Five Easy Theses
April 1, 2014
I've never favored quoting people under the cloak of anonymity, but that is non-negotiable with the following candid quotations. I wanted to hear from a small pool of highly active male and female PDs. For obvious reasons their names and companies are withheld. But it's the message that matters. I asked them, "As you look at your life in radio current-state, what are the most crucial concerns for you ... for our industry?" I want to thank them for their candor.
Male 37, PPM Market: I'm frankly worn down. I still love the business but in the past few years it's finally dawning on me that I may "love it" more than my company does. I hope I'm wrong, but I see few signs that we're doing anything but standing in place, playing not-to-lose. Sooner or later we're going to pay a heavy price. I'm also tired of the rumors and discourse in the trades. It affects my staff ... they don't always talk openly about it but it's always there.
Female 41, Diary Mid-Major: Gosh ... I don't know where to start; everything has changed so much just since 2005. Mainly, I don't have the budget I once counted on, but worse, I can't find the talent that used to seem almost automatic ... I mean ... there was always a promising young guy or woman sending me a resume. I don't know where we're going to find our future stars if this trend continues. It's been at least four months since I've had a resume I'd seriously consider.
Female 28, Diary Small-Mid: I'm pretty disappointed. I like this market, planned to stay here a long time, and felt when I took this job I could do a lot. My company is a big national organization and I knew that when I took the gig, but what I didn't know was that I'd get little support. It may improve with time, but I don't know if I want to give it a lot more time. It's not that they lied to me exactly, but what they said they'd do and what they've actually done is pretty depressing. I'm kind of taking it day-by-day.
Male 64, PPM Market: My company is quite stable compared to most other major-market ownerships. I don't have any regrets, I've been with them for over a decade, and I've seen so many changes in and outside of our group. The one thing that has me stymied is the apparent decline in what I'd call "competitive purpose." Obviously we're fighting as hard as ever for a rating point (I mean, we have no choice) but we have fewer resources to work with. It once was a given we'd have a research project at least every 18 months, but it's been almost three years I think since our last. I feel like I'm in the fog to some degree.
Male 44, Top-75 market: It used to be I felt the company had my back when it came to hiring and occasionally, firing. I have a challenging cluster with male and female-targeted formats and I simply am not getting much help with compensation plans or even a timetable for hiring someone. Everything works slower than when I came here seven years ago. We do a lot of stuff right, but we're missing too many obvious things and our numbers show it. This market has seen three new ownerships in the past four years. Some are average but one specifically is in our face and seems willing to do what it takes. So how can I fight them off alone?
We chose these five people based solely on their willingness to articulate their position and the diversity among their regions and roles. Perhaps you'll interpret them as I quoted them; each seeking a better outlook, a chance to compete, and an unfailing sense of responsibility. Adversity weakens the weak and strengthens the strong. If it weren't for the dark days, we'd never know what it is to walk in the light. Check your outlook and assess not simply where you are, but what you are.