Tools of the Trade

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Like many–if not most–Radio professionals, I’ve had the good fortune to work for a variety of station owners. Some owners are excellent, and these are the ones that truly understand the business. Often, a future owner starts out as a news reporter or air talent and either work their way up to ownership or inherit family-owned stations. Other owners are not so good, and some — more than I prefer — do serious damage to the Radio profession.

Of the many stations where I have worked, only a very few were truly well-equipped to enable the employees to do their jobs in an expeditious, professional manner. While no owner desires to throw money away, those in the “excellent” category are willing to invest the capital to build an organization of which every employee could be proud.

This is the difference that manifests itself at a live broadcast when one station arrives in a clean, professionally lettered/decorated station van, with wireless microphones, dedicated links to the studio, one or more air talent, a producer, and even the salesperson who sold the broadcast present to coordinate with the client. By contrast, another station arrives with the air talent driving his own personal vehicle, broadcasting the event via his hand-held cell phone or some combination of equipment cobbled together from a foray to the local Radio Shack.

There is much more to this than spending or saving money. Clients can see at a glance which stations care enough to invest in the future — and the future of the advertiser who purchases time on the stations. Employees who care about the owners for whom they work take pride in having the tools of the trade they need to do the job. Salespeople are confident the stations will produce results for clients. Better talent is attracted to successful stations, allowing the owners to build superior staffs.

This all translates into an improved bottom line.  Not in the short term, necessarily, but over time, it is one of the ingredients that builds a good station into a great station.

I only wish more owners could come to realize it.