10 Resolutions for Radio Broadcasters in 2017

by Sharon Taylor on January 31, 2017

by Sharon Taylor – ByrnesMedia

Recently, a client asked what I thought would happen to radio in 2017.  Given recent events (Trump) I just couldn’t bring myself to even try to predict the future.  Instead, I’ve come up with some resolutions. 

 1.    Stop freaking out about the competition.  Every time you look sideways you lose time.  Straight ahead – always.

 2.    Remember what brought you to the party. If you hear yourself complaining about having to work evenings, weekends, having to leave late or return early from a vacation – stop and smack yourself in the head.  This is, and always has been a 24/7 job and that NEVER changes.

3.    Broaden your narrow definition of radio.  Unless it’s coming from another planet, it’s all “terrestrial”.  Radio can be found on a receiver, an app, it can be beamed by satellite, it’s podcasting, it’s Facebook live, it’s digital and sometimes it has pictures!  Embrace the diversity that technology is bringing to radio, it’s making us richer, not poorer.

4.    Call BS on “there’s no good talent out there anymore”.  That’s complete nonsense and one of the ways to separate the lazy from the diligent.  Talent did not go away with the all night shift, or suddenly now prefers to sell insurance over radio.  Great talent is still out there.  If you’re not interested in finding it, then that’s on you.

5.    Accept that loyalty is very 1992.  The minute that is was okay for companies to terminate every employee for “reorganization”, it was over. Once owners stop being loyal to employees, it was every man for himself.  You should be a whole bunch of things – confidential, ethical, hardworking, but you no longer should feel indebted.  

6.    If you hate your job, get a new one.  Entitlement in radio is an alternative fact. Unless you own the joint, you are always answering to the man. If you are the litigious type, if you like to round up a posse to support your beef, if you get all butt hurt and want revenge on your manager.  Don’t.  Get a new job stat.

7.     If you love your job, double down.  There are people who have been “retired” or “reorganized” that are smarter than you, more talented than you and better looking than you.  (OK that last one is REALLY subjective)  Point is, if you’re working in radio right now, you’re breathing rarefied air.  We are at an incredible place in the historical timeline of broadcasting.  Make a difference.

8.    Solve one of the oldest problems we have.  30 years ago, one of the biggest problems in the business was that we made buying radio really complicated for the client.  Um, it’s like, getting embarrassing already.

9.    Stop pretending that it’s so terrible that people who have been in the business for a million years are let go.  Radio is a merger of art and business, and right now the pendulum has swung hard over to business. If you last 25+ years in radio (a youth powered industry), you have something special and that should be celebrated and recognized.  Radio was NEVER a secure career. We all knew this once and had little problem with it.  How unbecoming and terribly convenient that we suddenly find it horrific.

10.  Try to be a little less greedy.  You know who felt bad for the record companies when their business collapsed?  Nobody.  That’s because record companies (deserved or not) had a reputation of ripping off artists and overcharging customers.  Radio is risking similar sentiment with our drastic cost cutting, slashing of employee counts, reduction of local services and the choking number of commercials. At this point in time, we’ve never needed less self-interest, more.

Finally, one prediction that I can stand behind. 2017 is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.  Thankfully, most of us like bumpy rides.  

Sharon Taylor has spent her entire adult life in a radio station and is now a consultant at ByrnesMedia.  Any new business with Sharon will receive face painting for the kids and a carnation for the ladies.  sharon@byrnesmedia.com

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Jackson February 3, 2017 at 8:45 am

Hey Sharon – hope you are well. I just read the Top 10 list and loved it! I’d like your permission to republish it for my radio friends in our Christian format. I think it would wake them up. Permission?

Ken Singer February 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Excellent article. Celebrating my 50th year in the radio business and feeling blessed to have been a part of this great community called “Radio”.

Don Lehn February 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm

After five layoffs in the past 21 years of radio (just celebrated 38 years in media overall) one of the things I learned was to re-invent yourself. IT IS CRITICAL! I’ve gone from jock (and Sharon was one of my bosses) to News/Sports to now, running a news/info website – FVN Fraser Valley News. I know I am an old dog in a younger driven business, but if you keep options open, It IS AMAZING what will come up. IT IS SCARY….cuz it’s supposed to be scary…..

TVGord February 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I couldn’t agree more with all of these! When I was laid off in 2012, I remembered that I always said I wanted to be a reporter until my bosses told me that I can’t be one anymore. I always knew the day was coming, and the fact that it came after 22 years as a reporter was a definite comfort when the cold realization hit me that it was over.

In my early years in broadcasting, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my news heroes, Linda Ellerbee. After chasing her down for months to promote her book, I finally got to speak with her on the day I was laid off from my first radio job. (I called her publicist and said, “Listen. I was just let go, so it’s now or never!”, and moments later, Linda was on the line.

At the end of the interview, I asked her if she had any advice for a young reporter who’s just lost his job. She said two things. First, make ’em regret it; go out and find yourself a better job and they’ll be sorry that they let you go. (I was laid off on a Friday, and the following Monday, Majic 100 went on the air in Ottawa…I would soon be working for them. They were, incidentally, the first radio station in Canada to go to number one in the ratings with their FIRST book!)

The second thing she said to me was to not focus on the fact that they let you go. Focus on the fact that they hired you in the first place! Those were important words to me, and I repeated them to the guy who had the difficult task of laying me off 22 years later. I meant those words, too. I was truly appreciative of all of the things that my career has brought me, and I wasn’t going to let the end of my personal era be soured by the way it ended.

I’m still working in radio; not as a news reporter, but as a traffic reporter. It’s my bailiwick. It’s what I love. I’ve seen my share of people who loved to gripe about working in radio, but it’s not as though they were sentenced to do it by a judge. They could have left, and some did. I hope I’m still working in radio on my last day on earth, but if that doesn’t work out, I have no regrets. I have the opposite of that.

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