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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Matt Vettese: Punk Passion, Radio & Other Relatable EMO Content

Updated: Apr 9

Matt Vettese's career journey in radio has lasted 13 years... so far.



He was caught up in layoffs last November when he was an unexpected budget cut at Big 101.1 in Barrie, Ontario. Over his time in radio, he worked in places like Peace River, Alberta and Thunder Bay, Ontario, and what he learned was the importance of connecting with listeners regardless of station size. We also spoke about the strength of social media a in a medium and smaller size market, where you are literally the only media game in town.

We also geeked out a bit about music, podcast and his studio set up - which is very cool!


Matt is currently teaching radio skills at Mohawk College while remaining open to new career opportunities.


 

TRANSCRIPTION:


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  00:02

The Sound off podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.


Matt Cundill  00:13

Matt Vettese as been in radio for over a decade. In no particular order, he's worked for coarse Acadia Broadcasting Blackburn radio and is now teaching at Mohawk College along with the awesome Sam Cooke. Most recently, he was doing afternoon drive and Barry at big one on one and is kind enough to join me on the show today. My thanks by the way to Will Nash for sending me the connection email to get us together. And now Matt Vettese joins me from the very Canadian sounding maple Ontario.


Matt Vettese  00:44

I've been in radio for 13 years now been, it's been a wild ride, I can't believe that it's been over a decade.


Matt Cundill  00:51

Why do you want to get into radio?


Matt Vettese  00:52

I always loved music and like I played in a band in high school. And I always wanted to do something that really involved music in some sort of capacity. And when I was sort of graduating high school, figuring out what I wanted to do with my career and like, okay, you know, you do the typical thing that everyone says like, go to school, get a job, all of that. And I was like, I just knew I didn't want to do like an accounting job or anything boring like that I wanted to work with music in some capacity. And I just sort of knew that, you know, playing in a band, especially in a punk band, it just the odds weren't in my favor. And so I was looking at all the courses and programs and I saw radio, and I just thought, you know, like I love from when I was 12 years old, I'd loved sitting there at night and listen to the radio and listening to my favorite songs and just like, oh, wait, you can actually do that. Like, this is actually a career option. I can go to school, learn this and do it. So I went to I went to Humber. And as that program sort of went on within radio, the more and more I fell in love with it. And you know, like connecting with people and connecting with people over music. So my loves sort of grew from there. And then just Yeah, I just really fell deep for it. And it was like, I want to dedicate my life to this.


Matt Cundill  02:14

For the people who are watching this on video, it seems like a fairly obvious answer, because behind you, you've got some vinyl. And for those on audio, you would not know that so that it would feel like a very natural conversation. But tell me, what do you like to listen to for music?


Matt Vettese  02:30

Well, like I sort of grew up listening to heavier music, and there was just like a weird pipeline, right? Like at 12 years old, I think I discovered Metallica. And I was like, Ooh, this is like, heavy. And this is cool, right? And then I found nirvana. And I was like, wait, you can put that much raw emotion into a song. And that kind of led me down my punk journey, and a lot more into like emo music as well. And so now for me, I just love any type of music that has that raw emotion in it. And whether they're happier songs, sad songs, it's just like anything that really has that raw emotion is what gives me goosebumps and makes me you know, just drawn towards the band and the music. If you look behind me, I mean it's sort of a variety of stuff. I don't know if you can fully see all of them but I mean, like I've got rancid back there for more of like the punk stuff have got some modern baseball for more of the emo stuff. I got the Pixies up there got city and color The Wonder Years so it's just kind of all that like pop punk, Emo, punk type of music and you know, it's that type of stuff that really makes me excited.


Matt Cundill  03:40

You're bad religion guy?


Matt Vettese  03:42

Yeah, yeah, I saw Bad Religion a few times back in high school as well.


Matt Cundill  03:46

Explain bad religion to me, because, you know, in the 90s I understood the appeal. I watched them sell out. wasn't a big venue, but they still sold out in in Edmonton. I used to get a lot of letters as music director of that stations like, well, you play all this hard rock like Metallica and Godsmack. How come there's no room for punk? And I believe in the research punk music just never researched very well. So you know, bands like rancid and bad religion. We didn't often find a place for them on the radio station. I think I might have squeezed in a bad religion tune here and there just to appease the fans. But why doesn't punk work on rock radio? Or why does it feel like there's not a big home for punk music on radio?


