By Sharon Taylor – ByrnesMedia
I knew lots in my 20’s. I knew that call letters never went into stopsets, but always went into music. I knew that stopsets sounded better when the national commercials went first. I knew that promotions were never about doing a draw for a prize in a bar – but instead about everything that could go wrong with drawing for a prize in a bar. I knew that the more edits that were in a piece of production, the better it had to be. I knew that women were welcome in sales departments and admin, but not programming. And I knew that I loved radio.
Sure, from time to time, radio and I have talked about separating, but I’m afraid that our relationship is one of those ‘til death do us part deals.
Here are 10 of the many things I wish I had known way, way back when I first started in the business.
1. Discretion is the better part of valour. I was the Queen of Confrontation. Ready to solve problems NOW. I wish I had known that waiting for just one day would result in a higher level of discourse, especially in critical or volatile situations. It would have saved me and others a lot of wasted adrenaline. Always sleep on it.
2. There will come a time when being a female in broadcasting will be a positive thing. I spent a lot of time trying to fit into my tribe when I first got in the business. To be taken seriously, I morphed into a tougher version of myself – didn’t cry when it was assumed I would empty the ashtrays or fetch the coffee; helped cover up many a male colleague’s transgression. Gender bias in radio was anything but subtle. Today, being female in broadcasting is a positive thing. Now, if we could just not have it be a “thing” at all…
3. Between the songs is a lot like between the sheets. Not only important, it can be the most important thing. Everyone has music and some curate it better than others. However, personality and content is king and the people who provide it are royalty. Ignore the importance of what happens between the sheets – I mean between the songs – at your peril.
4. A good idea should belong to everybody. The magic of a good idea is that it’s the tide that floats all boats. If no one can remember who came up with the original idea – the healthier and happier everyone is. After the original CISS-FM in Toronto came up with their Mugs and Kisses campaign (the one that netted them a first book 7 share), even the players in the room weren’t exactly sure who came up with what.
5. The important thing about being a local radio station is actually being local. If you truly dedicate your efforts, energy and resources into feeding the community you’re in, it will feed you. There is nothing better than being the local radio station. With the distribution now available on air, online and on site, radio is situated to make a difference in local communities like never before. Ask Gary Slaight if it’s important for success. Gord Rawlinson. Jimmy Pattison. Owner/operators passionately know this in a way that enormous companies don’t and won’t.
6. People who don’t agree with you are actually not idiots. Okay, this was probably exclusive to me, but I had to learn this and, need I add, the hard way. My first PD, after I ranted to him about an unreasonable request a sales rep had made (I was the Promotions Director) asked – “what do you think will happen if you do what he wants?” I responded that the answer was obvious. The rep would then think that he had really pulled the wool over my stupid eyes. As my PD’s head dropped in disappointment he offered this – “No Sharon, he would just be happy.” Everyone wants to be successful and happy and everyone wants to be heard.
7. Being well liked IS as important as being good at what you do. Oh boy. I clung to the illusion that it didn’t matter what people thought of me, it only mattered that they thought I was good. Here’s a truth bomb. You’re going to have to be good at what you do, and be a good, decent human to people while you’re doing it. Spend the time and energy to really connect with the people you work with. You’ll learn about the business from the bosses, and learn a lot about life from your co-workers.
8. There is always room for more pie. First it was TV, then videos, then gaming, then satellite radio, then the internet. There have been predictions of radio’s death forever. Those predictions from Chicken Little will never go away. Do not succumb to the prevailing attitude that anything that cuts into your pie might kill you. Nothing can kill local radio, we are as nimble, creative, flexible and adaptable as they come. The more pie, the better. It’s all pie.
9. Things always work out as they should. This hippy dippy annoying cliché is thankfully true. The crappy co-worker, the out of touch boss, the failed promotion, that WRONG phone number on the direct mail piece, getting fired – it’s never the end of the world. All that “when a door closes, a window opens” is absolutely true. A career is made up of many things, and in the end, they always work out as they should.
10. This too will pass. In your 20’s and 30’s time will feel spacious and benevolent. In your 40’s and 50’s time starts taking on a different look and feel. It can be compressed and mean. Birthdays seem to come around faster and faster. Recognize this and remember that it doesn’t matter whether you presently wish that “this too will pass” or “I hope this never ends.” It will.
