10 Questions with ... Ed Douglas
April 12, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I am a 30-plus-year veteran, having been successful at all levels of radio -- small, medium, and large markets. I was OM/PD in Columbus with WBNS-A/F for 16 years, ran the Ohio State Sports Radio Network, Ohio News Network and the national radio networks for the Citrus and Alamo Bowls. For six years I was Dir./Operations & Programming for Clear Channel. Right now I'm doing some voice work and some consulting work but not enough to pay the bills.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
For 18 months I've kept thinking that today will be the day as I go after every position I know I'm qualified for. Full-time or part-time. To give up would admit defeat and I will not do that.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
Doing some things around the house ... working on our cars ... putting together my own music libraries. I'm very handy being in charge of maintenance and IT in our house. Plus I do a lot to help my wife and son look for work.
3) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
There is a huge disconnect from those with jobs and those without. There are a lot of talented broadcasters without jobs. Those with jobs need to quit treating the unemployed as if unemployment is a virus that they can catch if they have contact. On another note, it's amazing to me how many PDs and GMs don't have their e-mail addresses on their websites. So maybe it's not just a disconnect with the unemployed; it's also a disconnect with your customers (listeners).
4) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Either OM of a cluster or PD of a couple of stations. (Format does not matter, although News-Talk, Sports and Classic Hits are my strengths.) And I would love to get back into the network business, either in affiliate relations/sales, producing, talent coaching, etc. But right now I will take practically anything. I am a "Jack of All Trades." (And before most of you say "..and master of none," I'm pretty damn good at whatever you put me in.)
5) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 best outstanding, I'd have to rate "courtesy" overall at a 3. The bigger the market, the better response you get. But smaller companies, even those with HR departments, are horrible at responding to you. For example, a medium-sized company had an opening on their website for months after I applied and I kept sending e-mails and leaving phone messages for HR as to what the status was of the position. Finally after I e-mailed the president of the company, I got a response from HR that the posting was only there to see what kind of "talent" might be available. They weren't sure if they were going to actually hire someone or not. On the other hand, I e-mailed John Hogan to thank him for the privilege of working for Clear Channel for six years. He e-mailed me right back with very kind words of encouragement. If John Hogan can reach out like that, then what is holding everyone else back?
6) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
I listen to radio on a daily basis -- no matter the format. It's the best way to study how to get better.
7) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your family and friends that you probably did not have time to do while you were working?
No. Looking for a job and trying to figure out how you're going to provide for your family is not only a full-time job in itself, it's extremely stressful. More stressful than any position I've ever had.
8) What have you learned about yourself, others, or life in general in your downtime?
I already formulated this thought while working, but it has been solidified since being out and watching from the sidelines: What we do in radio and how it affects the general population does not matter. We are a disposable entity. (With the exception of disasters or helping charities raise awareness and funds.) Therefore, as a radio broadcaster, whether you're in sales, programming, engineering or G&A, you need to reach out every day to customers (listeners) and clients to thank and embrace them. You have to force your station(s) into their lives by being different and relevant. Be the absolute best you can be. And remember, the day you think you know it all in this business is the day to get out.
9) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Learn how to do it all. On air, sales, IT, engineering, social networking, promotions ... become indispensable.
10) How will this experience change you when you get back to work?
I have vowed to answer every e-mail and phone call I get. And to respond to all job inquiries. To someone unemployed, a note via e-mail or a phone call is such a huge victory. It keeps you going. And to pick up where I left off, I am fiercely loyal. I will walk through hell in a gasoline suit for the next company that hires me.
Any books you can recommend to people who need something inspirational to read?
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell and Creating Powerful Radio by Valerie Geller (One of the smartest broadcasters in the world. Everyone needs this book.)