A Highly-Placed Idiot

Uh oh…


As anyone who has ever worked in business is surely aware, a highly-placed idiot can kill or cripple the excellent work of dozens of people.”

“The result is that there appears to be a much smaller pool of excellent ideas than there actually is.”

“We celebrate the people who create good ideas, but we do not celebrate the people with the good sense to shit-can the bad ones. And yet, bad ideas may have as much potential to do harm as good ones have to do good.”

Those are quotes from the Ad Contrarian, an essential blog for our business, and while they are about creating advertising, it applies as perfectly to non-musical Radio content.

I know that I’m not alone in hearing absolutely inane, boring, irrelevant jock talk on just about every radio station everywhere in the world.

It’s partly because Radio has to create so much content every hour of every day that it’s impossible to pre-script and pre-approve it all before it airs.

The answer most often chosen for the past two decades or so is to shut ’em up, force them to read your scripted liners and avoid any controversy.

But that’s not the answer Radio needs. Radio needs better content, not more liners. Radio needs better talent, not subservience.

And that failing is on GMs and PDs who are too insecure to hire real talent and let them do what they do.

We’ve got to confront the issue that most “talent” at most radio stations is not really talented.

Most of the people I hear on most of the stations I’ve worked with around the world couldn’t hold the attention of a 4-person dinner party so why would we persuade ourselves that they can attract and enthrall tens — or hundreds — of thousands?

Real talent is expensive. It’s difficult to manage. It’s unpredictable and can be, at times, frightening.

But that’s what makes it impossible to stop listening.

If you’re the PD, it’s part of your job to coach your on-air staff, to do your best to keep awful, inner-directed blather off your station.

You need to say “NO!” more often.

NO, that didn’t work.

NO, that wasn’t funny.

NO, no one but you and your friends gave a hoot about that 5-minutes+ of rambling, boring drivel.

And, NO, that’s just not good enough to be considered acceptable content on our station.

It’s time PD’s accept their share of responsibility.

YOU control the quality. YOU shape the content.

And if your talent isn’t talented enough to learn and adapt, start replacing them with talent that can and will.

That’s your job.