Radio Therapist

Paging Dr. Freedman…

One of the best things about my job is that I get to interact with so many different talented people.

Usually, radio stations have one, or sometimes two, strong air talents, but during my career I’ve been fortunate to work with 3 or 4 stations that had truly gifted air staffs — great air talent in every daypart.

One of those was WBIG in Washington, DC from 1995 – 2004, under Program Director, Steve Allan.

I’m not certain how it started, but after a couple of years of market visits the staff began referring to me as Dr. Sidney Freedman, the psychiatrist character from the hit TV series, M*A*S*H.


I took it as a compliment.

On the TV series, Sidney would fly into the M*A*S*H encampment and through a process of listening, observation, and insight, leave the ultra-stressed surgeons and nurses feeling a little better about themselves.

I don’t know how other consultants work, but when I’m visiting a station, I like to spend time with as many people on the staff as I can. I like to get to know them as people.

Invariably this opens the door to venting, and over the years I’ve discovered this is one of the values I add to my relationship with the station’s management.

Perhaps it has something to do with my father being a behavioral psychologist, or that I have, at various times in my life, enjoyed therapy, but I’ve learned the art of active listening.

I’ve learned that many interpersonal problems don’t need a solution as much as a sympathetic ear.

True, some issues I hear about do require intervention by management, but I believe my style leads to earlier attention and quicker resolution.

Do you have someone on your team who can be your Sidney Freedman?

Life is more stressful inside a radio station now than its ever been, and every staff member is expected to produce more with fewer resources and less support.

Providing a little basic “therapy” might be just what the doctor ordered.

Once you try it, I think you’ll be hooked, and I think you and your staff will be the better for it.