Remember the movie, Ordinary People? It won an Academy Award for Best Picture, a story of a seemingly “normal” family under the extraordinary stress of losing one of their sons in a boating accident.
None of them was ordinary by the time we were watching their family unravel. They never again would be; how could they be?
I am frequently asked to help find talent for radio stations.
No one asks for an ordinary person, just some schlub who’s willing to show up dependably and not cause problems for anyone.
Isn’t that what most radio stations need?
Do we really want someone extraordinary?
Someone wildly creative, blindingly brilliant, who could be successful in almost any form of entertainment?
We drive those people out of our business.
They create problems, complaint calls, resentment among the rest of the staff, concern among advertisers.
Those people are named Imus and Stern and Brian Wilson and they’re difficult to manage and virtually impossible to control.
So, next time you have an opening, try expressing clearly exactly what you want: someone who will work for what you can pay, who is dependable, manageable, and plays well with others. Someone who needs a job, not a career, someone over whom management will always have leverage.
We want the meek, the grateful, the slightly better than average.
We don’t want extraordinary. We won’t pay for it. We won’t promote it. We don’t want to nurture it.
It scares us. We don’t have the time to deal with the issues they inevitably raise.
Steve Jobs could’ve never gotten an entry level position in any American radio station today.