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Randy Lane

12 Qualities of Successful Program Directors

by Angela Perelli, The Randy Lane Company

PDs, if you struggle in some of these areas youre not alone. Rarely can one person be all of these things, since programming requires both a mind for art and a mind for science, and each of us tend to lean one way or the other (some a farther lean than others, you know who you are). In the areas where you are weaker, look for help. Hire a team that can balance your weaknesses, and hire your own personal board of directors to offer you guidance and help you grow. Looking ahead to 2012, here are 12 qualities you should strive for to help you succeed as a PD in this always changing industry.

Successful program directors
1.are brand managers. Successful PDs know when, and more importantly, how, to say no to ideas that either dont fit the brand or arent appropriate for where the brand is in its development in the marketplace.

2.are leaders and tribe builders. They surround themselves with smart, talented people who take ownership in the stations success. Team members are invited to come with issues and questions as well as potential solutions and resolutions.

3.know great radio is a balance of art and science. Too much of either can get you in trouble. They have a grasp of numbers research, ratings, and budgets and understand that research is a tool, not a bible for all decisions. Think Steve Jobs. If they arent a creative type, they surround themselves with creative people.

4.hire and develop creative on-air talent who have a clear and unique point-of-view and can emotionally connect with listeners in an authentic way. attention to details. The most successful stations are those that do a lot of the little things exceptionally well. The trick is to be attentive to detail without becoming a slave to it. Know when to let go.

6.plan ahead rather than scrambling at the last minute. In addition to planning, they read the day by seizing opportunities to connect to the community natural disasters, sports teams, causes, local stories of any kind.

7. establish consistencies so listeners know what to expect and what they can count on when they tune in, and include elements of surprise and unpredictability to engage the P1s.

8.make good decisions quickly most of the time and communicate clearly, directly and often. They regularly meet with each team member and conduct staff meetings for brainstorming and updating.

9.know when to break the rules. The best PDs take calculated risks, and when they fail, they learn from their mistakes.

10.never let you see them sweat. They shield the air staff whenever possible and appropriate, because safety and self-esteem is the lifeblood of creative people.

11. get outside the station to listen to the station on a regular basis, to maintain a clear perspective on the product.

12.make it a fun place to work. Some say that a station is a lot more fun to work for when its winning. Being #1 is inherently more fun than being #14. So creating fun in the hallways cant supersede creating a superior product. But no one can prove that you cant go for #1 and hold an ugly Christmas sweater contest at the same time.

Angela Perelli is a SVP at the The Randy Lane Company ( She can be reached at

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