Matt Vettese  04:27

I think because the whole genre of punk is very built on the DIY scene. And a lot of punk bands are sort of anti capitalist, they're anti mainstream. So there's a push back. And so I feel like punk bands almost want to make their sound in a way where it doesn't fit with radio and that corporate mold and I mean, like there's different types of bands for everything. And there are bands that sort of fit that mainstream effect. We've seen bands in The 2000s especially sort of fit that like the my chemical romance with the Black Parade, and I mean, even AFI, who were more of a punk band starting off and you know, seeing songs like Miss murder, and girls not gray hit much music and hit alternative radio, those sort of fit, but there was that sort of mainstream and commercial appeal, and they've sort of evolved, but you're never going to hear an old AFI song on the radio because it was more thrash punk. And it was more well, fashion. Punk isn't the right you know, type of genre for that type of music. Bu t you know, it just the anti mainstream in the sound and the vibe of the actual genre. It was built not to be on the radio, if that makes sense.


Matt Cundill  05:44

I loved AFI Miss murder, I thought that was a great song. And you know, some of those bands that you mentioned, like in the 2000s, there was a bit of a hole for more punk music to make appearances on the radio, and you put this right on your Instagram, it says I like sad songs that sound happy. And that sort of describes the whole emo thing and you embrace it, and it's who you are. But I was adding songs as program director on a rock station, I didn't really understand too much about my chemical romance and bands like that. 


Matt Vettese  06:12

Yeah, but see, the thing is like bands like that they have, you know, with my chemical romance, you have albums, like three cheers, where the songs had some mainstream appeal, but then the Black Parade comes out. And all of a sudden, it's like the anthem of a generation. But that's because that was sort of the point in time where my chemical romance really embraced like the mainstream side of it. And that was like their, like rock, opera ballad type of album, right? Where that really blew them up. And now that's also why when you think back to 2000s, email, you think, to My Chemical Romance, because they put out that one album that had that massive mainstream appeal, but a lot of the other bands like rancid or bad religion, going back to what you were saying earlier, like they're from that like, DIY punk scene, and like the songs that they were writing weren't for that mainstream commercia l success.


Matt Cundill  07:03

What was your gateway radio station into music? What did you listen to on the radio, if you even did, because I know you had an iPod. So maybe you spent more time on an iPod.


Matt Vettese  07:13

It was a mix of both right? Like, that's why I got into radio, I feel like I was one of that I was like, smack dab in the middle of that generation between radio and iPod. And I would spend my nights listening to the Ongoing History of New Music with Alan Cross. Right, like that was it and then, you know, the edge also had a bunch of punk and metal shows that were going on late at night when I was a kid. And I would you know, get home from school and go into my basement, we had an unfinished basement. And I would like practice skateboard tricks while listening to one or 2.1 the edge.


Matt Cundill  07:44

Your first radio experience?


Matt Vettese  07:47

So my first real experience in a professional radio station was an intern experience. And it was actually with cash condors at kiss 92 Back in 2010, that only lasted a few months, because then they went through some changes over there. And they got rid of the interns because they just you know, couldn't manage it with all the changes that were happening in the station at that time. But I mean, like, that was just my first real experience in a professional station working with someone like cash Connors, who was a professional, he was always awesome with me. And that was my first real taste of real professional radio, right? You know, he'd be like, I have all these artists coming up. This is when I'm talking like look up some artists news and and I was almost like a little bit of a content producer there as this is probably like 18 at the time, does the 18 year old and a radio station sit in there like looking up stuff, answering phones and like taking requests from people when you know, the phone lines were just constant at that time as well. That like that was my first real experience working with a professional radio station.


Matt Cundill  08:54

And at one point you did move out West.


