Steve Solomon is a JDS alum (class of '94) who has spent his career working in sports talk radio. He is currently running for Montgomery County Council - At Large.
I spent 13 years at JDS from kindergarten through 12th grade. Like many students, I didn't realize at the time how much it would prepare me for the rest of my life.
Growing up I had an interest in radio. I'd listen to The Greaseman and Howard Stern, and thought to myself "I'd love to do that one day, to be on the radio and entertain people". But I thought of it more as a dream. I went through JDS, then on to the University of Maryland where I studied economics, and figured I'd have a career in accounting or finance.
JDS prepared me very well for college. The homework and tough courses feel like a lot at the time, but once you get to college, you're not overwhelmed. JDS taught me to work hard, to make smart decisions, and to try to do a little bit of good in this world.
I was lucky to find a job out of college in radio right here in Maryland. Most people have to start in smaller markets and work their way up in radio, but I was hired to work part time at Sportstalk 980 WTEM. I was a board op. Mainly I'd play commercials during shows or games. I quickly learned that in the "real world" it's all about working hard. Just like at JDS, if you listen, study, and work hard, you'll be OK in school and in life. In radio, the best "ability" is "avail-ability". If you work hard and are reliable, you'll stick around. If you don't, you won't stick around.
After a few years, I moved my way up to being a producer at the radio station, and eventually became a full time employee working on a live show. I was lucky to work with two great hosts, Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, who I got along with very well, and both appreciated my hard work. They believed in me, and let me on the air with them. I guess some people liked me, because as the years went by, I got on the air more and more.
17 years later, I'm still there. Producing and being a sidekick on Steve Czaban's afternoon show, as well as producing and co-hosting a national morning show on SB Nation Radio. I love my job. I get to talk and joke with friends about sports and life every day on the radio. What could be better!
Another interest of mine has always been government. Not the national stuff we see on CNN or Fox News, but local government, because they actually get things done. No rhetoric, no spin, no politicking, just doing good for our community. I always believed in Tikkun Olam, and my way of doing that has been giving to charity, and volunteering with a dog rescue helping rescue dogs find their forever homes.
I've done many things in radio: produce, host, engineer, do commercials. One show I produced early in my career was a Public Affairs show. Each Sunday morning we'd talk to doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, local government officials - helping our listeners with some good free advice and information. This allowed me to meet a couple of Montgomery County Councilmembers. I became interested in the County Council. I learned that they do so much for the community, and thought that might be something I'd like to do one day.
In 2016, Montgomery County enacted term limits for the council so 4 of the 9 members have to leave. I figured, this is my best chance to break out of the radio world and into local government. I'm 42, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it!
So I decided to throw my hat in the ring and run for Montgomery County Council - At Large. As a lifelong resident of Montgomery County, I hope that my common sense ideas connect to the residents who want the same things that I want – less traffic congestion, more support of our libraries, trying to solve our deer problem, and supporting our firefighters and paramedics.
I am new at this campaigning thing. I've met a lot of wonderful Montgomery County residents from knocking on doors and attending events. There's even a fellow JDS alum running in a different district! And another candidate works at the same law firm as another JDS alum from my class of '94.
Like I learned at JDS, I just want to give back and help the community that I've been a part of my whole life.