Near the end of my freshman year of college, I started to look for work for my summer break. A close friend of mine helped me get a position with a stage crew at a local Live Nation venue. With that, my career in live entertainment began. There was no training day or a “come in and get your feet wet” period; you had one chance to prove you could do it or look for work elsewhere.
On my first day, I was tasked with loading in Joni Mitchell and a 40-piece orchestra. All seemed to go well, and it was an easy start to a job. Within two weeks, I was loading in cathedral backdrops for Don Henley and setting up drums for Mike Portnoy. Over the summer, I worked close to 30 shows, covering every style of music possible. I also was tapped to be a runner since the venue was in my hometown and I could help with local needs. To pass time on long days, I also helped set up hospitality in the band’s dressing rooms.
At the time, I was studying for a job in radio broadcasting, so working the stage portion of the industry seemed to fit in pretty well. After working that first summer, I realized I enjoyed the live set up of a concert more than the “behind the mic” life of radio. There was never a better feeling of accomplishment than seeing a performance start from an empty stage and turn into a large-scale production, then disappear again within a few short hours. I would spend the next three years working at the theater on my breaks from school.
Although I enjoyed working the stage and live events, I was still in school pursuing my first love of radio. I served as an office assistant for a year, and then was promoted to the Loud Rock Music Director for the school’s radio station, WECS. My days were spent working with promotion companies in getting new and upcoming artists on the radio and played on our station. For two years, I worked charting “Spins” on our station, and reporting them to College Music Journal (CMJ) and the national publication, FMQB. I was also one of the directors for the station. I along with 2 other musical directors was responsible for schedules and monitoring the station while students and locals were on the air.
I also spent a year as a promotions intern at the local Hartford radio station, The Rock 106.9 WCCC. The station was an independent rock station that has been in Hartford for over 50 years. Constantly evolving to keep with the times, yet also playing host to classic rock, WCCC has always been a staple of Connecticut radio. It was also the first station in the US to give shock rock Howard Stern his own radio show.
My internship helped me get ready for JHE much like my stage job had. Get to an event, set it up in a short time, and execute something the fans would enjoy. We always had to look ahead for items that would cause a “hic-up” or impose a problem.
The basics I learned during my internship have proven true in my career at JHE. As the Senior Production Coordinator/Concert Producer, I have to remember to always be a step ahead, envision problems (and solutions) that could arise and be willing to be flexible. When I came to work at JHE, there were only a few live entertainment events on a large scale. I used the knowledge I had gained, along with time and dedication to prove I could successfully run big events like Food Lion Speed Street.
Over the years, I have used my knowledge and passion to continue to grow the department, enabling us to tackle any event thrown our way. JHE’s potential for further growth is exciting, and I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.