Hempfield native gets Howard Stern's help to break into talk radio
Run-of-the-mill radio reporting just isn't Dante Vallozzi's style.
Vallozzi — Hempfield native and aspiring disc jockey — is getting a shot in the field with help from radio shock-jock Howard Stern and Sirius Satellite Radio.
"The radio work I feel I'm good at has always been personality-driven," said Vallozzi, 25, who lives in New York City.
Vallozzi graduated from New York University in 2007 with a degree in business communications and landed his first on-air job last summer on the morning news at WWNC-570 AM in Asheville, N.C., reporting "city council, county commissioner events and anchoring the local news," he said.
A month into the job, Vallozzi's supervisors told him his penchant for sliding humorous personal slants into his on-air reports did not suit the station's style.
"Technologically, it was a great experience, and I can't say enough good things personally about the people I met ... but it just didn't work out."
Jerri Jameson, WWNC-570 AM news director, agreed.
"News was probably a bit constraining for him ... he's a talented kid, he should have some future in the talk radio arena," Jameson said.
That became evident late last year when Vallozzi — who interned for Stern's operation his last semester in college — entered the Sirius "I Want to Be Howard Stern" radio contest and was chosen the winner by a group that included Stern himself.
Vallozzi was driving home to Greensburg last fall when he heard an advertisement for the contest. A few days later, he made a three-minute demo recording and mailed it to New York.
A few weeks later, Vallozzi was in the car again when he heard Stern featuring the demo on his show as one of three finalists.
"He was laughing at my stuff. That was just wild," Vallozzi said.
In November, Vallozzi did an hour show on Stern's Sirius show "Howard 101," in which unique, up-and-coming talents are featured. By December, Stern and his staff voted Vallozzi the winner.
Vallozzi won $5,000, two on-air interviews with Stern and a chance to perform for another hour on the "Howard 101" channel. But he got something much more valuable from Stern.
"He (Stern) ended up calling me on my cell phone personally just to tell me I am really good at this, and that I have a future in it and I am doing the right thing with my life."
Vallozzi discusses subject matter twice a week with Tim Sabean, program director for Howard Stern Channels on Sirius and is slated for additional paid spots on "Howard 101."
"Dante is intelligent, well-prepared and able to speak comfortably about the topics of the day," Sabean said. "We plan to have him on for specials from when he has a topic to work with. Call him a young Howard Stern in training."
As he awaits his big break, Vallozzi said he keeps his delivery fresh by recording daily podcasts from his laptop.
He stays abreast of current issues that could make for talk fodder like the bank bailouts, President Obama's first 100 days in office, or the possibility of General Motors or Chrysler going bankrupt.
"What they want from me is sharp humor as it relates to those kinds of topics. It's just a question of building an audience, building a brand," Vallozzi said. "It's just a question of how the audience responds to me that will determine where I go."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hempfield woman donates music inspired by WWI ‘doughnut girls’
- Facelift approved for historic La Rose building in Greensburg
- Jewish congregations dwindling, forced to mull viability of worship sites
- Former Jeannette coach held for trial on charges of assault on teen girls
- Hempfield woman seriously injured in crash
- Independence Day events for Westmoreland County
- State Supreme Court rejects latest Foxley Farm appeal in Ligonier Township dispute
- Fired secretary files complaint against Greensburg police chief
- $500K federal grant to pay for brownfield evaluation in Westmoreland County
- Purple Heart recipient Krinock to lead July Fourth parade in Latrobe