Matt Vettese  08:56

Yeah, so my career kind of goes, had that internship for a couple of months. That ends I go back to school, I still had a year left in school. And then towards the end of my final year, this lovely man named Scott guest speaks in one of our classes. And after that class, I went to him like hey, look, you know, I'm looking for internship or board up opportunities, like entry level gigs. And he had told me that, you know, we have a an internship program coming up for the summer. He's going to be hiring for that soon and shoot him an email and now he was the APD at am 640 at the time. And so I shot him an email, I did my internship with him when My internship was over, I volunteered until the board up position came up board up there for a couple of years. And when I realized that, you know, that entry level position wasn't going to result in anything on air within the Greater Toronto Area. I'm like, You know what, I really want to be on air. I know, I know. I'm gonna have to pack up and move out last something that we were told in school The time right like pack up, move out last. And so I finally you know, did it went out to Peace River Alberta I worked at a country radio station doing middays out there. And that was my first real experience of being actually on air. And man when I tell you that I was so out of my comfort zone because now I'm in another part of Canada, that you know, I just, it was also new to me, I'm working on a country radio station have never listened to country music in my life before then. And looking back I made so many awesome friends such an amazing experience. I recommend any new person to the industry to sort of move out West and get that experience. It was just like the coolest thing. And then from there,  I sort of moved to Thunder Bay. I did some stuff in Thunder Bay and then worked my way back down into southern Ontario was working in Wingham for a while and Barry and yeah, that's sort of the story my career.


Matt Cundill  10:57

Give me the country artists whose name you mispronounced in Peace River.


Matt Vettese  11:01

Oh, whose name I mispronounced I don't know. Because here's the thing. I get the Peace River and and I was very upfront with the PDE. Like, hey, look like I know I'm joining a country radio station. I just really want to do radio. I don't know much about the genre I'm going to learn. And so the second I got there, we went into the studio, and he went through the full log in media touch. And it was like, Alright, how do you pronounce this person? And I would say it and I got majority of them wrong. And he would correct me. So at least this way, when I went on air, I was saying their names, right. And if I had an artist that I didn't know how to pronounce, I would run to his office or to someone else's office and be like, how do i pronounce this person's name?


Matt Cundill  11:42

Tell me about Thunder Bay. Just because I when I think of Thunder Bay, I think of a very competitive radio market to companies. I think there's about six, seven stations in there. Maybe even more, but there's nothing around. It's a big market, but also remote.


Matt Vettese  12:01

Yeah, it Thunder Bay is like the largest city in Northwestern Ontario. And that sort of the hub for all of those smaller communities. And working in Thunder Bay was honestly, I have so many amazing things to say about Thunder Bay, honestly, like I part of me left my heart in Thunder Bay. I love that city. I love the people there. It was just the coolest experience. And you know, if I didn't have friends and family over here that I was working towards getting back here, I'd probably still be in Thunder Bay. Like there's just so many amazing things to say about that city. I mean, I was even DJing people's weddings on the side. When I left. friends were telling me you know, listeners are asking where you went. And yeah, I really did leave a part of my my heart in Thunder Bay, so many amazing things to say about that place.


Matt Cundill  12:53

And in terms of competitive market, there are two companies that I guess really go at each other.


Matt Vettese  12:58

And yeah, I think it's Dougal and Acadia broadcasting, which were the big two up there. And then I think they have CBC as well. But CBC really wasn't a focus in terms of that competitiveness. But it's competitive. Like those two companies, at least when I was there, we're really gunning for each other all of the time.


Matt Cundill  13:18

Then you move to Wiggum, getting a little closer to home a little closer to home.


Matt Vettese  13:22

Now I'm within a two hour drive of home, which was nice, and you know, being able to go home on the weekends and family events and all of that and not having to hop on a flight. So that was really exciting. And Wingham, I worked for Blackburn out there. And that was another great experience. Because I think I'm one of those people. It's very fortunate that I've worked with so many great people in this industry. I feel like as this industry gets smaller, the people just get better, as weird as that sounds, but it's just like people that are in the industry genuinely want to be there. They are super friendly. And the industry has a way of weeding out a lot of the people that don't belong there don't want truly want to be there. And a lot of those big egos, right, like a lot of those big egos really aren't in radio anymore, because radio isn't the same as it was back in the 80s and 90s. When we saw a lot of those big egos that were kind of running things. I don't actually know what it was like, because I wasn't around back then. But from the stories I've heard, you know, and from my experiences, everybody in radio has been so kind to me and so wonderful. And especially in a market like Wingham where it's a bit of a smaller market, and a lot of the people that are there and have been there for a long time are there because, you know, they've raised their families there, or they're from there, and they, you know, they want to give back to the community and they want to put together like, good community radio, and it's just It's great working with people like that.


