I arrived at radio school fully expecting to be in a class with a bunch of young kids. What I found instead was a group of people around my age. They all had similar stories about having wanted to get into radio years earlier.
Our teacher was long-time Montreal media personality Robert Vairo. Vairo is a man whose knowledge of the radio industry in Canada is unquestionable. He can be a bit harsh in his critiquing, so if you are not used to being judged, it's best to develop a thick skin beforehand.
I was shocked to hear a recording of my voice for the first time. At that point, I'd probably have been the first person to shut the radio off had I heard myself on it. I spent most of the course working to improve my on-air presentation. The hardest thing was having to re-do recordings, over and over and over again. You don't usually have that luxury in the real world of live radio - maybe that's a good thing!
I was working the graveyard shift while I was taking the course, and I had to be at work by 10 o'clock. I went through about a half a dozen classes without having gotten any sleep the day/night before. I wouldn't recommend anyone attempt that, but the funny thing is, I felt less inhibited on those days than when I had gotten 8 hours of sleep.
The ultimate goal was to put together a 2 minute demo "tape" of our best stuff. Basically, you work 6 months for 2 minutes that might get your foot in the door of a radio station. Some people were lucky enough to get internships at local stations - some even got to do more than just make coffee.
I was so relieved to have arrived at the finish line in once piece. Still, I had finally taken the first step toward pursuing a career in radio. I wish I had done it 10 years earlier, but at least I did it. I knew going in that it would be tough and I had no idea what to do next. I was ready to put my training into practice.