What I Learned In 25 Years As PD Of WOKV
July 14, 2015
It sounds ridiculous, right? Twenty-five years as the PD at the SAME station? How is that even possible? You are also probably asking why would anyone who was smart/good/worth a damn, stay that long? It's simple, new and interesting things kept happening!
In our business, very few PDs build up that kind of tenure in a single market, let alone at the same station. I've had inquiries and offers to go elsewhere, but never felt that my work at WOKV was close enough to being "done" to seriously consider moving on.
That changed last week when I became a casualty of restructuring. So as I start to search for my next opportunity, I'm taking stock of the traits that have helped me.
Act Like You Own The Place
When the phone would ring at 1a, my wife would say, "Your name's not on the license." Maybe not, but it was on my paycheck. Commit to knowing everything about your staff, your listeners, and all of the tools and systems of your station. Be the expert at everything. Being the owner also means taking responsibility when things go wrong. And I agree with Harry S. Truman, who said "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
Talented People ARE The Business
A huge part of preventing those 1a calls, not to mention growing your ratings, is having the right people in the right places with the right tools and the right training. It all sounds so simple, but surely takes the most focus and time.
Our business is all about having highly talented people connecting to an audience. Commit to their development. And because sometimes talented people leave, you also need to commit to always be recruiting.
Winning = Vision + Planning + Action
Your Vision For Your Station Needs To Be Very Clear
Charles Ketter, inventor and head of research for GM, said "A problem well-stated is half-solved." So we need to be very specific about what success looks like. Is it attainable through the actions of your team? If it relies too much on factors outside of your control, you need to refine it further. Now tell everybody about it, reinforce it often, and give regular updates on progress.
Planning Is Where Your Team's Input Will Be Most Valuable
When your talented team has a voice in creating the detailed action plans needed to implement your vision, they transform into missionaries who will go 'above and beyond' as a matter of routine. Discuss, review, and update your plans often.
Trust your team. After all, you hired and trained them. Be positive. Be a coach. Build trust by holding people accountable. Stay positive. Encourage your team to hold each other accountable. Commit to continuous improvement. Be clear in all your communications. Build respect by being consistent in your expectations and feedback. It is important to communicate just as openly when things go wrong as when things go right. Celebrate success!