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October 21, 2014

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07/02/07 Are You Guilty?
Its popular for the media to trash radio these days, especially with the influx of devices that supposedly portend the death of radio. I love technology like the Internet and cell phones as much as anyone, but Im not yet convinced that radio will go away. If radio does die, it wont be the fault of other media it will be our own fault.

With new media knocking at the doors of both listeners and advertisers, we can no longer afford to be sloppy. Im sure youre not guilty of the many infractions that could result in radios decline, its probably someone else. But just in case, heres how radio could kill itself:

Handcuffs: Take great people with lots of experience and lots of time in the market, and burden them with rules; make them do things the corporate way instead of allowing them to follow their intuition; make salespeople follow a specific system so that every market uses the same exact methods and if that method fails, it fails chain wide.

Sorry, radio is not McDonalds. This is a business of relationships, personalities, and creativity. Hire great people, tell them what you want them to accomplish, and let them do it. Stop restricting and constricting.

Threats: Tell people their jobs will be lost if they fail to meet the numbers. Or fire a manager who has been successful in the market for 20+ years because she failed to hit her goals in the last quarter. Fear is a great motivator it motivates people to leave.

Reports: Take great people who should be on the streets with advertisers and de-motivate them by requiring them to prepare endless reports. Paperwork kills the spirit. Sure, some paperwork is necessary, but robbing your staff of a few hours a week for reports means robbing a few hours of selling, managing, promoting, and programming.

Remove Incentives: Not hitting your numbers? Well show you were cutting commissions and bonuses, and restructuring sales again. Why should we give you a piece of the action based on your performance? Just do your job. Thats what you get paid for.

Program From Afar: Hire talented local programming people, then tell them what songs to play and what they can and cannot say on the air. Restrict the time the mic can be open to seven seconds, and dictate how they should program. Make the same rules for all formats. Who cares about local nuance?

Sales Turnover: Hi, Im, um Tiffany, your new sales rep at WXYZand Id, um, like to learn a little bit about your business. Click. When we subject advertisers to 20 reps in three or four years, they start to question their confidence in radio. Remember: Some sellers take more than 60 days to pay for themselves; they need time to establish relationships. That new rep could be the next superstar with a bit more time and less pressure.

Stop Listening: We know what were doing at the corporate level, otherwise we would not be here. Youre just a local guy. What could you possibly know? If we want your opinion, well ask for it. Oh, and when we ask for it, were pretending.

Stop Investing: Why do we need more light bulbs? Talent? Who needs it? Training is for wimps. Localism is over-rated.

The Bottom Line: Hire great people, tell them what you want to achieve, then step back and let them figure out how to do it. Give them great incentives, keep things positive and upbeat, stop controlling, and start supporting. The world wont collapse, and youll be surprised at how things will change.

Radios future is in your hands. Are you guilty of holding it back?




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