I Was Accused Of Being Evil
July 8, 2014
Team chemistry is sometimes overlooked and undervalued in the current state of radio. A few bad apples with narcissistic tendencies can ruin the chances of a station doing well rating- and revenue-wise. These types usually have had some success, allowing them enough credibility to complain to those with the ear or ears of the in-house power structure.
These apples can destroy morale and keep a station in a funk while maintaining the look of innocence. I remember a former employee who insisted he knew what the audience wanted regardless of how many perceptual studies we allowed him access to. When the ratings were up, he insisted what could be done to make them even higher. Those times our ratings were flat or down a few tenths of a point down, he would begin his eve of destruction campaign by telling as many as would listen, he knew the cure for higher ratings.
I am telling you every format and every station has one or two of these on staff. Having all the facts is never enough for these smiling malcontents. Usually the reality is that he or she once ruled the roost in their time slot. I had another jock in a different market who hated change and anyone attempting to improve anything outside his realm of understanding. He constantly spread false rumors about fellow personalities, resisted critique sessions, and had a kickback scheme with two salespersons where they made it appear he was the most-requested personality for paid remotes.
I fixed the kickback scheme by implementing a new paid remote system that stressed equal distribution among the air staff. His response to this was to send baseless memos to management and literally stating I was pure evil. After a few years I left for other pastures, but believe it or not, the guy has remained employed there and is still causing problems. How he has avoided being fired is still a mystery.
Whenever I receive an e-mail or a call from a personality trying to survive an onslaught of negativity within the workplace, I never dismiss what he or she has to say.
Jock: Around here we go out on street hits in pairs. The jock I am always paired with is always taking us to places I am sure he has a deal with. We are instructed to go where the average listener would be. For some time I have noticed when he and I go out, we seem to return to some of the same locations near businesses. The other thing, which seems kind of suspicious, is that he holds conversations with managers or owners where I cannot overhear the conversations. Maybe I am being paranoid, but he is always checking to see where I am as if he wants to make sure there is no way I overhear anything. What do you think?
Coach: I need a little more info, but first of all, is he always the one driving when you two are out on hits?
Jock: Pretty much, yes.
Jock: He grew up here and he knows how to get around a lot better than I do.
Coach: So the PD never tells you where to go?
Jock: Sometimes, but mostly we are instructed to drive to specific parts of town and try and blend into the daily lifestyles of our listeners. We seem to visit some strip malls way too frequently for my money. It seems all like too much of a coincidence.
Coach: Your story is giving me flashbacks. I once caught a jock doing van stops at places he frequented and was getting freebies because he would cleverly mention the place as a point of reference for listeners to stop by and get prizes and meet him. One of the street team told me how fun it was to be with this gentleman out in the van. Then by accident one day I ran into him getting out of the van with his dry cleaning over his shoulder. As I was talking to him I noticed the name of the cleaners on the plastic covering his clothes. My intuition told me to do some checking and so I checked the logger for the previous week and then spoke to promotions and the designated street team captain. Sure enough, this jock had been doing free mentions in exchange for free services for months. The street team ate the free food and never figured out his clever deception. For the next week I checked the logger for the names of places he used to guide people to his live locations, then I stopped by a couple and it became clear what had been going on. I suspended him and later dismissed him for another non-related issue.
Jock: Wow, so what do you think I should do? It would be just my luck for my PD to catch this guy and I get implicated for just for being with him.
Coach: I suggest you have a conversation with your PD and ask him a hypothetical question on the subject of what is okay and not okay to do when doing street hits. Just tell him you are making sure you are doing things the right way. Go so far as to ask for him to critique the next street hit you are out on with your partner. I suspect your questions will spark the PD's interest and make him wonder why you didn't simply check with your veteran street hit partner. I think this approach will put you in the clear regardless of whatever happens.
You have to step up and say something whenever you see a situation that could cost you or the station in the long run. It is not being a tattletale or a rat; it's protecting yourself and those around you.