The audio production field is a big industry that gets very little credit. 

Many people don’t realize how much work goes into radio shows, podcasting, mixing, music, etc. OCCC Professor David Zeoli has worked in the audio industry for many years. 

“The interesting thing was that I kinda backed into it. By that I mean I started off as a musician, played guitar and keyboard in a couple of bands and really enjoyed it,” Prof. Zeoli told the Pioneer. 

After playing in multiple bands during college, Zeoli and his frontman decided to stay in music, but on the production side. Together, they started a sound recording studio in Michigan. 

“We never really had any chance to quote, unquote ‘make it.’ We decided pretty early on that me and the frontman of the band that we wanted to stay in music if we could or at least that side of media and production. So we pulled our resources and decided to build a sound recording studio – which was crazy because we were both 21 years old and had very little experience,” he said.  

Gaining experience in the audio profession can be difficult.

“One day you might be able to be the writer, the director, the next day you might be the person getting the coffee, but just keep working, keep at it. Have your high aspirations, but don’t be prideful. Make sure you’re doing something on your own. Just like the best editors were once shooters. The best producers or engineers are people who are musicians themselves in some way or another,” Zeoli said.  

Zeoli said always keep an open mind and to have “five business cards.” 

If one were to look for entry level jobs, Zeoli recommends starting with a radio show or even looking at ad agencies.

“I would actually look at ad agencies. A lot of ads are produced for the radio and audio only. The idea would be to look at the commercial side of things and what I call digital entrepreneurialism, which is the idea of some creating their own work,” he said. 

The advice Zeoli gives to upcoming audio workers is “to make sure you’re taking every possibility to look for all these jobs because it may not be what you want to do, to create, and you may want to work in a sound recording studio – it could be the other way around – but don’t narrow yourself into this one silo you want to do. Especially today because the work is so much more diverse today. People are asked to do a lot of different things. So try to keep an open mind.” 

OCCC audio student Imelda Aldava has taken the audio production class with Prof. Zeoli. Before the audio class, Aldava said she would never have pursued a career in audio.

“I did enjoy the audio production and I do like that side of it, so maybe in the future,” Aldava said after the long semester. 

Aldava said the most important thing she has learned is to edit. 

“You can do anything with an edit. You have the power to tell whatever story you want,” she said. 

OCCC audio student Imelda Aldava. Photo by Peyton Ferguson.
Broadcasting Prof. Dr. David Zeoli. Photo by Peyton Ferguson.

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