He Stood There In His Underwear With His Headphones On...
May 19, 2015
Getting experience in radio includes the good with bad. A lot of the bad comes from a lack of common sense, no life experience, poor judgement, or a lack of radio IQ. You can't' learn everything by sitting in meetings; some things you have to learn through experience.
Life is a series of moments and everything is not black and white. There are some situations all of us have to go through to learn why or why not. Many who have recently entered the world of on-air personality stardom think management is a bit over the top with rules. Sometimes it might be true, but I am telling you, most instructions from your OM/PD have a basis other than "Upper management told me to give you a memo on this."
Before you can fulfill your dream of being the next Ryan Seacrest, Charlamagne, Carson Daly, Bobby Bones, Angie Martinez or Big Tigger, there are some simple station rules which you will have to be followed from time to time.
Unauthorized Studio Visitors
A repeated theme in all of radio is the "Unauthorized Guests" memo. I know it is hard to believe this is such a big deal, but it is during business hours and especially after hours and weekends.
Over the years I would issue the same memo on the subject at least three times a year. I would attach consequences, but the last thing I wanted to do was bounce a personality getting great numbers over something like this. However, at the same time, OM/PDs can't allow the studios to become a party house.
Jocks, if you have a legitimate reason for a guest, get approval in advance.
List of Reasons Not To Have Unauthorized Studio Visitors:
- It's distracting; you've got a show to do.
- If something goes missing, it could trace back to you.
- An underage guest could lead to legal issues from accusations.
- Other air personnel might be at risk from those with dubious agendas.
- Equipment damage; a spilled Coke or coffee can do serious damage
- Something inadvertently can be said over a live mic.
- A well-wishing fan might be a spy from another radio company on a mission.
- That cutie or good looking guy might be a stalker.
- The unexpected could result in terrible consequences.
Every reason I just listed is based on personal experience either as an unsuspecting radio personality or as an OM trying to mentor my personalities into the reality of why rules exist.
He Stood There in His Underwear
Yes, I have a story to make my case. Seriously, did you think I could go a week without a few up-close-and-personal glimpses?
To illustrate my point, one of my favorite stories involves authorized guests. It was a hot summer Saturday morning, made even hotter because the station's air conditioning was out. It broke down the previous night during my evening 6-10p shift. It was really uncomfortably warm when I got off the air. I had a headache and was sweating so much that there was no way I could do my assigned production. The good news: None of it started until Monday morning; I called the production director to let him know the situation and he said it was fine as long as I got it done.
I got to the station around 9 the next morning and the station was like a hothouse. Before I headed to the production room, I went to the studio to see if the personality knew when things were going to be fixed. I opened the door and there was the jock sitting in the chair stripped down to his underwear with a hand fan aimed strategically. I was laughing so hard and so was he. Then as we both settled down, the studio door swung open and there was the GM with his daughter and several members of her Girl Scout troop in shock at the site of a grown man with virtually no clothes, but he did have his headphones around his neck and shoes on. No one said a word until the jock said, "Hi ladies, is this your first time in a radio station?"
The GM quickly regrouped, closed the door and in less than a few minutes came back to the studio; we thought for sure he was going to lose it. Instead, he apologized and explained he had promised his daughter and some of her troop a tour of the station. He then said, he understood the situation and could not believe how hot it was. He wanted to know how long the air conditioning had been out. I told him it happened during my show last night and I had called the engineers to let them know. Before he left the studio, he got a big smile and said, "The next time I come up on a weekend, I'll call the hotline first before heading up."
This column is a gentle reminder for air personalities to occasionally allow management to think they run the show. ☺