WHAT I'VE LEARNED IN 20 YEARS
It's hard to believe that 2015 with mark my 20th year in the radio industry. I started to think about all of the things that were drilled into my head as "the rules" and other bits of trivia that I've picked up over the preceding two decades. Some may be unique to my market or workplace and others universal to the industry.
1. "FAME, FORTUNE & SECURITY"
When I first started in the broadcasting business in 1995, someone once told me this: "You'll never make money as a DJ. You want money? Go in to sales. You want notoriety? Be on the air. You want job security? Go into engineering. But there's no radio job that will give you all three."
2. "IF YOU'VE STOLEN FROM ME, YOU'VE STOLEN TWICE."
I know my original ideas are far outnumber by the ones I've "liberated" from other sources.
3. "LISTENERS DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE"
(Actually they do, when you give them something to care about).
4. "WHEN THE OFFICE CONTROLLER WEARS HER BLUE SUIT, SOMEBODY'S GETTING FIRED."
Thankfully I never had to experience that.
5. "THIS AIN'T VOLLEYBALL. DON'T SPIKE THE METERS"
Running the board ain't just about pushing buttons. Gotta watch your levels too.
6. "COMMUNICATION IS OUR BUSINESS, NOT OUR POLICY".
So many times the right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing and vice versa.
7. "YOU'RE LUCKY TO HAVE THIS JOB"
This objection to asking for a raise has become more relevant as time goes on.
8. "THERE ARE THREE OTHER PEOPLE WHO'D TAKE THIS JOB IN A HEARTBEAT"
Pre-consolidation era threat
9. "THERE ARE THREE DOZEN PEOPLE WHO'D TAKE THIS JOB IN A HEARTBEAT"
Consolidation era threat
10. "THERE ARE THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE WHO'D TAKE THIS JOB IN A HEARTBEAT"
Post-consolidation era threat
11. "WHAT GOES ON IN THIS ROOM, STAYS IN THIS ROOM"
Radio studios are soundproofed for a reason.
12. "TREAT EVERY MIC LIKE A LIVE MIC"
And be sure to pot down your Vox Pro while editing, too!
13. "FUCK IS AN INDUSTRY TERM, WE JUST CAN'T USE IT ON THE AIR"
Fuckin' A Right!
14. "DEADLINES MEAN NOTHING IF THERE' S MONEY TO BE MADE"
Can't tell you how many times I've been undermined by this.
15. "WHEN IT COMES TO COPY CHANGES, PRODUCTION PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW"
16. "WHEN IT COMES TO FORMAT CHANGES, PRODUCTION PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS THE FIRST TO KNOW"
17. "THEY ALWAYS WHIP THE HORSE THAT PULLS"
I've seen this time and again. The guy who always does his job, does it well, and does it quickly, will certainly get more work dumped on him.
18. "RADIO IS IMMEDIATE, BUT IT IS NOT INSTANT"
Things take time to get on the air. Though it may seem magical from another point of view, we actually do have to work to make audio come to life.
19. "TAPE IT AND SHAPE IT"
Live interviews on a music station, especially in the PPM era can be a buzz kill. Record your stuff, edit it and make it the most impactful you can make it so the audience doesn't lose interest and change the channel (or nowadays switch mediums).
20. "POOR PLANNING ON YOUR PART DOES NOT DICTATE AN EMERGENCY ON MY PART"
If only that one would work (see number 15)
There you go, twenty things I've learned over my twenty years in radio. What are some things you've learned in your time in this business? Share 'em in the comments. I'd love to steal, um, learn a few more things for my next 20 years in radio!