I’d love to read your list! Sharon@ByrnesMedia.com If you want to talk to someone about your piece of radio pie – I love radio and of course, pie! Call me maybe? 905-332-1331
Nov 1-30 “Amaryllis Month”: Contact the Huntingtons Society of Canada for info at www.hsc-ca.org.
Nov 1-30 “Arts & Health Month”: an internationally recognized month to celebrate and raise awareness about arts’ contributions to health, healing and wellbeing. See www.artshealthnetwork.ca/content/arts-health-month
Nov 1-30 “Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Awareness Month”: see www.heartandstroke.com
Nov 1-30 “Community Safety and Crime Prevention Campaign.”: See www.safety-council.org for info.
Nov 1-30 “National Diabetes Month”: For info, call Jeremy Brace 416-408-7071 or see www.diabetes.ca.
Nov 1-30 “Movember”: During November each year, moustaches, or “mo’s” sprout on thousands of men’s faces around the world. These men raise funds for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. For info see http://ca.movember.com.
Nov 1-30 “Lung Cancer Awareness Month”: To increase attention to lung cancer issues – early detection, increased research funding, and increased support for those living with lung cancer. Call the Lung Cancer Association 613-569-6411. Email email@example.com.
Nov 1-30 “National Lifewriting Month”: An opportunity to celebrate ourselves and our families by committing our life stories to writing. Preserving our autobiographies in writing allows us to know ourselves better and to share our stories with future generations. For info email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov 1-30 “Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month”: Celebration of North America’s favourite food and #1 sandwich. Info at www.peanutbutterlovers.com.
Nov 1-30 “Vegan Month”: Vegans choose to neither eat nor use any animal products (eg. meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs, leather, fur, etc.) For info call 1-877-GO-VEGAN.
Nov 1 “All Hallows or All Saints Day”: Roman Catholic day commemorating the blessed, especially those who have no special feast days. Halloween is the evening before All Hallows Day.
Nov 1 “National Family Literacy Day”: To showcase the importance of family literacy programs. Call ABC Canada Literacy Foundation at 416-218-0010 or 1-800-303-1004. email@example.com. Web www.abc-canada.org.
Nov 2 “Plan your Epitaph Day”: A forgettable gravestone is worse than death. Check out www.hardiehouse.org/epitaph [click on “The Last Word” link] to get a list of famous quotes on gravestones around the world. Call Lance Hardie at 707-822-6924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Web www.hardiehouse.org/epitaph.
Nov 2 “Sadie Hawkins Day”: Inspired by Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip where women take initiative in asking men out on dates.
Nov 6 “Daylight Savings Time Ends. Standard Time Resumes”: Standard Time resumes at 2am on the first Sunday in November in each time zone. “Fall back” one hour.
Nov 6 “TCS New York City Marathon”: 38,000 runners from all over the world gather to compete with more than 2.5 million spectators watching from the sidelines. Call 212-423-2249. web: www.tcsnycmarathon.org
Nov 3 “Sandwich Day”: 1718 John Montague, The fourth Earl of Sandwich was born in LondonEngland. He was the first Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State, and Postmaster General. He was also an avid gambler, and is said to have invented the sandwich as a time saving device while engaged in a 24-hour gambling session in London in 1762
Nov 6 “Zero-Tasking Day”: Today is the day on which daylight saving time ends – when we turn our clocks back and “gain” an hour. Instetad of filling that extra 60 minutes with more work and stress, use that hour to do nothing but breathe and relax. For info call Nancy Christie at 330-793-3675 or email email@example.com.
Nov 4 “Common Sense Day”: A day celebrating common sense, on Will Rogers’ birthday. Rogers said, “Common sense ain’t all that common.” Call Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy 303-393-0446. email Bud@BudBilanich.com. See www.CommonSenseGuy.com.
Nov 4 “Mischief Night”: Observed in England, Australia and New Zealand, it is the eve of Guy Fawkes Day, an occasion for bonfires and crackers to commemorate failure of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament Nov 5, 1605.
Nov 5-11 “Veterans’ Week”: See www.veterans.gc.ca for details
Nov 6-12 “National Senior Safety Week”: see https://canadasafetycouncil.org.
Nov 3 “National Men Make Dinner Day”: Have a local chef share easy-win recipes men can make at home. Call Sandy Sharkey at BOB-FM at 613-738-2372 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or www.menmakedinnerday.com.
Nov 8 “Abet and Aid Punsters Day”: Laugh instead of groan at incredibly dreadful puns.
