, get back in or don’t know what to do after they have been laid off. I’ve even talked to some who are just burnt out. I knew there were many radio people who went on to do other things from working in other industries to finishing college and more and I want to talk to those people so that they can talk to you. After posting the request on FaceBook, I got a TON of responses that went way beyond a single story but we decided to break them down in segments, featuring one or two people per story. Our first story is incredibly inspiring and features industry vet and programmer Mike Stradford.
RFFocus : Please describe what happened after you left radio?
Mike Stradford: After leaving KKBT in Los Angeles, I went to work for Quincy Jones as head of A&R for Qwest Records. I was there for almost four years. I left there and went to work at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, where I created a department that produced special features for all of Sony’s films, ranging from Spider-Man to Lawrence of Arabia and thousands in between. I did that for seven years, then segued over to Sony Pictures Digital, where I ran a development department that created dozens of online webseries on Crackle.com, a Sony owned company. In 2010, I became a partner in Big Air Studios, a distribution/acquisition film company with special expertise in digital distribution and marketing, as well as more traditional theatrical releases.
The connecting thread across all of those positions is understanding that my skills are transferable. I think that’s where a lot of people who’ve spent significant time in radio and/or records miss the boat. They’ve been doing one thing for so long that sometimes it’s difficult to see where the skills that have been honed and developed over time have applications beyond radio and records, but they really do. Everything that I’ve been involved is a formed of packaged media that happens to be entertainment related. Radio: music and air talent. Record industry: music and recording talent. DVD: Movies and film talent. Digital: Movies and film talent. It’s all content and talent. That can apply to sports, politics, public relations, the list goes on and on. You just have to see it.
Finally, I found it’s also helpful to interview or meet with someone who’s progressive in their thinking and can see beyond what’s on a resume’, if you’re looking beyond the industry you’ve been working in. I was fortunate that when I interviewed at Sony, the EVP of Home Entertainment had a 25 year career in the music biz, so he could see perfectly how my skill set would work. In short, I’d suggest looking at your work history and take the industry out of it, replace it with another industry that you’re interested in, and see how it could fit. And do it without judgment! Possibilities start when you open yourself to them without judgment.
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