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. firstname.lastname@example.org