Matt Cundill  14:49

I think that's one of the problems we have in Canadian radio. And that's in big markets. We look at scale size, the numbers and you know, There's a lot of distractions in a place like Toronto. However, in Wiggum in Kamloops Peace River Flin, Flon Thompson Kentville. Nova Scotia, radio still matters, not quite as much, but almost as much as back in the 90s. And I think that's where if the decisions are coming out of Toronto, you're just looking at numbers. And we're not really looking at what makes radio great, which is that high touch that you were just talking about.


Matt Vettese  15:29

Right?  Like radio is such an important medium. And audio is such an important medium, that when you put it in to the hands of people that don't truly understand that they're going to take it for granted, and things are going to happen. But when people truly understand how important radio is to its communities, and when people start prioritizing that, that's when you really see radio thrive.


Matt Cundill  15:54

You found yourself in Barry, and working at the core station in buried big 101. But also that's in close proximity to a lot of the other other legendary stations that you grew up around, including including the edge you were a part of all those stations I mentioned. I think like the ones in the core stations in Hamilton and the edge. How did you see doing a show and Barry but also having to do it in a in bigger markets as well.


Matt Vettese  16:19

So the cool thing was about Barry is not a lot of people also realize how big of a radio market various it's super competitive. And Barry is one of those communities where they really care about the community as well. And I think a lot of that gets lost, we're because it's just about an hour drive into into Toronto. So a lot of people kind of think, okay, Barry to Toronto, right. But it's one of those communities that genuinely cares about the community and it is its own entity that sort of sometimes gets lost. So working in a community like Barry, you just really have to get back to that, you know, that community feel working within a market like that, especially when you have such a giant next door, it kind of feels like being Canadian living next to America, you just need to be able to really connect with the community. But in terms of like doing the work within Toronto and Hamilton out of Barrie, I mean, when I was doing that, it was all voice trackwork. So you know, I knew that my voice is going to be heard on Toronto radio, I knew my voice was going to be heard on Hamilton radio. And that was really exciting, because for me, it was like I grew up listening to these radio stations. So now I get to have my voice on the stations, even if it's on a voice track type of scale, it's still cool to be able to drive around and hear my voice on the stations that I grew up listening to. So that was just a really cool experience. And I feel like when you're in the studio, whether you're in a big market or a small market, I just kind of think of how do I connect with the people that I'm talking to and the demographic of that radio station. And I don't ever really think of the size of the radio station. Like to me, that's not important to me, at the end of the day, you know, we are taught this in school, you're talking to one person. So it's like whether I'm talking on a st ation in Toronto that has, you know, the reach of millions of people or on a station in Peace River, which is much smaller. At the end of the day, I'm talking and connecting to that one person.


Matt Cundill  18:24

That's such a great way to think about it. And yes, that's going to be the clip I'm going to put out. When I get around to doing the reels and some of the other, you know, social content afterwards. I sometimes think that we think about the business so often that you wind up where you have to talk to the diary holders and bury, but the PPM carriers in Toronto, and that's a mistake, but yet we make the mistake every day because stations are programmed, and at least should be programmed, I think differently between Toronto and you know, where there's a PPM measurement, and in Hamilton where there isn't, but in the end, I think you're right, we should be just talking to people.


Matt Vettese  19:05

I think the best that we can do in radio or in any creative industry is to just sort of constantly do your best and grow within yourself and look at yourself not so much about what the competition's doing, or what the market down the street is doing. Think about what am I doing to make myself better? And what are we doing to make the station better? And overall, if you just basically focus on yourself, eventually the listener is going to realize like oh, hey, they're actually doing great things over there. And that is going to result in the ratings push whether it's ppm or diary, right like you just got to look at yourself and do better yourself and grow yourself and the results will eventually come. But if you're so worried about chasing that number, even if you catch that number for like one quick glimpse, it's gone in an instant because you didn't sustainable We build that foundation.


Matt Cundill  20:02

Another smart thing you just said, and that's about the competition, you're not worried about what else is on the dial, you're turning on the microphone, you're doing a break, what are you up against?


