To the executives who didn’t see my talent, this is what happened

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To: The executives who didn't see my talent

From: Alex "Big Lip" Chisholm

Charity: Miami Foundation

Sponsor: Garren Bryant is givng 25 dollars in to the Miami Foundation in honor of the first 25 shares of this story

To the executives who didn’t see my talent,

Mama would always say, “You are never  going to go up until you hit rock bottom because when you hit rock bottom there is nowhere else to go but up.”

Well, thanks partly to you, I hit rock bottom. But I didn’t stay there.

My dream to be on the radio started when I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, long before I met any of you.  Like most parents, my mom wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer but I always loved music. I have always been a DJ at heart, so I was determined to make it.

Alex in Philadelphia in 1994.

In fact, I had no plan B because if I did, I wouldn’t have worked as hard, knowing I had another option to fall back on. Instead, I just believed in myself, even though you all did not have any confidence in me.

When I graduated college, I was interning at a local radio station in Philadelphia while djing at clubs. I was making about twelve to fifteen hundred dollars a week. And that was  back in the late 90s. That’s around when I started approaching you all for jobs. You all saw me only as a mixer. When I told you I wanted to be an on-air announcer, you basically laughed in my face. You thought I was a joke. You didn’t see any potential in me at all.

Alex says he always believed in himself.

I didn’t let you all stop me. I took a leap of faith, packed up my car and moved to Gainesville, Florida without even knowing where I would stay. The boss at Magic 101.3 was willing to give me a shot, paying me $250 a week. However, it didn’t last. I got fired in three months after regrettably saying something I shouldn’t have on the air.

I was too embarrassed to go back home. Plus, I still believed in myself. I knew I could make it work. A Jacksonville station had an opening, so I went there to interview but I didn’t get the job. I crashed at my cousins for a couple of days before his wife kicked me out. That’s when my rock bottom period began.

Homeless and living out of my car, I got a gym membership just so I had a place to shower.  First, I worked as a telemarketer, which was painful for me. Then, I started pushing around a cart and selling items. It was humiliating but I needed to save up enough money to get an apartment. That job led me to work for a company where I sold products door-to-door.  But after an incident where I got in a fight with a greyhound bus driver, I ended up moving to South Carolina where my uncle lived. He owned a strip club and I started djing there.

At this point I am sitting there thinking, “Why does God hate me? Why is all of this happening?”

At this point I am sitting there thinking, “Why does God hate me? Why is all of this happening?”

I know what you are thinking right now. You are thinking it was happening because you were all right about me. But you weren’t…

A new radio station started in Columbia, South Carolina. I gave them a call and the person who answered was best friends with the guy who gave me my first internship in Philly when I was 17. My old boss gave me a recommendation and I was back on the air. Five months later a station in Greensboro, North Carolina offered me a job.

Alex got his big break in Miami at 99 Jamz

In North Carolina, a newspaper reporter asked me about my next goal in radio and I said nights in Miami.  I had no clue how I was going to get to Miami but I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Three weeks later a former co-worker from the Gainesville station, the one where I got fired, hit me up about an opening at 99 Jamz in Miami, so I sent in my tape.  Coincidentally, her boss, the station’s program director, was driving through North Carolina. He heard me on the air and called his boss and said I think we found our guy for our nighttime job. When he got back to Miami on Monday morning, my tape was already on his desk. Three weeks later I was in Miami.

Alex says if you don’t wake up chasing your dreams every day, you are already dead inside.

That’s how I made it! You didn’t think it would happen but it did. My struggle was part of my success story. While I had some bumps in the road since landing in Miami, I am still on the air, as I am currently with Hot 105 Afternoon Drive.

My wise mom also told me, “If you believe you receive, if you doubt you will be without.”

In life, if you don’t  believe in yourself. you might as well forget about it.

I definitely didn’t forget about my  dream and I know at least one of you won’t ever forget me either. See, you may have never hired me but you have definitely heard me on the air. I am the guy on the competing station, kicking your ass.

Never bet against me. I never did.

The kid you turned down,

Alex, “Big Lip” Chisholm


Written with Lauren Brill

About the author:

Alex “Big Lip” Chisholm is a DJ at Miami’s Hot 105 radio station.

About the sponsor and the charity:

Garren Bryant is givng 25 dollars in to the Miami Foundation in honor of the first 25 shares of this story. The Miami Foundation works with various organizations to improve the quality of life in Miami.

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[…] enough, in the email was your letter to your late father, former NBA basketball star Anthony Mason, talking about your struggles after his death. You wrote […]

Sweet Lauren, I agree completely with the promise that Brian asked you to make. Frankly, it is the only way that I know to love; totally, completely, wholly and unconditionally. You deserve nothing less, nor does your future love.

Wow. What a truly moving and powerful story. We often take for granted the small gifts we give each other just by being present. I'm sad for the heartache. I'm glad you stayed and became. Who knows what little girl or boy will be attributing their life's purpose to some kindness you shared. Peace and Sunshine

You’re welcome Lauren looking forward to all the future stories :)

Thank you Tony. I appreciate all your support.

Thank you Tony. I appreciate all your support.

I’m sorry to hear about Brian but he was right you are too beautiful to not receive roses Lauren:)

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Thanks for this! So what movie set did you get on?

So nice Roger <3

Pat, Your letter touched me in a very profound way. It left me in tears in the middle of my work day. It made me want to share something with you. On a July morning in 2007 a police officer answered a 911 call I had made when my Mother went into cardiac arrest. Between that officer, my best friend and the fire fighters who showed up minutes later they were able to restart her heart, however at the hospital she passed away an hour later. At the end of his shift that officer stopped by my home to check on the situation and cried when I told him the unfortunate news I received only 4 hours prior. He tried to apologize to me. I looked at the anguish in his eyes and asked him directly what for? He described the ways he felt sorry. What I want to leave you with was my reply to him. I told him he had nothing to be sorry for because he answered the call in what was the darkest moment in my life. I told him that he was a hero regardless because it takes a special person to answer calls like that. You are a hero to people Pat. No one can ever take that away from you. I understand the process you're going through as I've been there myself and like you I still struggle with it when no one is looking. You aren't alone in this. I hope your healing process continues on and you can regain the happiness in this beautiful life. You'll always be a hero to those people, because you were there when the call came Best wishes Roger Chamberlain

Ruth, your letter moved me to tears. Once upon a time I was very closed off about the LGBT community but over a course of several years, I turned my fear into understanding and I actively stand with the community for their equal rights because it is the right thing to do.