I WAS the youngest of four children. My father was an electrician, and my mother was a school nurse who returned to school to get her degree when I started kindergarten. She would say you can be anything you want to be, and she set an example for me.
In high school, I enjoyed public speaking, art and music. Whenever the Grateful Dead were at Madison Square Garden, a friend and I would silk-screen T-shirts with Jerry Garcia’s image and sell them to concertgoers.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study in college, so I enrolled in speech communications at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and took art courses. A broad liberal arts education has served me well.
By sophomore year, I was general manager for the college radio station. During my last semester in school, I worked at an Oneonta radio station during the week and an overnight shift at another station in Binghamton on weekends. My first job after graduating was as a disc jockey at a top-40 station on Long Island.
I entered radio because I was creative. But at a top-40 station, you spoke for 15 seconds six times an hour and started and ended each segment with the station’s call letters. Every few hours you had to play a song by Madonna or Phil Collins. What I had hoped would be a creative experience was instead narrow and repetitive. Several months into the job, I got a saleswoman’s paycheck by mistake and learned she was making almost double what I was. The money was the final straw.
The next year, my brother Joe, who worked in magazine ad sales, explained media advertising to me and helped me get a sales job at a company that sold advertising for publishers. Instead of sending a follow-up letter after the interview, I sent an audio tape about what I could do for the company. I believe it helped me get the job.
[Source New York Times]