Friday, March 03, 2006

The Official Darwin Radio Award of the Year

Goes to my former competition on the "other" country station.

You know. The one I told you about recently that we bought out?

So the entire on-air staff at the Other Country Station was told (save for the morning show, which we signed) that their station was being terminated this Monday.

If you're smart, you perform your remaining shifts to the best of your ability and depart the airwaves with respect and dignity.

Apparently my afternoon competition hadn't read that unwritten rule in the Common Sense Radio Manual.

It's roughtly 4:45, drive time. A majority of people are listening to radio at that time because they're stuck in their car trying to get home.

He decides to open up the mic and say goodbye to his listeners.

Nothing wrong with that. A nice way to create closure for yourself and your listening family.

But instead, he gets the bright idea to take callers.

This is where respect and class were thrown completely to the wolves.

"We've just been bought out by a company, which by the way, isn't local. They're a corporate entity from the East Coast and they don't give a damn about talent."

That statement is only 50% true. Yes, we're not local, but we have personalities (including myself) who've been here for many, many years.

One of our saleswomen was listening at the time to see what they'd say about the changes and quickly called our GM.

He was yanked off the air within minutes.

Our management had offered to help with his new job search and see if there were any openings in any of our other stations nationwide.

Obviously, that will not be happenning.

I have only been released from employment twice in my life. Once in college for a sales job I had no business doing and by this company I'm working for now.

I know. It's a silly story.

Budget cuts were coming down and I was working at night at the time. (Little secret about the music side of the radio industry: most of the smaller markets tape their night shows or bring in syndication.) Since that daypart is usually just a gimmee, they fired me on a Friday.

I was rehired on a Monday because they realized they couldn't take care of all my duties without me.

For a while I had to do a number of different jobs but eventually worked my way into the position I hold now.

I've only had two aspects to my personality that have helped me survive this long and it has nothing to do with talent.

1. Tenacity.

I will work and scrape and fight and even put up with some crap if I can see the end results in the future.

2. Workaholicism

I'm sure that's what they call it. I'm a workaholic. Always have been. I must have absorbed my Dad because he was always working. And when he wasn't at his job, he was working the backyard or garage on something.

Witnessing that for years on end imprinted itself on my DNA somehow.

And I couldn't be more grateful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Radio Waves of Fortune

I have nine lives when it comes to my radio career.

During my tenure here, I've survived the following:

--- 3 ownership changes
--- 3 Program Director's
--- Numerous drug-addicted radio personalities
--- Death threats
--- Stalkers
--- Buyout of our direct competition.

That last one has been the most painful.

For the last six years, there have been two country station's in this market. We've battled back and forth for the lead in the market and lately we've been splitting the dividends nearly equally.

We are really strong in female listeners, they in male.

We have a higher cume (number of listeners tuned in at any give time), they have higher TSL (time spent listening.)

This tennis game of statistics continued until today when the final annoucement was made during a very interesting and stressful meeting.

Apparently, unbeknownst to anyone not in management, the company had been conducting a critically expensive survey to discover who the top recognized personalities were in the market.

The morning show on their station came in first, so now they're doing mornings on the new singular country station. I was moved from afternoons to middays from 9am-2pm because I came in third in the market.

But just barely.

A few more statistical ticks and I probably could have kept my afternoon show, but I'm just happy to still be employed.

We've been simulcasting on both frequencies this week until this coming Monday, when there will only be one country station in town. My boss, who was on in the morning time slot has now been moved to afternoons.

It's all very confusing, I know.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of soulless e-mailers who have been pummeling our e-mail boxes criticizing the decision.

That was to be expected.

What has thrown me for a loop is the level of venimous hate contained within those e-mail's.

Everything from my laugh (which is quite recognizable) to my voice to my sense of humor has been attacked.

I should probably take this whole experience and figure out how to morph it into a life lesson.

I'm not famous, I'm only known in one county in the entire country. But I now understand what it's like to be famous, even if it's on a microscopic level.

No wonder so many famous people turn to booze and pills and sex. One's Self-Esteem can only take so much criticism before it beckons for an escape.

Next week will be just as tough as the people who weren't paying attention last week are going to wonder why Black Eyed Peas and Madonna are on their favorite country station.

That signal just went Hot A/C.

The transition is going to take some time, but since we'll be the only country format in town, our ratings should go up exponentially.

Which will eventuall translate to a bonus or two.

That's if I decide to stay.

I'm happy that I survived, but at the same time, I don't feel like I belong any longer.

That could be the Dialysis talking, but it feels more like my Instinct.

In the past, when I've ignored Instinct's Wise Notion's, I've been punished.

She's always proven right and after the fact, I'm always begging for Her forgiveness.

Let's hope this isn't one of those times.