Matt Vettese  20:11

I'm not even thinking about what I'm up against to be completely honest, you know, because I can't control what they're doing over there. Like, there's absolutely no control over what they're doing. I just want to do the best that I can do, and hope that the listener or my audience feels that it is better than what the competition is doing.


Matt Cundill  20:31

So I liked that answer. I accept that answer. I also would have accepted that you're up against all the shit people got to do in a day.


Matt Vettese  20:38

That too, yes, because it's true, right? Like you're trying to break their attention or their schedule. The thing is about radio, too, is that a lot of the times, like you said, they're doing a lot throughout the day. And a lot of the times people aren't listening to the radio, that may be US radio, people are listening. They have it at maybe volume five, and a little bit of a song is down there. And it's like, how do you break through all of that noise of the guy that just cut them off? Or you know, the phone call that they're getting? How do you break through or even the conversation they're having in the car with their friend, to break through that? That is a whole other challenge. It's same thing with radio as it is with social media, right? Like you have so many seconds to sort of catch their attention and get them to either stay with your video or to turn up the radio and hear what you're saying that there just are so many things that you're competing with in radio.


Matt Cundill  21:31

And you're right, though you shouldn't worry about it, especially two seconds before you're about to go on the air.


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Matt Cundill  22:09

What are the things that you've done? I think really well. And you, I need you to speak to this because I know we have an older audience, or at least a portion of the older audience who kind of struggle with keeping social media skills and other but you're listening, you're millennial, you're not afraid of any of this stuff. Yeah, the iPod threw that away, you probably were first in line to get an iPhone. I mean, you're using great video content. So what are some of the things that you have done to stay on top of all the changes technologically to continue to make yourself viable and radio?


Matt Vettese  22:43

You know, I had this conversation yesterday with someone about, you know, if you played in a band, it was always the person who set up the MySpace account and printed out the band flyers and did all of those things that ended up in a creative industry, it's just because it comes down to like the passion and the love for creating media, like when I'm creating social media, I'm thinking of it the same way that I'm thinking of creating content on the radio, to me, doing a radio break is the same thing as putting together an Instagram reel, I'm using the same formula, right? Hooking their attention, give them a good compelling story, and give them a payoff. That's the same thing with a radio break, you hook them in, you tell them a story, and you engage with them. And that's sort of what I feel like I'm doing on social media. It's just it's not a new formula. But in terms of like you said, like, staying up with the tech, I am a millennial, you know, I was on MySpace at 12 years old, and like, talking to bands and coding my page. And then MySpace moved into Facebook, and you know, interacting with friends and doing all of that on Facebook and Instagram and all that. Like when I went to Peace River, I set up their Instagram account, I really pushed the Facebook page hard because when I got there, they were like, Oh, this is in a Facebook town. And I was like, oh, yeah, I bet. And so I started posting on this out on the Facebook page and like, it ended up growing, we got interaction. That's just the type of person that I am. I love keeping up with tech. I love keeping up with with social media. And it's really not hard if you break it down to being the exact same thing that we do on air every single day.


Matt Cundill  24:26

So well said and spoken I had trouble trying to decipher how to go from doing a live break to the next technological stuff, which was a voice track break. I found that to be weird. But you're exactly right. It's the same sort of components. You just have to remove time temperature weather, that sort of thing and put yourself a day or two ahead. I get it.


Matt Vettese  24:49

Yeah, it's the same formula. It's just you do it in a different way. But at the end of the day, it comes down to the same thing like really break it down. I think the biggest channel ones that have heard from other people about, you know, my social media presence, while also doing radio was like, how do you find the time doing your show and doing social media at the same time, I feel like that's the biggest challenge that most radio people have. But it comes down to also like prep work and planning things. You know, it's like, if I know I'm talking about this on my show later, at two o'clock in the afternoon, and I prep my show at nine o'clock in the morning, I can go and film that video at 10 o'clock, edit it for 11. And then, you know, be on air too. When it comes to posting to Facebook, Facebook's easy, you copy and paste the link or you make a meme and you know, you throw it out there you throw up a question. Facebook is the easiest. So the people that aren't posting on Facebook during their show, I don't know what you're so busy with your two, three songs, you can quickly type out a sentence, post a question, throw it up there. The video, I do understand that that doesn't come as naturally to a lot of people. And that takes a lot more time and work and thought. But breaking it down. Like I said, it comes down to being the same thing as as a radio break.


