Playing Games Will Catch Up To You
May 6, 2014
Sports is my alter ego, I have always watched and played since I could walk. The Big Three --baseball, basketball -- and football have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Along the way, my competitive nature led to a love of soccer, hockey, bowling, tennis, rugby and golf. I have an obsessive personality, which is why I don't gamble, so I never do anything just for fun; ask anyone who knows my golfing obsession and endless hours of practice.
Recently I got involved again in Fantasy League Baseball. There are a lot of leagues out there where there is a lot of money to be made, which is why I have been so reluctant to start up the hobby again. Honestly, I figured baby steps and maybe take a shot at investing a few dollars towards one of those big-money pay-off leagues.
So I am participating in one of the Yahoo Fantasy Baseball leagues to get back into the strategy, gamesmanship and friendly trash talking the owners of teams do in these things.
During the hot and humid summers in the St. Louis area, when I wasn't playing baseball, I was doing my own fantasy thing. The Bill James computer baseball and other such companies were not even a twinkle in any inventor's eyes. I would make up imaginary teams and leagues and intertwine actual major leaguers with names of my friends. I would actually keep statistics and play entire games in the backyard by myself -- playing every position under the name of the various players for both teams. Every morning I could not wait to check the newspaper to check the box scores from the previous night games.
Playing fantasy online is so much fun, all the available statistical information, injury reports, up-to-the-minute player information, and the adrenalin high from matching wits with others is as good as golf and radio.
Games are fun, but running a game on co-workers and management is a losing game. Depending on the situation it may not catch up right away, but at some point it will. Let me tell a story and it's not about a poor man named Jed who barely kept his family fed. No, this concerns a talented individual who never lived up to his potential. As you read this I bet you are thinking about someone at work just like this guy.
It Seemed Like A Good Idea...
This gentleman was naturally funny and people were always drawn to him. The jocks at this particular station met Boy Wonder when he was working at a McDonalds. The young man was a riot with the ability to cause anyone within his space to laugh so hard they would double up with laughter. The station did a remote and luckily for Boy Wonder, the station PD just happened to stop by to check on the event. He instantly took to this guy and asked how he would like to be on the radio?
What kid would not take advantage of such an offer? So he began working at the station in the promotions department. He did pretty well despite a tendency to bring his multitude of personal problems into the work place. Eventually he sucked up to the GM, which led to gentle coercion towards a part-time on-air position far ahead of the PD's plan for Boy Wonder. But, no biggie, the PD thought nothing of the GM's nudge and started working on the kid's on-air presentation.
Something Seemed Off
I pretty much always stayed clear of Boy Wonder because there was something about him that seemed a little off. The one thing which irked me but did not seem to bother many of the staff was the fact he would never accept responsibility for the smallest of things he might have been responsible for.
Old PD Out, New PD In
Our PD took another gig and the new PD was a knowledgeable radio person but was gullible and prey for someone like Boy Wonder. The manipulating but talented new on-air wonder was at the right place at the right time and was hired full-time for overnights, replacing the previous the young lady who left to work at a station in Atlanta.
Suddenly Not So Funny
He was the Terrell Owens of radio, dividing up a once dysfunctional but nice group of jocks. There was drama all the time and a staff being torn apart because Boy Wonder would do or say anything to deflect away from whatever new chaos he was causing -- from not doing assigned production to taping breaks in advance of a paid remote and never showing up to the place of business. But he had the GM's ear and a good-hearted promotions director who felt bad for Boy Wonder and all his seemingly endless number of "Poor Me" things going on in his life. Just when you were ready to kill Boy Wonder, he would show a glimpse of his talent and others would enable his behavior with more excuses for his lapses.
BS Can Only Carry You So Far
Forget research helping our station with direction; this guy would do his own thing on the air whenever he thought the PD or co-workers were not paying attention. However through evolution and his popularity scores in research, he wound up doing PD drive.
And finally it happened" One of his rebellious stunts not only cost the GM a considerable amount of revenue from a regular client, but Boy Wonder tried to blame it on the PD and some misinterpretation of a memo. Finally the GM saw what others had been trying to tell him for some time; Boy Wonder was not to be trusted and had been disrupting the work place to the point everyone assumed he was untouchable and never said anything because the GM always seemed to side with the Boy Wonder. Enough was enough and we were all relieved when he was given the boot.
Jocks ... If You Want To Last In This Business
Answer the request lines and the chats in the station chat room during your show. It's the one time, other than a personal appearance, to connect with the listener. Don't linger, but be friendly and listen. Always remind them you have to get back to work and to call or contact you in the chat room again sometime. Never be rude to a caller and do not lie to them; if they ask for a request, check and see when it's coming up. If it's not in rotation during your show, tell them you will do the best you can to play it.
Meanwhile, if your format permits, ask if they would like to be on the radio and have the caller request a song you know is coming up. Nine times out of 10, this will easily take the place of the request they were originally asking about. Communicating with callers or chatters can provide basic information that might be useful for you to know. Checking Yahoo, a prep service or the Internet for news is great, but you should still read a daily newspaper for local news, community events and tidbits of information that might be useful.
Do not let your co-workers hang out in the control room during your show. There are a couple of ways to ensure folks don't gather: A. "I would love to talk, but I have to concentrate on my show." B. "Nothing personal, but the PD has been on me about letting people hang out in here." And if you are the PD, say "The GM has been on me about letting others hang out during the show." However, if you're the PD and it is the GM in the studio, just deal with it, ha ha!
Off the air, be friendly to everyone in the office, but avoid taking part in gossip. Whether you are or not, appear interested in what co-workers do. Don't get in the way, but go out of your way to be nice to everyone.
Always try to do your best work no matter what it is -- on the air, production, personal appearances, and whatever else is thrown your way. Keep your ego in check.
Do not hide in the studio behind the mic; take advantage of charity functions, station events and any sort of public appearance to meet new people. Just by being there you might be able to convert them to potential listeners. You never know who might get a diary, become a PPM panelist, or offer you a small fortune to MC an event.
Take the time to map out your career in this business. Having a plan gives you focus and direction for the future. This kind of attention spills over into your air work and how you might be perceived by others.
Stay away from office romances; the odds for disaster are just too high.
Stay away from liaisons with listeners who target air personalities. Musicians are not the only ones who attract groupies. Do the movies "Play Misty for Me" with Clint Eastwood, or Michael Douglas in "Fatal Attraction" ring any bells?
During your air shift, stay off the personal cell phone and studio landlines. And, don't put personal calls on the speaker phone; anyone passing the studio door can overhear your business without trying to.
Air personalities just have to work at their craft, mind their own business, and be courteous at all times. Doing anything perceived special by the majority of the public should be kept in perspective by those fortunate enough to have the opportunity or as my grandfather would say, "Don't get a big head because you think you are more important."