More Career Watch Blogs
- Choosing Careers ...when you have more than one interest
- Career: Radio Show Host
- Career Watch: Being a Life Coach
- Career Watch: Wedding Planner
- Deciding Your Career
- Career Watch - Life of an Art Director
- Career Watch - The Life of a Copy Writer
- Career Watch - Personal Trainer
- Career Watch - Construction Manager
- Career Watch - Stylist
January 2009 Blogs
- Real Girl: Naella
- Ask a Guy - girl beauty, laughing uncontrollably, own a company, embarrassing moment
- Ask A Girl - childhood memory, laughing uncontrollably, own a company, first paycheque
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- Fashion Tips: Tummies
- Career: Radio Show Host
- HELP! My Friend thinks she is FAT!
- The RAINBOW That is you!
- Stage Makeup Eye Makeup Winter Hat Head
- LUNCH What are YOU eating everyday?
- New Year's Resolutions
Career: Radio Show Host
CAREER WATCH, January 2009, by Jenifer Merifield
Radio Show Host
Meet Laura Mainella, the fun and always enthusiastic Morning Show Radio Host for Ottawa’s HOT 89.9 FM.
“When I was a teenager I was fascinated with radio and music and I loved listening to people talking on the radio. So when I finished high school I went to college to learn about the business.” Laura says that back then she was shy and didn’t have a lot of confidence. She remembers that there were mostly men in radio and the women did weather and traffic. “I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to talk to people and do news!” It was frustrating to her because in college the guys were in a different room learning the things she wanted to learn about. “I knew I was qualified and I was determined to fight for what I wanted,” she recalls.
She ended up volunteering at a station where she was the coffee girl and the dry cleaning girl and wasn’t actually on the radio. It took a while and she bugged her station manager to let her on the air every chance she got! Turns out, a guy who was at the time doing news called in sick and they needed someone… guess who got her big break?! Woohoo Laura! “I did my first on-air news and unfortunately I sucked. I even threw up from being so nervous.
But the happy ending is that the same news guy quit and I got his place!” But get this… they weren’t even paying her. Before you freak out think about it this way: she got her chance to prove herself and get the experience she needed. Now she’s a successful Morning Show Host doing what she loves AND getting paid!
What she loves about it.
“I have the forum to guide and inspire people every day. It’s funny, people think of me as a celebrity and I just see myself as ‘Laura from Thornhill’.” She talks a lot about loving and respecting yourself and is very honest on the air. She’s developed a style that works for her. “I love that I can influence people in little ways and the fact that parents support me and their kids want to be like me. It’s not even like work because I laugh a lot, talk a lot and I get back so much. It’s very rewarding.”
How much time is required on the job?
“Well, you gotta love it because the hours are crazy! I’m up at 3:30 to be ready for my 5:30-9am show. I spend time searching web sites to find out what’s going on in the world and I read all the on-line papers. When the show is over we meet and talk about how it went. We also do charity events with schools and hospitals, diabetes events, and golf tournaments. We volunteer our time for charity to help them raise money while getting exposure for us. So some days I finish at 9am and I’m outta’ there... other days I may have a charity and a dinner to attend and I get home late at night.
What about the money?
Laura says, “Morning is the best paid time slot. Major market morning shows where you’re in a big city can pay you $250,000 a year. The rates getting started would be about $60,000 and up. Other slots make about $35,000 - $40,000. There are bonuses too. Companies pay to endorse products, wear things, eat things, and so on. That’s always fun.”
What kind of education do you need?
According to Laura, you at least need a college diploma. “I went to Seneca College, and then to Brock University for an English degree”. She highly recommends co-op and volunteering. “People think radio sounds cool but they may not know what it’s really like. You have to have a passion for people and music artists. One day you could be working at a rock station, next at country, so you have to respect all genres of music because they pay your bills.” She suggests you hang around the station and see what it’s like. Maybe you’d prefer to do commercial writing or sales.
“It’s a lot of fun if you like people and you’re articulate and good at communicating. It’s a place where people like you for who you are. You can be yourself! It’s empowering to have 350,000 people listening to me every day. I never thought I’d be in a place where I make a difference in someone’s lives. You have the power to make change, uplift people and trigger emotions. There’s a lot of pressure too, but you have to believe in yourself and be confident. Oh, and men still make more than women in this industry doing the exact same job!"