You Could Have Been A Contender

Talking about courage…


Writing music takes more talent, but writing lyrics takes more courage.”

That’s a quote from Johnny Mercer, and he should know because he did both.

There’s a famous scene in the film, On The Waterfront, where Brando confronts his brother, and himself, with the truth — that he wished he’d had the courage to not sell out, to see how far his talent could have taken him.

Today, I want to acknowledge your courage.

It takes courage to reveal yourself on the air. It’s one thing if listeners don’t like the liners you read, but entirely more personal if they don’t like you, the real you.

And the only way you will ever be all you can be is to be unique and authentic, to be you.

It takes courage to hire air talent who command attention, who won’t — can’t — play it safe, who challenge you to be a better programmer, who risk spectacular failure every day and by so doing raise the bar for everyone on your air staff.

It takes courage to hire a Program Director who will fight to protect the only thing you have to sell, your product; who knows the difference between compromise and apathetic surrender; who refuses the easy path of complacency, who dares to face rejection and risks her future in her quest to create something truly unique and great.

It takes courage to hire a Manager who will fight for his staff, who will speak up when budget cuts threaten the long term viability of his stations, who is unafraid to tell you the emperor has on no clothes.

It takes courage to hire anyone competent enough to oversee multiple markets, confident enough to admit he may not have all the answers, secure enough to be patient when patience means the difference between success and failure, and strong enough to tell you, No.

Courage is inspiring and motivating.

Courage is contagious and charismatic.

Courage is leadership, and leadership is the willingness to fail in order to succeed greatly.

As today’s quote says, “A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.”