In this week’s Fellow Spotlight, we are checking in with Max Kurek. He fills us in on what he enjoys most about living in the city, and his host company, CBS Radio Detroit.
Max, tell us about your move to Detroit?
I was working at a summer camp in northern Michigan when I found out I was selected to be a Challenge Detroit fellow. On one of my days off, I drove four-hours down to the city to spend the day apartment hunting. I looked at places all over the city: Downtown, Midtown, New Center, University District, and ended up signing a lease for the very first apartment I looked at that day in Lafayette Park. I absolutely love where I live! It is an easy walk to anywhere downtown and I’m also right next to the highway, so getting around is incredibly easy. I definitely plan on staying put after Challenge Detroit.
What do you enjoy most about living in Detroit?
It is really hard to pick just one thing, so I’ll go with something that applies to a lot of things in the city: diversity. Detroit never gets boring and I think that’s due in large part to just how diverse so many different aspects of life are here. Culturally this is a very diverse city, with museums, cuisine, and events that highlight a wide array of history, traditions and customs. The geographical landscape is also incredibly diverse. Neighborhoods all seem to have unique identities that, combined, make it so that there is something new around every corner of the city. Finally, the residents of Detroit are an amazingly diverse bunch. The perspective I have gained from interacting both socially and professionally with my new neighbors and colleagues has been one of the most significant benefits of Challenge Detroit that I have experienced so far. The beauty of all of it is that I still have so many more neighborhoods to discover and people to meet. Like I said, things don’t really ever get boring in Detroit!
Tell us about your host company, and what you do?
My host company is CBS Radio Detroit. CBS Radio owns six different stations in the Detroit market, all housed at our offices in Southfield. Specifically, I work for 99.5 WYCD as a Sales Associate. WYCD is Detroit’s new country music leader and is consistently the top rated station in the entire Detroit market. Our signature event, the Downtown Hoedown, which takes place every summer outside of Comerica Park in Detroit, is one of the biggest country music festivals of its kind. As a Sales Associate, I ssist our sales team with selling on-air, digital and event-based advertising to our clients. We work with all sorts of clients, big and small, both locally and nationally, with the simple goal of helping them grow their business and reach new customers. This is the first time I have worked in either sales or radio, so I am learning new things every day and am lucky to work with colleagues who are willing and eager to help me grow professionally in both areas.
What is an interesting project you are working on at CBS Radio?
A big part of what I do at CBS is market research. Qualitative data about consumer behavior and interests in the local market can be a huge asset for Account Executives as they try to sign new business or grow business with existing clients. When they are going out to meet with a client for the first time they might ask me to pull qualitative data about our listeners as it relates to whatever industry the potential client is in. For example, if a seller is calling on a sporting goods store, they might ask me to pull qualitative data related to the types of sports our listeners play and their history of purchasing sporting goods. I’ve learned a ton about consumer behavior in the metro Detroit area.
What makes working at CBS Radio unique?
One of the most intriguing things about working in radio sales is that literally anyone is a potential client. If they have a brand to build, a product to sell, or a service to promote, CBS can help them do that. What does it mean for sellers? They have to have a wide range of knowledge about a variety of industries and businesses. There is such huge potential for growing both your personal and professional network in this industry.
Also, how cool is it that on-air talent is broadcasting live on the radio just 20-feet from my desk!?! In just one building there are six different stations broadcasting live at the same time. From news to music to sports, CBS Detroit offers listeners a variety of station formats and offers advertisers multiple outlets for reaching the specific customers and demographics they desire. And that’s without mentioning the multitude of other assets CBS Detroit can offer clients, most notably digital and event-based marketing solutions.
What is your favorite part of the Challenges?
It has to be just the incredible variety of non-profit organizations we get to work with, even when they aren’t the direct challenge partner. For example, during our challenge with Coalition on Temporary Shelter I had the opportunity to interview organizations like Rebel Nell and Humble Designs about their work with COTS, despite the fact that these groups were not the main challenge partner at the time. I have grown a larger personal network in Detroit than I could have anticipated, and I think that challenge days have played a big role in this. My next goal is to try and utilize this network that Challenge Detroit has helped me build to find job and volunteer opportunities after the program ends.
What are you most looking forward to in Detroit?
I’m just excited to see how Detroit will look in one=year, five-years, 10-years. I’m especially curious to see how “new Detroit” and its influx of young professionals and new small businesses blends with the everlasting history and culture that has persevered throughout Detroit’s existence. I think there is a legitimate conversation to be had around the changing landscape in the city and the impact it could potentially have when it comes to staying true to the history, culture and long-time residents of Detroit. That said, there are so many exciting things going on every day in this city and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of Detroit’s rebirth, both in the short and long term. Above all, the most important thing I’ve learned in my time as a Challenge Detroit fellow is that Detroit really is where my future lies, and I am incredibly excited to watch that future play out!
Check out Max’s personal blog here, and his spotlight video.