Make It Matter

This is within your power.

As Radio became more corporate, something happened, something not inevitable, but which is now very hard to change.

It’s not that Radio wasn’t already a business. The reason it was so attractive to Wall Street, the 40%-50% margins, made it a great business, even during recessions.

But as the consolidators tried to squeeze every excess penny from every station, a clear message was delivered to those on the product side: What you do isn’t nearly as important as you’ve thought.

Trying to be generous, I will not infer intent.

Still, these new owners vastly underestimated the value of having a company full of employees who believe in the importance of what they do every day, to inform, to entertain, to provide companionship.

I think most of us want our lives to have meaning.

I think most of us want to feel like what we do every day matters to someone.

Profitability and employee commitment are not incompatible.

“It has to make money” is not the logical opposite of “it has to have meaning.”

Look at Apple. Look at Starbucks. Look at COSTCO, for Pete’s sake.

But those companies send the exact opposite message to each one of their product people than has Radio: The only thing that matters is what you produce. The only thing that matters is how you treat our customers.

By casually dismissing thousands of employees for whom Radio meant everything, we are left with a lot for whom Radio is a bi-monthly paycheck. Not all, but a lot.

And the product that comes out of the speakers in every city in America shows it.

This is a tremendous opportunity for some owner somewhere.

Work has to be about more than just making the CEO another few million dollars this year.


Restore meaning to the lives of your employees and you will have the very best talent beating a path to your door.

Think you could prosper with that competitive advantage?