Frost Advisory #683 – Does Your Station Have An ACTUAL Program Director?

Titles are funny. For some reason we assume if someone has a title that means that they know how to do the job.

I’ve known organizations that would be transformed if only one simple thing happened – that the one person with a particular expertise was the one person who made the decision in that particular area.

I’ve known far too many programmers that didn’t know how to program, managers that didn’t know how to manage, and engineers that didn’t know how to… whatever it is they do.

It’s ironic that in a business where everyone thinks they are a program director I often find stations that don’t have someone actually directing the programming at all. I recall a PD that didn’t even show up to the coaching sessions when I visited the station.

I’ve known many people that had the title of Program Director, but fewer that were actually directing the station’s programming. Maybe we need a new title. It’s the title of ACTUAL program director.

So, here are three tips to becoming an ACTUAL program director:

  • Play music your listeners love
  • Talk about things they are interested in
  • Don’t waste their time

That’s it? Yep, that’s it.

Now, there are a million details to these simple concepts but if you get these three right you’ll be better off than most.

So what happens when a station doesn’t have someone who actually directs, guides, and supervises the programming? It’s called “atrophy”: defined as degeneration through lack of use. It’s the same concept as to what happens when you don’t clean your house (dust), don’t fill the bicycle tires with air (flat), or don’t put gas in the car (hitchhike).

When a station doesn’t have an ACTUAL Program Director it will atrophy to the point that:

The station will play music that the listeners don’t love
The air talent will talk about things the listener isn’t interested in
The station will waste the listeners’ time.

So the first step to prevent atrophy is to actually listen. If the PD doesn’t ACTUALLY listen then they can’t be an ACTUAL program director.

John Frost

John has been a successful major market DJ and Program Director for such companies as CBS, Gannett, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Multimedia, and Sandusky and publishes the Frost Advisory.

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