Despite knowing how to break through the clutter on the radio airwaves, my words and experience were falling on deaf ears. But it was a shrinking industry with fewer opportunities, especially for women older than 50.
The human resources officers who were reviewing my resume didn’t care who I was or that I had a history of winning ratings. I realized I had to expand my scope, parlay my skills into another media platform, like Internet. I could generate ideas on the spot and under pressure. It didn’t hurt that I could keep up with the boys and joke with the best of them.
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I signed onto Wunderlist, a great app for keeping track of phone calls, emails and appointments.
I contacted everyone I knew, wanted to know or thought I knew.
She smiled and nodded and asked me when I could start. It would be the overnight shift, paying a fraction of my former salary, and it might just be six on-air slots for the entire year. ”She gave me all the necessary paperwork and then ushered me downstairs for my ID tag, and the next day I started work. By late October, I was anchoring and reporting the news—full-time, on-air—covering everything from the city to celebrities. I could pay my rent and treat myself to a mani-pedi.
But more than anything, I was so thrilled to be back in the loop, proud of myself that I had gotten out of bed and endured so many closed doors to eventually find the right one open.I summoned my morning radio flying-without-a-net experience and quickly pitched: “What if we got a bunch of cool kids to sip soda and then burp along to their favorite song? I was hopeful about an opening I had heard about in June, but when the top consulting executive producer told me the producer shift started at a.m., I laughed out loud.I didn’t have to work those hours even at age 17 as a radio news intern at WLIR-FM on Long Island. Still, months into a search, I had to admit I wasn’t any closer to finding a job. Some even took me out to lunch, but nothing ever seemed to come of it.Now, when my 50ish friends are between jobs and feeling scared, I tell them, not to worry about their age, or their looks, don’t feel insulted by disinterest or silence.Just keep showing up and saying yes to yourself and all the possibilities, even if you have to get over yourself and pretend you’re JLo.I was in my 50s, single and out of work, and haunted by the countless news stories I had read about how hard it was for older women to find employment. I had spent ten years of my career working as a reporter for Howard Stern, the greatest radio broadcaster in the world, in my unbiased opinion. I had even won a Billboard Air Personality of the Year award.