By Women Warriors Ambassador + Guest Blogger Nicole Ryan
I’ll never forget it - fresh out of college, my first day sitting at the reception desk of Sirius Satellite Radio (this is before we had merged with XM) and thinking this is what I’m doing with my life? This is all my education got me? Answering phones, as a temp? While that is a perfectly good job for many, this is not exactly what I had in mind for myself. I felt defeated and made a decision that I was going to make the best of my opportunity and turn it into something I WANTED. This was a new up and coming company that had a ton of promise. I made it my mission to get to know anyone and everyone (yes, even Howard Stern 😀 ). I knew with the opportunity to speak with everybody in the company, while sitting at the front desk, I could make all the higher ups love me, and find a way to move up the ladder. With a lot of effort and a little extra TLC around the office, I did just that and had offers to work in the Marketing and Advertising Depts.
Throughout my beginning months with SXM, a few people and channels had used my voice for imaging (ya know, radio lingo for the jingles and promos you hear between songs) and some even called me in to their shows to ask my opinions on different things. I was getting comfortable doing this and enjoying it! Being on air wasn't too frightening and didn’t feel completely foreign. I was getting the hang of it and caught ‘the bug’ as we call it! So all of a sudden, the boys from our pop channel morning show asked me to test for a week with them- WOAH…Ok, this is getting real, I thought to myself. I was auditioning for this to be my actual job. I was in shock! I didn't go to school to be on the radio. I didn't know how to do this ‘for real’, what if I mess up, what if I don't know what to say?! Suddenly I began doubting myself because it isn’t easy and I was young, totally inexperienced and scared to death! It was weird…I had this incredible offer and all I could think about was all the reasons that I wasn't good enough to work with these 3 guys. They were pros and had been doing radio for a long time, from tiny towns to NYC! But I was determined to prove that they were not going to regret it and that I could kick ass with this!
Now often on radio shows the males dominate, and they have a girl as part of their ensemble solely to be a sidekick. With all this in mind, I gave it my absolute best shot, and it worked!!! I was so proud and excited and nervous and basically every other feeling out there…this was for real!!!
A few days later I was hired and tried my best to play this "sidekick" role, but that’s just NOT who I am. I am a female, not a female sidekick! I realized I had so much more to say and was pretty damn good at this and kinda funny 😀 . So with the encouragement of the guys on my show and management, I busted out of my shell and grew a confidence I knew was in there the whole time. We found our groove together and the show and I began flourishing.....Before too long I was leading a bunch of topics, my ideas and bits started hitting the air. I began dominating (in a good way!) some of our celebrity interviews and eventually I was made the entertainment reporter for the channel
It is a fun, tiring, difficult and wonderful job and I am very appreciative for the opportunity to be put in that position.
10 years later looking back, I still draw inspiration from the scared young girl who wasn’t sure of herself but figured - why not reach for the stars, you might actually touch one…I am a woman warrior 😀
Nicole…I liked reading your story. I just started in radio myself a few weeks ago & I feel like I’m starting to find my groove. I’m a graduate student at Sacred Heart in Fairfield & I host a music show on Wednesday’s 3pm-5pm. I’m doing the show on their station WHRT. Listening to you & Tay over the years has really helped me with this. Please check out my show sometimes http://www.whrtradio.weebly.com