Matt Cundill  26:05

So somebody wants to elevate their game. And I don't know who's left in radio, who is not fully participating in anything social at this point. But you know, maybe people need an upgrade. You'd be surprised. Yeah, well, I'm sorry, I asked that question. Because I then within 10 minutes from now, I'm going to find a radio station that is just figuring out how to do their Instagram page. But what are some of the tools of the trade right now that you think would be the minimum for somebody to really participate in going full full on social like, is it iPhone? Should they maybe look at a Samsung device? Is there? What what are some of the toys that you would look at? What can they have in their computer? What's a good webcam? What's, what are some of the things that you would be like, I gotta have this before I get to work?


Matt Vettese  26:50

Absolutely smartphone, I mean, most of my videos, if not all of them now are just shot with this. It's not even a fancy iPhone, either. It's a 13. It's just the regular one, it's not a pro, it's not. And I shoot with my front facing camera be so I can actually see myself. So make sure that you have a phone and tinker with your settings a little bit to make them higher quality. Like I know a lot of people tell me I'm crazy because I film in 4k 60 FPS on my phone. And that just absolutely sucks the life out of your hard drive, but filming better quality. And then I edit within cap cut cap cut is the one on the phone app that I would recommend. That's how a lot of people do the fancy captions and transitions and all of that cap cut is honestly the best free to use editing software for your phone. And just honestly, like, teach yourself learn, take that initiative. There are so many different accounts on Tik Tok on YouTube on Instagram that will show you how to edit videos and do cool effects and do captions and all of that it's just a matter of actually taking that initiative and wanting to do it.


Matt Cundill  27:59

I'm just writing down all those notes. Because there seems to be no such such good stuff.


Matt Vettese  28:05

Yeah, absolutely.


Matt Cundill  28:06

Why is it that you're so unafraid to try stuff. And I mean, when I mentioned that, as I like putting the camera at 4k Who's got space for that, like I could put my camera at 4k. I'm just tired of getting the iCloud, notice that I'm out of space.


Matt Vettese  28:20

I know I am too. But I'll go back and just sort of delete a bunch of the old that once my video is posted, or it's edited and saved down, I go back and delete everything but the final product. So that frees up all that space again, you just you just have to actually do it, which sometimes, you know, if you go through my camera roll, if you go through my camera roll, there's a lot of bad takes that I forgot to delete. And that's probably hoarding a bunch of storage. But every now and then I'll go and clean that all up. But yeah, storage is the biggest issue. But when it comes to actually creating the content, I mean, there's so many other free tools that you can use that like cap cut, that can just get you started, right. And then once you kind of get on a roll with things, then you go from there and you upgrade your equipment and you find the paid features that you can't live without. And you know, you just kind of go from there. But to actually get started, you really don't need more than an iPhone.


Matt Cundill  29:14

So your time at chorus came to an end you did four years it started before the pandemic. And you went right through the pandemic. And then you know, November 2023 I read at least that you are not going to be part of that anymore. I'll soon that was a business decision that was made. Yeah. Because I don't think you're short of any skills.


Matt Vettese  29:31

Well, I appreciate you saying that. But yeah, no, I started in 2019. I sort of took that leap from Wiggum. And I was doing afternoon drive and I was the music director over there but I really just wanted to make my way into a bigger market and once again get closer to home. So I reached out to mark Cameron who was the PD at the time, and I'm like, Hey, we've had a few conversations on Twitter about the Gaslight Anthem a band we both love and I'm like I want to get to Barry like that's a that's a goal of mine. And he reached out and was like, Hey, I actually am about to have a swing announcer position open up if you want to apply for it. So I applied for it. I'm like, You know what, why not, you know, I know, it's, it was part time, and it was weekends. And um, why would you know, you go from full time afternoons into part time weekends and do all that, but I just really wanted to take that leap into a larger market and to being closer from home. And I knew that I can move back in with my parents for a little bit while I was kind of getting settled in there. So it was like, I'm just gonna make this leap of faith and do it. And then I did it for about a year until I was like, Okay, I've been doing this for a year now I need to start figuring something out. And then I get the notice that, you know, Mark was going to be stepping off air as the afternoon drive announcer he was being promoted to regional PD. So they're gonna hire for an afternoon guy. And I'm like, okay, cool. This is my my way in. And then I did the interview went through the process and the pandemic hits. So now I'm like, filling in for the afternoon drive role throughout the course of the first, you know, few months of the pandemic, because obviously, they weren't going to, you know, hire me at such a time, March of 2020, they weren't going to hire me on and take on a new salary. So I just kind of grinded it out, did it throughout the pandemic. And then finally, when things started to ease in October, they gave me the full time contract for afternoon drive and music assistant. And I did that. And then at one point, I mean, I was the only announcer on that station at big one on one because our morning showed left, the PD had left, we had a VT midday show, and then it was just me live there the entire time. And when that kind of came to an end, it sort of took me by surprise, I was told that I was going to be the future of that station when they were reworking some things and changing the format. And then come November, it was just you know, hey, budget cuts company's not doing too well, we got to get rid of someone. And unfortunately, that's gonna be you and.


