For a teenage music geek, a job in radio seems like a dream job. The perks are plentiful: free concert tickets, the chance to hear new music and the opportunity to meet famous musicians during in-studio sessions.
Ali Lozoff, marketing manager for Minnesota Public Radio and 89.3 the Current, grew up on a soundtrack of John Prine, Bob Dylan and the Band. As a teenager in the mid-'80s, she got "way into" punk rock, falling in love with bands such as the Clash, R.E.M. and Minor Threat.
"The only place to hear that stuff was on college stations and mix tapes we traded," she said. "I'm extremely romantic about radio. It's an intimate, powerful and very personal medium."
Like many who work in the music industry, Lozoff fell into her career path by being a music obsessive. An 18-year-old Lozoff persuaded some local bands that she'd make a good manager and booking agent, and she started working at Radio K before attending her first music class at the University of Minnesota. After stints at Walker Art Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota, she was pulled back into the music industry when the Current was launched in 2005.
Her daily responsibilities include overseeing marketing and community outreach for the Current, the Fitzgerald Theater (which MPR runs), national programs such as "On Being" and MPR's classical station. She also works on company-wide initiatives and projects, including the Hunger-Free Minnesota partnership; her team also handles branding, advertising and sponsorships.
Lozoff's typical workday is packed with meetings, many of which center around planning for upcoming events such as the annual Current-sponsored Rock the Garden and Rock the Cradle events, plus the popular "Wits" and "Talking Volumes" series at the Fitzgerald. But it's her and her co-workers' passion for music that makes it more than a typical office job.
"We have nerd-tastic music debates on a regular basis," she said. "I'm a combo public radio nerd slash musichead, and every now and then I kind of pinch myself when I realize I'm working alongside people I've been listening to on the radio for so many years."
She says she feels the most gratified by the community aspect of her job -- "I'm especially proud of Rock the Cradle and Rock the Garden, which have not only featured great music and artists, but have also been so meaningful to thousands and thousands of people."
"Except for the time I met [Clash guitarist] Mick Jones," she adds, letting her inner music geek out. "That was pretty cool, too."
Age: 42. Job: Marketing manager for Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media. Hire date: 2005. Education: B.A. in marketing and public relations, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Minnesota.