Meet The Best Small Market PDs in America
In the August 27 issue of Radio Ink magazine we name the Best Program Directors in America. The issue is broken up into several categories: Vice Presidents of Programming, Major Markets, Large Markets, Medium Markets, and Small Markets. Each PD had to be nominated by someone. From there we judged their accomplishments, what their employers or supervisors had to say, and how they responded to our questions. In our Small Market category (76 and up) Saga Communications Springfield PD Rob Cressman is No. 1. Cressman has bee in radio for 26 years, 18 of them as a program director. Here's more from our No. 1 Rob Cressman.
What was your first job?
I was a news anchor and reporter for what was then full-service WFVA, in Fredericksburg, VA. I worked as a college intern in the WFVA news department during summer and holiday breaks and was later hired as the station's full time midday announcer.
What should a well-programmed radio station sound like?
Great radio stations are points of reference. They sound as linked to their locations as Bourbon Street to New Orleans or the Golden Gate to San Francisco. The best-programmed radio stations reflect the sounds of their streets, their towns, and their neighborhoods. Their communities are on the air introducing the next song, raving about a new city councilman, or grumbling about how sick they are of hearing that Katy Perry song again. Great-sounding radio stations are funny and self-deprecating, serious and trustworthy. They are what they say they are. Great-sounding radio stations are well produced and impeccably imaged. Here, they never rest. The scenes they illustrate and the stories they tell elicit emotion and response. Well-programmed stations are highly visible and always accessible. They develop and host experiences that transcend the airwaves to become hallmarks in their communities.
What does the station mean to your listeners?
Listeners depend on radio stations to make accurate choices for them regarding music, hosts, contests, and promotions. The alignment between anticipation and delivery cultivates affinity and allegiance. So we always look for new ways to provide opportunities for the audience to actively participate. We want listeners to interact and share their experiences with other listeners. The station should be a place of candid conversation, music discovery, real-time information, and entertainment. It should be a diversion from the tension and tedium of everyday life. Listeners depend on our stations to let them know when concert tickets go on sale, and they expect us to take the lead in providing news and relief efforts in times of local emergencies or natural disasters. Listeners identify mutual interests and shared lifestyles with our stations' personalities. Developing these solid relationships is integral to building trust and success.
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