Matt Cundill  31:57

 If you were the only one in the station, is there anyone at the station now.


Matt Vettese  32:00

There is because they ended up moving someone from Toronto into another position. And then you know, there's just a whole bunch of changes that have kind of happened there since I've left. And you know, I'm not, I haven't really kept too much of an eye on what's happened since I've left I've really been focusing on you know, my future and where that's going to be and end up and really been grinding towards, you know, finding another radio gig and focusing and doubling down on my social media. I've had a few like paid brand deals. And you know, I've just really been looking forward rather than looking back. So I don't know much about the changes that are sort of happening or ongoing over there to be completely honest.


Matt Cundill  32:40

But you do know enough about radio to be teaching. Yes, you're a mohawk.


Matt Vettese  32:45

That was a really exciting change. And I honestly didn't think that I would love teaching as much as I honestly do. It was you know, one of those things where I got laid off needed a gig was put in touch with the program coordinator, Sam Cooke, at Mohawk. And she was like, hey, like, let me pass your stuff along to you know, my boss. And then all of a sudden, I'm in conversations and got hired the day that I talked to them, officially. And yeah, like I said, I really didn't expect to love teaching as much as I really do. And I think that's because I just have such great students. And like seeing those students and like the bright eyes and bushy tails that they have, and the love and passion that they have, like that's enough to really rejuvenate you and make you feel feel new again, and they genuinely want to learn and they're excited. And they're good at what they do. And yeah, I could go on about my students because they're honestly the best.


Matt Cundill  33:42

So you've already helped out older generation right now like Gen X people were maybe some older millennials who might not be fully immersed into the social or all the skills that it takes to do great content these days. But now here you are teaching Gen z's. I just find it funny because so many Gen X broadcasters have been banging on Millennials for a bunch of things. But here we are, we're speaking to a millennial who's now teaching the Gen z's. What's going on down there.


Matt Vettese  34:08

Okay. I have to say, I don't know what it is about the whole generation war. Millennials. I understand like, I don't understand why millennials ever got any hate to be completely honest. Because we were sort of that last generation without technology. We grew up with it. We were, you know, going through so much at such pivotal times were recessions coming out of school and having to work three jobs yet being called lazy because we couldn't make ends meet while working three jobs. You know, like we went through all of that. And the funny thing is, is when it comes to tech stuff, I feel like as a millennial, especially as one that's very tech savvy. I feel like as a millennial, I constantly had to teach the people older than me about tech. And then now with Gen Z. I feel like because they grew up in it, they're almost rejecting a lot of it and a lot lot of them don't know how to do a lot of basic stuff. So now it's like you're teaching Gen Z. And the younger generations who are supposed to know more than you, because typically younger people are better with technology. And so it's like, we're kind of caught in the middle where we're teaching the older and the younger about tech stuff.


Matt Cundill  35:15

What are they teaching you?


Matt Vettese  35:18

They are honestly teaching me that like, it's basically okay to just be who you are on a apologetically, which is something that I think we all sort of learn as we get older. But yeah, there was a part of me growing up that was like, Oh, I can never do this, or I can't do this, or I shouldn't do this. Because maybe it's cringy. Right. But as you get older, and then you see the younger generations, where they're kind of like, well, things are just so messed up. So why are we even going to care about that? Like, let's just have a good time. And like, you know, what, yeah, and the older I get, I don't care. Half of the stuff that I put out on social media, I feel sometimes like it's it's cringe, or, you know, I'll get comments like, this is cringy. But that doesn't bother me. Because you know what you get to that point where you're like, yeah, it is cringy. But like, just embrace it.


