When I checked out of my hotel I told the desk clerk, “You may want to have someone check the thermostat in my room. I never could get the room to warm up on the chilly night.”
I shared that the thermostat had numerous functions that made the simple process of making the room warmer almost impossible to figure out.
The desk clerk replied, “Yeah, that remote is pretty complicated.”
It’s easy to wonder why radio stations sometimes decay, or never really become top stations. This needn’t happen. Bill Young, PD of KILT in Houston for many years, was a major influence on me and countless others who worked for him.
Before it became okay to own a zillion stations, Bill had an AM and an FM that were both hugely successful for one reason: he filled the hallways with the most talented people he could find. Then he let them do what they do: create great radio, great Production, great Promotions, and come up with great ideas that challenged the “We’ve always done it this way” prison.
My friend “Brother Jon” Rivers, a great Top 40 jock who then became probably the best-known personality and Programmer in Contemporary Christian radio at KLTY in Dallas, put it this way: “If you hire enough really talented people, you eventually reach ‘critical mass,’ where the station EXPLODES – in a good way. It gets so good in every area that success is just a byproduct.” That’s the Big Goal.
If your station isn’t this way, I would recommend doing everything you can to change it. Hire the brightest minds. If budget is a challenge, hire young, less experienced people and let them grow under this umbrella.
I’m not one of those “everything was better in the old days” people, but in radio, that certainly can sometimes be true. ALWAYS look for the creative “spark” when you make a hire.
I don’t like to brag but I was third chair Sousaphone player in high school band. I could puff out my cheeks right along with the best in a three county radius. My West Texas public school education learned me a lot about good music.
But enough about me. I wonder what we could learn by comparing the design of a radio station to that of a great song.
Let’s start at the beginning. Perhaps you’d like to take notes.
Programming consists of two distinct elements – music, and the stuff that isn’t music. (Well, now! THAT’S some fancy talk!)
Anyone who’s done a team show knows that it’s very similar to a marriage. As a matter of fact, I know many air talents who refer to their partner as “my work wife” (or husband).
You spend a lot of time together. (If you don’t, you won’t be very good.)
You’re working toward shared goals.
You want it to last. (Especially now, “movement” isn’t nearly the same as it was 20 years ago. A new job is pretty hard to find when one company owns multiple stations. If you divorce one station, you probably divorce all the stations in that cluster, or maybe even all the stations in that company.)
So, remember this: If you “cheat” on a team show, it may bring on a divorce. Here’s how I define “cheating” in the radio context:
Hold your ego in check. If you don’t, resentment sets in.
If you habitually talk over a partner, resentment sets in.
If you don’t share the credit, resentment sets in.
And remember that nobody goes to a party to hear someone fight with his wife.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.
For almost a year now life has been very different for most of us. Many aren’t commuting to work resulting in morning and afternoon drive radio listening being very different. Some are homeschooling their kids through no choice of their own. Many have experienced restaurants at minimal capacity, social connections significantly limited, and churches closed. (I’m a part of a new church launch that was shut down longer than we were open.)
Are we grateful for our listeners? Are we grateful they still make us a part of their daily lives?
“Gratitude unexpressed is perceived as ingratitude.”Andy Stanley
For the last twenty years I’ve spent enough time on airplanes and in rental cars that they’ve awarded me me special status. I get to board before the family of 17 heading off to Walt Disney World, a can of Fresca delivered with my licorice chewies, and I get assigned cars with fancy GPS systems that tell me, “You’re going the wrong way!”
So, what do those companies think of me when I’m hardly traveling at all?