Reasons To Work

How many fit you?

A few times a year, Seth Godin blogs something so perfect I just have to share it.

We all know so many friends and colleagues out of work, who are desperate and frightened.

Seth has found a way to center and calm our thoughts by listing the reasons why we work.

1. For the money
2. To be challenged
3. For the pleasure of doing the work – work that feels like a “calling”
4. For the impact it makes on the world
5. For the reputation you build within the community
6. To solve interesting problems
7. To be part of a group and personally experience “the mission”
8. To be appreciated

Naturally, many of us focus almost entirely on #1, and as I looked at Seth’s list, I had to admit very few radio jobs meet any of the other criteria right now.

What new skill-set is your radio job teaching you that will be easily transferable to any other industry, or even to internet radio? The way Radio challenges most employees these days is cramming 2 or 3 full-time jobs into one person’s 10-12 hour work day.

How about #3? Radio used to be fun, really fun. Fun is the reason most of us got into this business in the first place — and a love of music and attention. Does your work now still feel like a “calling”? Do you have fun most days in your station?

Not only has Radio surrendered any ambition to make an impact on the world, most radio stations no longer even try to make an impact on their local market. How can they say otherwise, when half their dayparts are voice-tracked, when their information services aren’t local, and when sometimes even their PDs don’t live in the market fulltime?

Its a bit difficult to build a reputation in your community when you don’t even live there.

Numbers 6 and 7 are great! I would love to know the last time you were asked to help solve interesting problems, like…

  • how to make music discovery part of your station’s listening experience without killing ratings;
  • how to reduce a commercial load that our own ratings prove are harmful while still driving a reasonable — and enviable — profit;
  • how to write and produce commercials that listeners actually enjoy hearing, and which are effective and memorable;
  • how to build deeper relationships with smaller tribes of listeners, using social media, and targeted, discrete email blasts that have high value for the listener;
  • how to find new, compelling content that facilitates emotional bonding, that can be transformational and redemptive for listeners and still work with PPM, and that works on multiple platforms;

I’m betting that not only were you not asked about any of these “interesting” problems radio faces, the VP of Programming in your company hasn’t spent 5 minutes all year thinking about any of them, because no one above him asked his input either.

It’s a lot harder to solve problems when you don’t acknowlege them in the first place.

And, finally, #8…

Do you feel appreciated? Do you feel that your GM, your VP of Programming, your company President and CEO really appreciate everything you do to make their jobs easier?

When sacrifice is necessary, do you feel that the burden is shared equally? When you were asked to take a pay cut and given additional responsibilities and duties, for less money, the guys at the very top end of the food chain were making equally difficult sacrifices?


So my reaction to Seth’s points surprised me.

It made me wonder why I’m still doing radio.

Then, I had a phone call from a really good programmer. She’s smart, passionate, competitive, and gifted and it struck me: I’m still doing this because of the friends I’ve made and the respect I still have for PDs and GMs who are finding a way to keep moving forward despite all the BS around us.

I’m still working in Radio because of you, because I’ve forged relationships — friendships — with talented, creative, caring people who bring a personal sense of integrity and humanity to their stations every day, even if the guys running the companies they work for do not.

How about you? Why are you still doing this?