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Are You A Lonely Program Director?

by Buzz Knight

A Program Director in today's world of radio has multiple responsibilities in managing a successful radio brand. There are the bland and benign duties, like looking over expense reports and time sheets and the highly creative and involved projects, including developing the specifics of a marketing plan or inspiring your morning talent to capture the moment with a topical comedy bit. Program Directors can tend to be lonely and sometimes isolated creatures of habit. They like to "tweak" or "tinker" with their product or their creative process.

When you're stuck in the creative process and you're trying to tackle a major problem, whether it be in your life or your radio station, you need to "Change Your Orbit". In a world of short attention spans, things have to be shaken up to make improvement and tinkering won't work.

Here are some suggestions:
1. Get away from your radio station and sit and think with zero distractions.
No email. No phone. Just good old fashioned thinking. You'd be shocked how it jars your creative blockage.

2) Answer your request line or call five listeners from your database and just listen to them speaking about your radio station. Real people not radio people. Don't dominate the conversation. Just listen to them-Ask them about your project. You'd be surprised how they can help.

3) Go through your personal rolodex and call one of your PD friends from years passed that you haven't chatted with for sometime. Share war stories with them. Ask them for input to consider regarding what you are stuck on.

4) Find a case study on a similar challenge from a different industry and read it.
For example: If re-branding your station is your challenge, study a product that has successfully been re-branded and consider ways to adapt their linking.

5) Bring your entire team together and share the challenge and ask for their suggestions.

Assign specific responsibilities to the team members and set a deadline. Frequently when we're stuck we forget to ask those around us for help in solving the problem. If you have ideas on "Changing Your Orbit" and jump starting the process of creativity or problem solving, we'd love to hear them.

Buzz Knight is the Vice President of Program Development for Greater Media, Inc# he can be reached at bknight@greatermediaboston.com. Knight was named among “Best Programmers” by Radio Ink Magazine in 2007 and 2010. He has served on the programming subcommittee of the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) and is currently a member of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) COLRAM Committee.




(10/21/2011 8:31:04 AM)
Excellent advice. I was once in a situation when I had to make a choice between two PD situations and reached out to my friend Eric Rhoads. First suggestion: get away. "Go sit on a mountain top, fly away to some secluded beach. No family, no cell phone, no email".

So, the next day I hopped on a flight and went off to a beach. It was tremendously therapeutic and allowed me to clear my head and sort of 'reboot'. Even if just for a couple of days, I highly recommend it.

- JJ Duling
(10/17/2011 12:30:04 AM)
I never envied my PDs, Buzz. Sometimes it was like standing on a bridge and witnessing a guy diving in while still wearing steel-toed workboots in attempting a rescue.... of someone who was making a suicide attempt.

Great insights.

- Ronald T. Robinson

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