This Guy Frightens Me ... Has The Potential To Go Postal!
June 23, 2015
We try everything humanly possible to hire the right person for the job and despite all the best efforts to do background checks, talk to former bosses, do countless interviews, and fly the candidate in, sometimes we still miss.
I can remember having to replace the lead host for my morning show and being distracted because I was in the middle of coordinating a huge station event. This was the one and only time in my career that I did not go through my usual steps to find a replacement. Instead I relied on a consultant to help me find someone. This consultant and I had a great relationship; as long as we were doing well, he stayed out of the picture with the exceptions of an occasional visit.
He had an ear for talent and theoretically was correct in his views on hiring personalities. However, he did not have to deal with the daily stuff. Being a former air personality, I understand the idiosyncrasies and quirks of the talented many. However, I refused to deal with anyone who would be detrimental to a station's reputation or was constantly causing huge problems.
I took my eye off the ball and allowed hearsay to dictate hiring someone. But I should have known better. I recall a phone conversation with the guy and he said something that flashed back to me after our phone call. But I dismissed the thought in my haste to find someone to take over the lead morning-show host position. Yes, his demo was awesome, the consultant liked his sound, and the two people I talked to never mentioned or hinted this gentleman was bad news. Again, I should have known better and slowed down from the event planning to go through my own unorthodox way of finding an air personality.
I guess you can tell by what I have been saying that the hire turned out to be a disaster. He sounded great, but almost cost me an established co-host, dated the sister of one of the jocks, and turned out to be the dog of the century (the jock wanted to beat him to a pulp), and was basically more trouble than he was worth. Timing is everything, so I kept everyone, including the other management, calm until after our event. Then the first thing Monday, I let him go. A lesson learned: Never be so busy as to not follow your own practices.
I can almost hear the collective sighs out there, so you have been in similar situations. Well, when I got this call from a PD, I immediately understood his pain. For the air personality-only people out there, pay attention to what this PD is going through and try to always be the solution and not the problem.
PD: I am at my wits end, I hired this guy to be my MD; I almost made him an APD as well, damn I'm glad I didn't. Anyway, he won't follow some of my simple instructions on programming the music logs. I do not get this guy. He has been here for seven months and still has not taken the time to learn this market. He is 31 and had spent his entire career in only one market until I hired him for our cluster. So far, he has alienated promotions, won't even speak to the Production Director, seems to never pay attention to details, and won't communicate verbally. He e-mails.
Coach: You strike me as a patient person; I probably would have chalked him up as a bad choice and dumped him. Are there any redeeming factors?
PD: Honestly, I think he left them in the elaborate interview process we put him through. He is smart, but his lack or unwillingness to understand one-size programming model does not fit all, is on my last nerves. Oh, and I think he is telling the label promotions teams half-truths and misleading them. Sam, I have caught him taking songs out of hold because he said they were big songs where he worked. Regardless of how much research I share with him or Mscore info, he just keeps walking to his own drummer. I recently went on vacation and left him and my acting APD in charge. I guess he did not expect me to check on the music logs until I got back, well I did and sent him and the APD an e-mail about my concerns. I will share it and the responses with you, but I will X out the names and make a couple of adjustments to the artists mentioned. Please read and give me your read on my situation.
First E-Mail from PD
XXXX and ####,
Please check the turnover on the following records for Monday, June 15th, 2015
- Maroon 5- 2-hour turnover when it's a B2 category
- The Weekend - B & M: 2-hour turnover when it's a B category
- Nick Jonas -- 2-hour turnover when it's a B category
- Pitbull -- 1-hour turnover after the Hot 8 at 8 when it's a C category
- Mark Ronson - Trap Queen: 2-hour turnover when it's an A2
- EchoSMITH -- 2-hour turnover multiple times as a B category
Who programmed Monday's log and why wasn't it massaged properly?
Second E-Mail from PD
Good morning. On yesterday, I sent you and #### an e-mail about the turnover on records. She responded and you did not respond. Can you explain why you did not respond and why are you continuing to have issues with programming the logs correctly? We had a verbal conversation less than two weeks ago.
If you need help, do not be afraid to ask questions. This is how you learn to work out problems and improve. I do not expect you to be like me but I expect the logs to be programmed correctly.
MDs Reply to PD
Number One, my mailbox was full, just got this e-mail.
Number Two, I ran into issues like artist separation and daypart restrictions.
I actually take my time to program the log to the best of my ability without deviating from your standards, and with the expectation of you to review the log, making your personal changes, and sort of fixing these issues. Contrary to your belief, my intentions are not to undermind or disregard your programming philosophy, as I'm still trying to get use to this style of programming.
As for the team effort, lately it seems like I can never do anything the right to your standards, regarding production, programming, promotions, imaging, etc. You brought me here for a reason, and I'm trying to help in any way I can, and I'm also trying to learn. I can't continue to learn or grow if I keep getting pushed back, and if you continue to not wanting to relinquish control on certain things and not let me do my job. I'm trying to work with you, the best that I can, deep down I feel that I'm here for a reason. But I didn't come all the way here to just sit in the sidelines to be some lame duck assistant, I came here to help you, and make an impact. Once again, I'm not trying to take your job, I still have your back, but you have to trust me, and you have to let me be great.
I know the numbers are down some, and you're under a lot of pressure, but guess what, I've been here before several times, allow me to at least help to you to get back to where we need to be. As I try to work with you, I'm asking you to work with me.
Thank you … enjoy the rest of your vacation
PDs Reply to MD
My e-mail not about my job security, pressure, ratings or relinquishing control; it's about helping you and making sure that you understand the importance of programming the logs correctly. If you worked at any station and a B2 was coming up within two hours, you would be questioned why especially when there are five to six songs in the category and there are either one B2 programmed per hour or every other hour (between 9a-3p and overnights), then the song should not come up within two hours. If there's an A2 category song, it should not be programmed like an A1.
This is not about a programming philosophy, it's about paying attention to detail. If you need help, ask. If you want to learn, listen. If you can't work within my system, then you need to figure it out. We will have a meeting when I get back from vacation. In the meantime, follow the scheduling procedures I have laid out.
PD: So, what do you think?
Coach: You said he usually e-mails and doesn't like to have actual conversations. How does he respond?
PD: Gets fidgety, jaws tighten, his chest kind of puffs up, and I swear the temperature in the room seems to rise. No matter how big or small the problem, he gets intense. Everything is a battle.
Coach: My solution is simple: Find his replacement, get his marching papers in order, lock him out of every software program important to programming, and have an off-duty policeman on hand when you let him go. This guy frightens me; he has the potential to go postal. I would hate to see anything happen to you or your staff.
PD: OMG, yeah he is wound a little tight, well let me figure out what to do about a replacement and then make a move on this guy.