More To OMs/PDs Than Music
August 20, 2013
Many things are never the way they seem. I can remember being excited because my junior high vice-principal let me workout alone in the gym after school. However, the responsibility of making sure everything was locked up after I left was a part of the bargain and that did come with an occasional problem. Like the night the key broke off in the lock. I was there long after the janitors had left. Not only did I not know who to call, I had no access to a landline phone -- and cellphones didn't exist yet.
I had a problem; I couldn't leave it that way. Fortunately, a friend of mine eventually came up to ride his bike around the running track, after spotting him I yelled and got his attention. Long story short, he rode to my grandmother's house, she called the vice-principal, and he came back to the school. I can still see his laughing face; "I bet you thought you were going to be here all night." The morale is, you assume one thing and sometimes things can take unexpected twists. The following e-mail is from someone who thought the road to being a PD would be all about music and ratings.
Question: Recently I was appointed APD and my PD has been showing me stuff I thought the payroll department handled. There still is a lot about Selector and the Portable People Meter I need to know. Do you think he is purposely keeping away from the music and other things? Is it a job security thing?
Coach: Tell me exactly what you are talking about.
Question: He's got me dealing with timesheets and jock remote fees.
Coach: Okay, now I know where you are coming from; you are learning about the things that keep the engine running. Although it's not sexy, it is necessary to make sure the payroll department is up to speed on any financial matters affecting the program department, especially timesheets. You have to understand payroll is responsible for each department, billing, and all things financial for your station. Therefore it is important for each department to keep track of certain information before it's turned in. I am sure the PD will teach you more about RCS, Selector and Arbitron. But for you to advance to PD, it is important for you to understand these responsibilities too:
Payroll, Time Sheets, Vacations, Sick Days, Personal Appearances, Remotes
Companies always post the deadline for time sheets to be handed in. I suggest the OM/PD always collect the timesheets a day in advance of the companies required date. This will give you a chance to review them and make sure everything is okay. When you submit the time sheets, attach a report that covers sick days, vacation days, and anything needing additional explanation.
For example, there may have been a situation requiring more part time hours than originally budgeted, such as a natural disaster and the station is covering it live. Keep copies of all timesheets and reports in your files and turn in the originals to the appropriate department. The reports will come in handy when it is necessary to backtrack for clarification, explanations, or putting together a budget. Keep a running account of all individual sick, vacation, and personal days.
Also keep a calendar on paid remotes and personal endorsements; routinely check with your personalities to see if they have been paid. You want to be the one to handle this and not the jock. The last thing you need as a manager is to hear of a jock making a scene in payroll because they had not yet been paid for a remote or endorsement. A lot of times there are legitimate reasons why the payment is running late; such as the station is waiting on an agency to pay for their clients' advertising (agencies can take 30 to 90 days). Or, a non-agency represented client still owes for the month which includes the remote. You are in charge of programming and a part of management; manage situations before they become problems.
One other payroll item: Never let part-timers put down hours in advance they are scheduled for; they should be paid only for work done. Advance payment could cause too many "What If" scenarios resulting in paybacks to the company.
Being the boss always looks different from the other side of the desk. There is a lot more to programming than music and working with the air staff. Consider yourself fortunate to work for a OM/PD willing to share with you all facets of his position. In the end, a music station is all about the music, but try telling that to payroll when the timesheets from your department are late. I look forward to your future e-mails concerning the other programming responsibilities like the Public Inspection File; community issues and concerns, and sales meetings for marketing purposes. Stay in touch because your education on programming is just beginning.