Who's In Your Boat?
January 5, 2016
I hope you've read "The Boys In The Boat." It's a really good book.
It's the story of nine American boys from the University of Washington and their quest to win Gold in eight-man rowing at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, the "Hitler Games."
Just as much, though, it's the story of one boy in particular, who overcame almost unbelievable adversity and deprivation and who, somehow, even while facing rejection and despair that would bring you and I to our knees, managed to retain hope and optimism.
One of the insights into the improbable success of this particular eight-oar crew is that each boy in the boat felt as if he was the weakest link.
Each felt he had to be at his best so as not to let his crew-mates down, that if they lost, it would be because of him alone.
It reminded me of every great radio station I've ever heard.
Those air staffs had that same sense of personal accountability.
Each member of the B100 morning show in San Diego (the best I've ever heard) worried about being the weak link. None of them wanted to let Bobby Rich down, and he felt the same way towards them.
Every air talent on WBIG in Washington, DC measured his or her efforts against the excellence they heard on every other daypart -- even overnights, and weekend talent.
Same for NRJ and NOSTALGIE in Paris. Each daypart worked to be better every day, to be worthy of working on the station on which they heard so much other amazing, legendary, talent.
How about your station? Do you listen to it when you're not on-air because it's the best station in your town?
How about your show? Do you measure your work against the excellence you hear before and after you?
How about you, PDs? Is everyone on your staff pulling as hard as they can? Is each in synch with the others, creating a rhythm, a momentum that becomes unstoppable?
Until you find -- demand -- this commitment from every person on your team, until you know without doubt that every individual in the boat with you is afraid to let you and their team down, your station will never be as good as it might be.
It should be a privilege to be in your boat, to be on your station.
It should feel like an awesome responsibility, an honor earned -- each with a sense of respect for every other member of the team, based on performance, on what you hear every hour of every day!
You can't win gold with anything less.
And if you're not in it to win gold, why bother at all?