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Darrell Johnson – It’s Never Too Late!

A Radio Success Story From A Radio Connection Graduate

One might think that once you hit your mid-40s, it’s too late to start from the ground up in a brand new career — especially one as difficult to break into as Radio. But that’s exactly what Darrell Johnson did.

With a lot of determination, a great attitude, and help from Radio Connection’s Radio program, Darrell achieved his dream of working in Radio. Here’s how it happened.

“I’ve worked with Radio Connection’s radio division over the past several years,” explains Mentor Blair Schultz from Entercom, Seattle (KISW, KMTT, KNDD, and KQBZ). “Overall, the experience has been extremely positive. I get apprentices who are highly motivated, and I’m able to give them their start in radio.”

Even Blair, however, was skeptical when Darrell Johnson came in for the initial interview. “When Darryl came in, he was dressed in a suit, and seemed like a businessman,” recalls Schultz. “I thought to myself: ‘Am I going to be able to turn him into a radio guy?’ I wondered if he could make a career change that late in life, and have it work for him.”

But Johnson’s attitude was the deciding factor. “He was really gung-ho in the interview,” says Schultz, “very jazzed about learning the process.” Schultz decided to take a chance — which made Darrell Johnson a happy man.

“It was exciting to learn to operate the equipment, and how to put a commercial together,” Darrell says of his apprentice (extern) with Schultz. “We covered commercials, news reporting, copywriting, and weather reporting; plus I put an air check together. Then I spread the word to everybody I knew about what I was doing.”

An impressive panoply of newly acquired skills, combined with Darrell’s networking, paid off. “It’s amazing what contacts will come when you let people know what you’re interested in. I had a job before the completion of the internship!”

So after interning for just 18 weeks, Darrell landed an impressive position at KXXO Mixx 96.1 FM in Seattle, where he will be doing weekends — Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — and filling in during the week. “Plus I will be doing fill-in news reports in morning drive,” he adds. (His on-air name is Wade Douglas.)

“The Radio Connection’s apprenticeship (externship) program gave me the vehicle to get recognized and get hired,” Darrell asserts. “If a career in radio is your dream then this is the best way to make it happen!”

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