Attracting the best
For the better part of 25 years, Radio has been down-sizing, finding a way to do more with less.
Fewer people, especially in Management (at the station level, anyway), Programming, and Promotion departments, have forced hundreds, perhaps thousands out of our business.
If we knew for certain that each of these decisions helped weed out the least talented, it might be less offensive, but we both know that’s not true.
Often, the difference between having a job and not having a job has come down to who you know, whether or not you’re seen as a threat to someone higher than you on the food chain, and/or how skilled you are at playing the corporate political game.
I can give you a list of great air talent that could make your station sound better today, regardless of your format; all are now out of our business.
I can give you a list of programmers who have succeeded everywhere they’ve worked, who can help your station sparkle in ways you’ll notice immediately; all who’ve been forced to find employment in other industries.
And I think we can all name some great GMs, leaders who became disgusted with what our business has become and walked away.
Why does this bother me so much? Because if Radio is really going to remain competitive in the coming decades we have to pay as much attention to attracting the very best talent as every other business.
Does Google hire the cheapest engineers?
Does Apple skimp when it comes to finding the most creative designers?
Does any successful organization base its future on the buddy system to the extent Radio does, and always has?
If you run a Radio company, it’s your job to critically evaluate every one of your senior corporate team, not based on loyalty or how well they kiss your ass, but on how often they challenge the way you think.
The very last thing you need more of is “yes” men and women afraid to tell the emperor he has no clothes.
If you run a radio station, it’s your job to critically evaluate every member of your staff, programming and sales, the same way. Do you have the very best talent you can find on your station? Seriously??
And if you’re a PD, or air talent, you’re not off the hook either.
What are you doing to be better tomorrow than you were today? How are you stretching your skill set? What are you doing to become more involved in your community? Is there something extra you can do to bring more revenue into your building?
The Great Recession of 2007-08 is behind us. We survived, as an industry, and while revenue may not be on the ridiculous growth curve it was before, no one can deny the health of our business.
We still produce amazing free cash flow.
It’s time to demand the very best, at every level, and that means competing for the very best talent, at every position, not just with that low-ball Citadel station across the street, but with every industry that values creativity.
It’s time to invest in our future.