They Didn't Fire Me ... Transferred To Another Department
September 8, 2015
Change in radio brings about stress of the unknown. Whenever a new radio company takes over or a new GM, OM, or PD takes the reins, the programming department goes on alert. The unexpected and paranoia seems to loom and causes some to band together and others to declare "Its every man for him or herself."
There is nothing more complex than perception and during change it can make friends of enemies and strain relationships once thought to be strong. The goal for everyone is to keep a job and continue paying the bills.
I am sure this gentlemen's predicament is one many can relate to:
Jock: Everything is confusing. My company was bought out and I have a new PD. I am or I was the APD and MD. He has been here for less than four weeks and he wants me out and I have no idea why. I haven't done anything but try and do whatever he has asked.
Coach: Has he talked to you about your situation?
Jock: He told me that he thought I did not have enough experience to be an APD. I have been APD here for five years, filled in on the air when needed, and severed as MD. I am not a rookie at this and I know the market. I am not sure what is going on.
Coach: There could be a few of things happening; maybe the new company wanted him to make this move, he wants to bring in his own people, or it's the GM's idea.
Jock: The GM is the cluster market manager and I know it's not him.
Coach: Why are you so sure about that?
Jock: Because the GM told me he wants me to start working in Traffic.
Coach: Wow, you must really be a good employee. Most times an employee never moves from one department to another when the immediate supervisor no longer wants them. I also think there may be another reason the GM is keeping you around; maybe he is not sure about this PD. By the way, what happened to your old boss?
Jock: Right after the new company took over, he got fired. I think it was about money, because our ratings were great. We have consistently been the leader in our cluster and our market. This new company has a history of not paying its programming people very much. My old boss was getting paid a lot and I don't think these new guys pay like the old company did. In fact, I am hearing some of the jocks complaining of being asked to do voicetracking for other markets for only another two hundred a month.
Coach: Sorry to hear about all of that, but it's good you still have a job.
Jock: Yeah, I do, I mean I was really sweating. But traffic, it feels strange. I forgot to mention I applied for the PD gig when they let my boss go. I am putting out feelers and looking for a programming job.
Coach: And that also might be the reason the new PD did not want you as his APD; he might have thought you would sabotage him to get the gig. But I want to address the feelers you're putting out. Being in Traffic could be a blessing in disguise. Learn all you can because this will make you an even better PD when the time comes. I always tell radio folks to learn as much as possible about every department in a station. You should not think of this a punishment. By the way, did your money stay the same?
Coach: Good. You need to look at this job in Traffic as an opportunity to learn more about sales and the process of getting commercials to the air. You need to realize the vast majority of those who hire OMs/PDs were formerly sales people elevated to management positions. At the end of the day, it's a blend of sales directives mixed with programming strategies. You really need to take advantage and see this as an opportunity to get closer to your programming goals.
Jock: So, what kinds of things will I learn?
Coach: The thought pattern of the department and learn a Traffic software system. It is like learning a studio board, once you know one, understanding another will be easy. And most important, you'll get to see the sales manager and sales people at work from a different perspective.
You will literally witness the process of selling air time, sales people writing copy, collections, dealing with clients, cold calling, sales making budget, sales presentations, negotiated rates, understand sales objectives, client approval on commercials, the importance of spec spots, deadlines, how sales agencies operate, sales projections, commercial make goods, and the misconceptions some in sales have about the program department.
Jock: Doing Traffic will teach me all of that?
Coach: That and more. Sales needs traffic and bonding with salespeople will go a long way in helping you as a PD someday.
Jock: Can you give me an example?
Coach: Well, for starters, salespeople have been known to occasionally sidestep some of the program department directives such as turn-around time for a fully produced commercial or getting prior approval for a jock appearance. Sometimes the reasons are time crunch, closing other deals, cutting corners, or an overbearing established client. Working in Traffic will give you a chance to understand sales manager and sales people.
Jock: So how will I know when I have learned enough?
Coach: You're the only person who can answer that. I suggest you give yourself enough time to absorb as much as possible. Then if you want to still program, get on out here and go for it.
Knowledge always increases the possibilities for upward mobility in the workplace and for future jobs elsewhere.