Talking On The Phone And Playing On The Computer
September 17, 2013
The job of a PD or OM is a mystery to many staff employees. I once overheard a jock say, "What does Sam do; all I ever see him do is talk on the phone, play on the computer, and take late lunches." I bet this sounds familiar because a lot of what PDs do consists of a constant state of daily, weekly and future planning. There is a lot of mental juggling going on. Ratings and pleasing the audience are continuous; this is intended to give air personalities some insight what is going on inside a PD's brain.
Programming is half content and half presentation; it requires understanding the target audience and delivering to their expectations. PDs try to put forth a compelling product and provide the right music, a morning show to lead the way, a complementary sound in other dayparts, and marketing. Competition for consumers is fierce. You are up against other stations in the market, the Internet, Online radio, social media, television, school, computer games, jobs and a host of other things being invented as I write this. PDs are in a 24-hour state of planning and here are some of the things they might be working on:
- Checking the daily commercial and technical discrepancy sheets.
- Analyzing music research.
- Evaluating goals, opportunities, and strategies to maximize efforts to maintain or improve ratings. (Some actually have budgets for Perceptual research and those with media monitors in PPM markets can really dig in and micro-analyze.)
- Making sure promotions are on target for active and passive listeners.
- Checking on the current live liners and promos; they might need refreshing.
- Maybe there was a glitch in the computer system causing problems with the relays for the commercial breaks in the syndicated morning show. The PD will need his engineer, the traffic department, and the technical person at the origin for the syndicated feed.
- Working on the next big promotion and how sales can tie in client.
- Maybe there is a value-added client promotion the Sales Manager wants a plan for.
- Setting up a plan with the Promotions Department for seasonal and holiday promotions.
- Making sure the in-house Internship program is functioning properly.
- Checking with the Webmaster to ensure the station's site is memorable and up to date; it should be compelling for both the core and non P-1s (passive listeners). The site should be topical, interactive, and fresh with fresh timely content. Sometimes the PD is the Webmaster.
- Double-checking on the weekend special programming features; are they being downloaded properly and did the correct week air over the weekend?
- Adding or subtracting things for next year's programming budget.
- Massaging tomorrow's music log because the MD has been slacking a bit lately.
- Dealing with air staff issues; the midday person has a cold, the afternoon personality is upset with the Production Director, and the GM thinks the new night guy needs to spruce up his appearance at personal appearances.
- The consultant is flying in and wants to be chauffeured around.
- Music has to be selected for the upcoming auditorium test to be conducted on behalf of the station.
- Problems have occurred because a jock had to handle a problem at a client remote because the salesperson was not there. Several issues have to be hashed out.
- One of the listeners has a complaint about a song and needs to vent.
- The GM wants you to meet with someone concerning a project with the Chamber of Commerce.
- Need to meet with the MD and revise music rotations.
- Planning individual meetings with the air staff to critique their airchecks.
- Need to have the Promotions Department revise the street team schedule.
- Plan a strategic meeting for the upcoming TV commercials and billboard blitz.
And this list could go on and on. So no, the PD is not just sitting in his or her office merely listening to music or playing solitaire on the computer. The PD/OM's job is a revolving door of problem solving and planning. The moral of the story is to stay in your lane as a personality and concentrate on your specific duties and if you have a question or want a better understanding of something, ask your PD.
If it is not a good time for them to give an answer, gently inquire when a good time might be. Once a PD finds out you are interested in how things work, he/she might start using you as sounding board for a few things. It really is all for one and one for all; air talent needs to understand the PD's mission is to oversee a successful plan from every angle; many times they are not being aloof, just in a state of solution.