How Jocks Can Make More Money This Year
January 6, 2015
I don't care what the format is, how big or small the air staff, or whatever system a cluster or independent station has, the air personalities are not happy with the paid remote situation. During preliminary talks with a perspective new hire, PDs are using the promise of paid appearances as an attractive reason to come and work for the company. Rarely are the paid remotes guaranteed, but it's implied as if it's an overflowing treasure chest just waiting to be divided among the troops.
The PD forgets to mention those crucial words, "If everything goes according to my wishes." There are all sorts of reasons the paid remote system can appear unfair. Sales people play favorites and imply it's the clients request; a personality may have a kickback deal with a sales person; the jock has worked a deal with a client with or without the knowledge of sales; you work the shift that the vast majority of remotes are booked for. A good OM/PD will go above and beyond to try and make sure all the full-time air staffers get a fair share of paid remotes/personal appearances. However, I have a suggestion which could solve your problems.
Volunteer To Help Promotions/Community Relations
Some of the best advice I ever received was from a GM who once told me that he picked up the mail every morning from his station's business P.O Box because that way he could always see what was coming into the station. I added his insight into my repertoire and would make friends with a receptionist and help distribute the mail at some of the stations I programmed. It made me aware of all sorts of information from checks coming in to various communications.
If you want to make more money, volunteer to help promotions, the community relations person, or PD with the FCC Issues/Programs lists. Most likely you will see or have access to all public service information that comes in. My friends, it is a gold mine for future riches. I will go so far as to suggest you volunteer to sift through all the e-mail requests from organizations and have all calls for such directed to you. You will look like team player, but more important, it will give you the opportunity to know people who are in control of budgets for nonprofit organizations who need help and are eventually willing to add an individual as part of expenses for MCing events, mobile DJ services, and a variety of things. By helping the station you will be helping yourself learn who does what in the community. Nonprofit does not mean an organization does not have funds to operate. Organically you will become the go-to for situations that will put money in your pocket and the paid remote situation will merely become extra gravy for you.
Understanding Current Issues/Programs Policy
Before you volunteer, you need to understand the organizations you will be dealing with address community issues that fall under the FCC heading of Issues/Programming Lists. More than likely, part of your volunteer duties would include documenting information for this area. The FCC regulations for Issues/Programs have been adjusted over the years. There is no requirement that the issues lists must be produced locally. What is required is that a list should include a short description of how an issue was addressed at a station locally -- live or recorded public service announcement, an interview, a station event, or public service program. The description must include time, date, length of time something aired, title/topic, and each way an issue was addressed. It is up to the station to document how relevant the topic was for local public awareness. Nothing in the current FCC policy speaks to how or where a program must originate or be produced from. This means it's okay to use syndicated public service programming to deal with a topic. The FCC is only concerned with results and not the process to deliver information to the local citizens.
There are still radio folks who are fuzzy on how some these things work nowadays. Stations are only obligated to identify a list of five to 10 issues and list the ways programming has dealt with issues of local concern. The number of issues could be more because the FCC is leaving it up to the station's discretion. All documented information aired is to be placed in the station public file on a quarterly basis. What's placed in the file is subject for review at license renewal time. To read up on things, just visit the FCC website.
Handling the job is a lot easier than it used to be, therefore it really is about you and finding out where the money is around town. Just make sure you learn how to handle this important duty.
Offer To Host A Mini-Public Service Workshop
Offer to hold a mini-workshop for public service organizations to understand how to get their information on the air at radio and TV. The station would gladly run a recorded promo and post on the station website. Hosting such an event will help reinforce you as a go-to person. You would be surprised how many organizations do not know how to properly supply information to media outlets. For example, a simple thing such as updating a snail mail/e-mail list for each outlet an organization sends information to. It is shocking how often contact lists and titles are not updated.
This Stuff Works
There is always more than one way to accomplish a goal and in this case it is to increase your bottom line in a time-efficient way. The good thing is you might double your money twofold by becoming an important human resource for your station. The strategy will pay off in the private sector financially and around the station with new found respect.