Content + Process = Communication
Torture is not my first choice for obtaining sincere confessions from management. There is something about the cruelty of it that is unappealing. Personal integrity is partly at issue. There’s also that karma thingie. Mostly, though, I find the noise and the mess to be particularly irritating. But, if that’s what it takes…
Until recently, it was much easier for a radio manager to prop up the bottom line. Simply chop services to audiences and advertisers by knocking off a few talents in the on-air and creative departments. This became a self-destructive behavior. What was equally obnoxious was their methodology for picking on who got thrown over the rail. It was akin to throwing darts in the dark. True, those who were being (allegedly) overpaid were taken out first -- with the lights on.
Other industries may differ. However, with regards to music radio, I can continue to state without challenge, that I am still aghast at the total disregard for the principles of improvement and development that are rife in this industry. Rampant disregard up and down the line, from talent to ownership.
Meanwhile, I grow weary of waiting for the (alleged) publication and dissemination of “Radio’s Great Big, Hairy Story.” This would be the one that is supposed to right our craft from its 40-degree list to port. Still, nobody is yet willing to tackle repairing the massive gash in our starboard hull. A fix would have been really swell, as we were watching the rest of the media-fleet passing us by some years ago.
Since I have yet to meet a radio manager, PD, or member of the talent corps who can articulate the rationale behind such a blatant rejection of any and all opportunities to improve and develop internally, I am obliged to speculate. Any references to “fiduciary duties,” by the way, are being rejected as the weakest of irrational justifications and not worthy of serious consideration or argument. Yes, everybody gets it. Profit is required. But, when the excuse is trotted out, the automatic response of nodding like a bobble-head doll on “Cal Ripken Day” at the ballpark, does not constitute agreement. It demonstrates a sad, bad, preconditioned habit that still serves a need for self-preservation.
Except for the owners and the very top executives of many of the top-earning broadcast corporations who are pulling down what most of the rest of us could call “a tidy sum,” radio is not a particularly meaningful or well-paid industry -- at least not for grown-ups. Indeed, there are a number of exceptional talents here and there who can still leverage a decent income. Over time, radio has dropped off the radar as a desirable career choice.
Still, and this is more speculation, would many members of top management want to undertake any program that advertises itself as a means to significant improvement in on-air presentation and the creation of more effective advertising if doing so also included an investment with some (perceived) risk? Apparently, no. The technical, psychological term that covers this state of mind is “in the glue.”
Yet, the plaintive wails from affiliate stations keep rolling over the meadows from the valleys beyond -- unheeded. Other managers are mumbling mantras about more local content -- as if that were a panacea for all ailments. Out of desperation, they demand greater numbers of bigger, harder, faster, more intense and compelling sales calls from reps who, if they can’t trick them, are willing to stand on advertisers’ throats.
Radio -- music radio especially -- still enjoys the position of being the only passive and local, electronic medium. That "free" attribute may be the only thing that has been keeping the wheels on our wagons. That the content we do provide has been falling off in quantity and quality these last few decades goes unchallenged. Our capacity to produce effective, compelling advertising has become a cruel but easily made joke in the ad biz.
It gets worse. We (radio) have not invested dime-the-first to increase the quality of the delivery of any of the content we do provide. That is to say, we have paid forward bubkis on learning and applying the "processes" of delivering broadcast content. In fact, we haven’t even begun to consider, never mind investigate, such a strategy. Through the years, we have performed on radio traditions (dogma) and on acquired intuitions that, occasionally, have been filtered through some outstanding talents. However, these are hardly strategies that are both dependable and that can be replicated. Unless we broadcast our content (on-air and spots) in an appealing, engaging, and more effective manner by paying attention to processes, we will continue being sucked into the bog.
We seem to have completely forgotten that it is we who are privileged to address, and are given permission to attempt to influence, a radio audience. The lack of services and the crude, roughshod, and amateurish quality of our presentations are blaringly obvious and open to audience and advertiser rejection -- right there on the radio.
So long as there is ownership and management who are unwilling to strive for greater profitability through steady improvement in providing extraordinary programming and advertising services and products, we are just more examples of how certain forms of capitalism and free enterprise are corrupting. One could successfully argue how these approaches also support complacency and an acceptance of toxic, destructive values.
Now, I am willing to accept an explanation from any manager who sincerely describes their position as one of being intellectually unaware or “tapped out” -- not knowing what to do next. Managers, though, who have read these articles? No pass for them. If we are, as almost everybody insists, in the “communications” business, we are required to address both content and process. Anything less heaves us back in the glue. Besides, torture is such a nasty business.
(10/24/2013 8:41:14 AM) |
UUxeGD wow, awesome blog. Really Cool.
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