We Don't Care How You Did It In Dubuque...
May 12, 2015
I once worked for a PD who hated to hold jock meetings, but loved handing out detailed memos. He encouraged us to individually ask questions if anything needed clarification. They were creations on paper and not e-mails with a sketchy subject line description. During the course of a business day, everyone gets so much e-mail that they scan them. I'm just as guilty as others when it comes to this, but communicating only works if everyone reads and communicates until all are one with the message.
I did not intend to go off an e-mail tangent, so like a flubbed talk set, I will recover and get back on track. This week's column is about understanding the hidden meanings behind words. It is how you interpret and not necessarily what you think you hear and read.
In the case of this APD, he has experience in years, but all of it came in one market. Currently he is attempting to spread his wings and his new boss is in the process of educating him to his new surroundings.
APD: I am also on the air and think I have a good feel for the audience. I have been here for five months and I do not think the OM/PD is in touch with what is going on. I have made suggestions and he shoots them down. I have worked for some excellent people and what he is doing does not match with what I have learned.
Coach: Is the station you are at doing well in the target demos?
APD: The station is #3 6+, and #2 18-34.
Coach: The people you mentioned who taught you so much, did their stations do as well over the years?
APD: I have never been at a station or cluster with numbers like this.
Coach: So your answer is that this is the most successful place you have ever worked at and you do not like what the OM/PD is doing. If these other excellent people were so good, why didn't their stations perform as well?
APD: The audience was into us and it takes time and money for listeners to get what is going on.
Coach: True, but at a certain point if a station with a good signal is not hitting certain bench marks, you have to wonder about those you are touting so highly in your past. It sounds to me as if the station you are now at knows its audience. By the way, does the station you are with have a direct competitor?
APD: Yes we do.
Coach: Then I am even more impressed.
APD: I just think my ideas could improve some things and the OM/PD seems to keep either saying no or not now. I think we need to stay on top of things.
Coach: I suggest you study the OM/PD and the listeners in that market. You new boss sounds shrewd. Do you guys have research?
APD: Yes, callout and he follows Mscore too.
Coach: How do the other personalities act?
APD: I think the jocks around here are brainwashed. According to a couple, he does use ideas you give him, but everyone seems so slow here. It is the same around the whole cluster.
Coach: I know you are anxious to make your mark, but follow his lead and you'll find out why he has so much success in the market. What he does may not fit your listening agenda, but it sure sounds like he has his hand on the pulse of the market.
APD: To be honest, I don't think he is paying attention to anyone but himself. In my opinion, I don't think he is giving any consideration to what I have to say.
Coach: Has he told you to stop offering your opinion?
APD: No, but he always seems distracted when I talk to him
Coach: Oh, he is paying attention. Listen to his words. I have heard of managers on both sides of the coin, those who talk a big game and those that just get it done.
My advice is never be distracted by the pageantry of presentation and to focus on the message. Observation and controlling your emotions are the keys. Early in my career between radio jobs, I sold cars -- Mazdas and Subarus. Much of what I learned from the experience still helps me today. That job taught me if someone is strongly arguing but stays in the room, they are not disagreeing. It is a matter of finding common ground and working out the particulars.
A great example to further explain what I just said is the movie "Mobsters" with Christian Slater as Lucky Luciano and Anthony Quinn playing a mob boss. There is a face-to-face scene between the two with Slater agreeing to become a part of Quinn's crime family. However, part of the proposed agreement did not include the mob boss getting a share of Slater's booze business for certain period of time. This outraged Quinn's character, and with a swipe of an arm he knocked everything off his desk, yelled at Slater, and then embraces him and welcomes him into the family. I suggest you find the movie.
Radio is no different than other jobs; you will come across many bosses, co-workers and clients with a variety of leadership styles. Some will not fit with your style, but do not let that stop you from learning. The yeller type might become the best business friend you ever had or the quiet soft-spoken boss, the biggest back-stabber. The point is, don't look for yourself in others and listen to the message, not the occasional theatrics. Stay in control of any situation, never rise up to the appearance of anger, or let your guard down for the "I'm your buddy approach." Be realistic and stay in control of your emotions, no one can make you angry unless you allow it.
As I mentioned earlier, I once sold cars and for whatever reason, the GM of the dealership took a liking to me. He would always stress in meetings to not beat around the bush with buyers; verbally qualify them quickly with simple questions, get a commitment of any sort even if it's about lunch, and above all, ask "If a deal could be made that day, would they buy a car?" The GM would say, "They will either say yes or no, and maybes are polite nos."
I would daily put his words to the test and ask for a hot car on the lot for personal use. He always said yes to the annoyance of the other salespersons. Then one day at one of our sales meeting, he was asked why I always got to take home whatever car I wanted; he told them, "Because he asks." It was a valuable lesson and I have passed it on to others ever since.
APD: So what you are saying is that I don't get it?
Coach: Yep. Also, he loves the fact you are offering ideas or he would tell you to stop. He hired you for your brains and passion; he will teach you from his experience. Stop listening to him with an agenda and ask questions to understand where he is coming from.
Coach: Does he raise his voice or seem annoyed when you give him ideas?
APD: No, I can't read him. He does always finish with is there anything else?
Coach: He is giving you an opening to ask follow up questions, do it and you'll get a better understanding.