Nov 10 “Edmund Fitzgerald Sinking: Nov 10, 1975. The ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald broke in two during a heavy storm in Lake Superior. There were no survivors. A great excuse to play that Gordon Lightfoot song!
Nov 11 “Remembrance Day”: Canadian public holiday to honour those who died in WWI and WWII.
Nov 11 “USA: Veterans’ Day”: Formerly called Armistice Day
Nov 2 “World Kindness Day”: This day represents the pledge to join together to build a kinder and more compassionate world. For info call Random Acts of Kindness Foundation at 800-660-2811, email email@example.com, or see www.actsofkindness.org.
Nov 14 “International Girls Day”: A day to build confidence in girls and celebrate the power of girls to realize their dreams. Call Heidi Roy 905-748-1897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov 14 “World Diabetes Day”: For info see the International Diabetes Foundation at www.idf.org/worlddiabetesday/
Nov 15 “George Spelvin Day”: The anniversary of his theatrical birth. The name is used in play programs to conceal the fact that an actor is performing in more than one role. The fictitious Spelvin is said to have appeared in more than 10,000 Broadway performances.
Nov 16 “United Nations: International Day for Tolerance”: To commemorate the adoption by UNESCO member states of the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance in 1995. See www.un.org.
Nov 17 “Unfriend Day”: Inspired by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Unfriend Day is the day on which Facebook users take an honest inventory of their friends list and eliminate all those who aren’t true friends. By making cuts, they will be able to devote more time and energy to the people who really matter in their life. For info, call Jimmy Kimmel Live at 323-860-5918 or email email@example.com.
Nov 13-19 “Bullying Awareness Week”: This year’s theme is “Stand Up! (to bullying)”. See www.bullyingawarenessweek.org.
Nov 20 “Name Your PC Day”: Hey, why not? People name their boats, and there are a lot more PCs than boats these days.
Nov 20 “United Nations: Universal Children’s Day”: A time to honour children with special ceremonies and festivals and to make children’s needs known to governments. For info, www.un.org.
Nov 21”World Hello Day”: An annual observance, in which everyone who participates greets 10 people. The idea is that everyone says hello to ten people they do not know before days end. Check out www.worldhelloday.org.
Nov 24 “Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day”: We all have at least one extraordinary – and many times weird – ability. Call Shannon Hurd for more info at 720-920-9256, email firstname.lastname@example.org, web www.youruniquetalent.com.
Nov 25 “United Nations: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women”: Observed on the anniversary of the 1960 murders of the Mirabel sisters in the Dominican Republic. See www.un.org.
Nov 24 “United States: Thanksgiving Day”: Legal public holiday in all states.
Nov 29 “Electronic Greetings Day”: Save a letter carrier, save a tree, save a stamp! Today’s the day to send your greetings the free, electronic way, via the Internet!
Nov 29 “Sinkie Day”: “Sinkies” (people who occasionally dine over the kitchen sink and elsewhere) are encouraged to celebrate this time-honoured, casual-yet-tasteful cuisine culture. Email Norm Hankoff, Intl Assn of People Who Dine Over the Kitchen Sink at email@example.com.
Nov 30 “Computer Security Day”: Reminds people to check the security of their computers and data at both home and work. Talk with a computer security expert about how listeners can avoid unnecessary invasions of privacy. Host a demonstration of security tips, software, etc. as part of a remote at a computer store. Visit www.computersecurityday.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After an extensive search, we are proud to announce that radio veteran Sharon Taylor has joined Byrnes Media as a broadcast consultant.
No stranger to the Canadian radio community, Sharon has worked small, medium and major market stations in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. Originally a promotions director and announcer, she quickly took on Programming positions for various radio companies and has spent the last 20 years in the GM chair at broadcast clusters in Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
Ask Sharon why radio was her career choice and she cites the talent. The ones she listened to, and eventually the ones she worked with like Jesse and Gene, the late Tom Rivers, Dick Smythe, Ace Burpee, Kris James, and the list goes on.
Over the past 20 years in a General Manager role, Sharon has operated stations with emphasis on great programming, beating the market, strategic planning, and leading staffs both large and small through incredible change.
Sharon remains one of radio’s most passionate advocates and still turns up her radio/computer/hand-held device between the records.
Reach Sharon at 905-332-1331, ext 23, or via email sharon@ByrnesMedia.com