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10 Tips for Aspiring Program Directors

by Angela Perelli/The Randy Lane Company

Great companies in our industry are always looking for innovative ideas and those people that can come up with them. If you are in the programming side of the business and have a desire to advance and become a program director, here are ten ways you can get an edge over others trying to aspire to become programmers. Above all, do not be afraid to tell your superiors your goals and ambitions so they are aware you have that desire to advance. Then, follow these guidelines to get there.

1. Learn about every department, not just programming. Sit in on a sales meeting or go on some sales calls. Study the fundamentals of production management, traffic, and engineering. Learn everything about Arbitron from both a programming and sales perspective.

2. Offer to help with anything, no matter how basic. The more helpful you are, the more questions you can ask. Come in with ideas too. The more the PD knows you get it, the more they will come to you as a resource for brainstorming and problem-solving.

3. Work and study under an excellent program director, if you can. That speeds the learning process. Yet, you can learn from any program director. Some are more creative, some more systems-oriented, some more management-focused. Each one has something to teach you, even if its only what not to do when you become one.

4. Take responsibility. The PD job can be isolating. When the numbers are up, the line is long out the door to take credit.  When the ratings are soft, tumbleweeds. Walking in to management to ask how you can help get the ratings back up shows confidence, commitment and responsibility.

5. Manage upward subtly toot your own horn on successes.

6. Learn as much about management, marketing, media and psychology as you can. Read books and blogs by leaders like Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and classics like Stephen Covey and Tom Peters. Read the trades. Subscribe to newsletters. Follow people and stations on Facebook and Twitter.

7. Work on your own personal development. Develop outstanding people skills. Hone your listening skills. Grow confidence and get yourself comfortable in your

own skin. Then you will have presence and people skills that will serve you well as a Program Director. Network to build relationships with key players in the industry.

8. Seek out your own board of directors mentors who can advise you.

9. Be a student of radio. Listen to archetype stations and shows that interest you most. Study them. Follow them. Visit them on vacation.

10. And most importantly...  as Randy Lane advises, "dont be a pain in the ass!"

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

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