Matt Cundill  36:05

What excites them about radio?


Matt Vettese  36:06

I think they get excited about the same thing that we get excited about, right? It's about the music, it's about connecting with people like, that's the great thing about radio. And the medium is that you get to listen to music and connect with people. That's the basic standard of radio. And that hasn't changed. From the inception of radio to today, you see all the changes within the business, but like, take away the business. And the actual part of radio that everyone loves is the same then as it is now. It's connecting, and it's the music.


Matt Cundill  36:41

I never found that we were in a generational war. Although I do think that there's always questions being asked, especially about millennials, like what makes them tick? And how do we get the most out of them to work in previous work structures that we've had before? I think from the conversation we just had, I kind of feel that millennials have spent so much time customizing and, you know, whether it's an iPhone, whether it's their life, whether it's eventually became work from home, you know, customizing so many parts of life, that one of the big expenses from that generation is connectivity, and shared experiences, because there's so few. And I look at the Grammys a few weeks ago, where a lot of people did enjoy the music as it were because and music is very connective still. And perhaps I do think that Gen Z hungers for more connectivity and shared experiences.


Matt Vettese  37:32

I think the main difference between Millennials and Gen Z is that, you know, millennials are looking for connection in any way possible. I mean, we grew up on MSN we grew up on on Facebook, and all of these different avenues that were ways that we can connect to as many people that looked or felt the same way as us, right from the comfort of our own home. Whereas I feel like from what I'm seeing from Gen Z, it feels like because they've always sort of have that connectivity to the whole world. And they grew up with that. They want more of that like real connection. And they almost want what the Gen X had free technology. We're seeing trends with Gen Zers that are ditching their iPhone for flip phones, because they're just like, You know what, I'm just overly connected and I'm sick of it. Isn't that wonderful? It is in its own way. I can't imagine ever doing that. Now as a millennial. I don't think I could ever ditch the iPhone for a flip phone. But I mean, the flip phone was my first phone, you know, and that was cool. We're the millennials are 89 text warriors. I'm willing to bet I still could text on a t nine.


Matt Cundill  38:39

And by the way, for the I know what people are a t nine is basically where you click like, see, so you have to click the number two button one three times to get the two...


Matt Vettese  38:48

Three times. Yeah. See, I told the I still remember the mall?


Matt Cundill  38:53

Yeah, I didn't read is the ABC. Is that the one or the two? Yeah. Okay.


Matt Vettese  38:57

The one was voicemail, you'd hold down voicemail, and that was speed dial. And then two was ABC three was d f. And then it went down that way I used to work at Canadian Tire when I was a teenager, it was when I first like real retail jobs. And I would quickly like we weren't allowed to have our phones. But I'll quickly check my phone, put it into my pocket. And I would type up my reply with my hand in my pocket and send out the text message without even looking at the phone.


Matt Cundill  39:24

Well done. What do you want to happen next for you in life?


Matt Vettese  39:29

That's a tough question.


Matt Cundill  39:32

And career wise?


Matt Vettese  39:33

I honestly I don't know. I'm sort of at that point. I think that you know, with what happened in November, it just sort of it was like a rock in the in the train track. And now I'm just sort of at that point where I don't have a clear picture anymore, right? Because it just sort of derailed some things and some plans and I'm open to different things happening. And that's kind of freeing in its own way right? Where it's I don't know where I'm going to be in five years, but I'm open to basically every opportunity. And now I just kind of get to sit back and have fun and keep my options open and in five years look back and be like, Well, that was, you know, a fun wild ride. Who would have thought that I'd be here.


Matt Cundill  40:17

But thanks so much for doing this to be on the podcast. I appreciate it so much.


Matt Vettese  40:20

Thank you so much for having me on. This was so much fun.


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  40:23

The sound off podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski, edited by Chloe Emond-Lane social media by Aiden Glassey, another great creation from the sound off media company there's always more at sound off podcast.com



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