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What Does it Take to Be a GM Today?


Greater Media reported yesterday that Trip Savery was promoted from Director of Sales to Vice President and Station Manager of Greater Media in Charlotte. He joined Greater Media Charlotte in March of 2010 after working as SVP/GM for Curtis Media Group stations WQDR and WWMY in Raleigh. So for Savery this is not his first GM rodeo. We asked him to give us the scoop on what it takes to make it to the corner office.

What's the best/worst part about being a GM?
Without a doubt, the best part for me is seeing people you work with grow professionally. We have these precious licenses entrusted to us, but our asset value in radio is the people. From our personalities who connect us to our listeners, to salespeople, to our promotions managers and traffic directors.  Without them, we are just a pile of used electronic equipment.  If you hire very special people and guide them to become successful, it can be very, very rewarding.  The hardest part is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  I just try not to make the same mistake twice.

What does it take to be a successful manager in Radio today?
The simple answer is patience, perspective and vision. I am not sure enough companies give their managers the time to make a few mistakes and learn from them. I often tell the people I work with they are lucky I made most (not all) of my mistakes in much smaller markets. I also wonder how many managers today truly understand and appreciate all of the great broadcasters who have preceded us in our local markets, and in our national leadership.  Most of all, you have to have a vision for the future which is informed by the past, but not stuck in it.  Radio has faced many challenges throughout our relatively brief history in time, but I have every confidence our best days are ahead of us if we maintain perspective and always look forward.

What goals does someone need to set if they want to be a GM or Market Manager?
That is a hard question to answer because I never set out to become a GM or Market Manager. The most important thing to me has always been to create results for our clients, while also nurturing the very special relationship we have with our listeners. As a kid, I was fascinated with the radio business as a consumer. Growing up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I was fortunate to be exposed to great radio, and develop a passion for the business. When I got my first job in radio in sales, the passion for radio as a listener transferred to the sales arena.  From there, my career grew organically from small market, to large market to now major market.

What does/should a GM do in the community to advance the brand of the station on company?
The first thing to realize is that as broadcasters, we are granted a privilege license to serve our local communities first. One of radio’s greatest strengths remains that we are an inherently local medium, it’s imperative that we super-serve our local communities. WBT represents the entire Charlotte region, and has for ninety years. My goal is to continue and enhance that service and reputation while I am a steward of this sacred brand.

Should radio believe that Pandora says it is gaining market share or Karmazin  says radio is a weak competitor?
In my opinion, Pandora is expanding the market, not necessarily taking share from current radio listening.  Pandora is a convenient means to reach many of the musically under-served audiences out there. However, it will never replace traditional, over the air radio as a source of information from traffic reports, to local news, to local commercials to local personalities. If anything, it should be a great catalyst for broadcast radio to recognize that we need to do something different with our online radio brand extensions as consumers become more and more device agnostic.

With regard to Mel Karmazin, he has been great for the radio industry, but radio has also been very kind to him. I am very fortunate to work for a family owned business, and to have Peter Smyth and Rick Feinblatt as mentors.  We have the privilege and honor to still be able to do radio the right way,  for our community, for our listeners and for the Bordes family.  It is a very special opportunity for me, and I am honored to be a part of such a great company.

Congratulate Savery on his promotion HERE

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