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WHERE DO I FIND THE TIME

QUESTION:

I just received a copy of Show Prep: Making Every Break Count. I loved what I heard and there are some fantastic ideas. I do have a question for you though. In this current age of radio, how does a person find the time to do the required prep to sound great and topical, plus find the time to do all of the other jobs required at the station? I am at a small market station and am responsible for reading the sports during the morning show, doing the show, logging the commercial computer for the next day or two, plus any other paper work, meetings or promotions that need to be attended to. After I get home, I do a couple of hours of show prep that could be a little better. Plus I have a wife and two kids that need attention. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my job and I'm not whining, it just seems a little overwhelming at times. Any suggestions to this work day that can get a little lengthy?

DAN O'DAY REPLIES:

The two big answers are:

1. You can't do it all and still have a reasonable work week.

2. Learn how to and then force yourself to delegate.

A little quick arithmetic demonstrates that your dilemma is a real one:

Your daily program: 4 hours

Your daily show prep: 2 hours

Paperwork, production, computer, meetings, crises: 4 hours

Average Daily Total: 10 hours

The above is a conservative estimate, and if you're doing any production for your own show the total probably is higher.

I honestly don't think it's possible to do a good show as well as production, prep, and various station duties and to do it in an eight-hour day or 40-hour week. I wish it weren't that way

If you accept that premise, then it might be smart to look more closely at how you are spending your time. Which of your daily tasks can you delegate?

If your answer is "None," please go back and read that question again. I'm not asking which you would enjoy delegating...or which tasks can be done perfectly (or even as well as you do it) by someone else...or if you have a large staff at your disposal.

From your question, I can't tell if you're the program director or "just" a jock. Obviously, if you're the PD then no one at the station should question your prerogative to delegate some of your tasks. If you're "just a jock," you still should have someone at the station who is lower on the pecking order than you and to whom it should be permissible for you to delegate.

Request a meeting with your PD or GM. (Hint: When asked, don't say in advance what you want to discuss. This will make them nervous and worried; when they find out that you're not quitting or suing, they'll be so relieved they'll authorize you to delegate some of your tasks.

What part of your sports reports can you delegate? Ripping the wire? Posting the scores? Recording & labelling the audio? Filing the scripts and/or audio after broadcast?

What about logging the commercial computer? Yes, that's an important daily job. But are you really the only one at your station who can master that task? What about the receptionist? The traffic director (who seems to be a more appropriate choice anyway)? One of the other jocks?

Maybe what stops you is the thought of having to teach someone else how to do it. Well, YOU somehow managed to learn it; is this truly a task that requires great mental ability to accomplish?

Show Prep: Are you gathering daily calendar items, celebrity birthdays, etc.? If so, who can "assign" that to instead? Granted, show prep tends to be a very personal exercise. But if you can delegate just one or two mechanical aspects of it, you'll save some time.

Meetings: Don't attend any that you could skip. (Again, much of your flexibility here will be determined by your job title. It's easier for a PD or GM to say, "I don't have time to go to your meeting" than it is for a jock.)

The two most common obstacles to delegating are:

*The other person might not do it as well as I.

(But the real question is, "Can they do an adequate job at this particular task?")

*By the time I show someone else how to do it, I could have done it myself.

(That's true...The first time, maybe even the second. But if it's a daily or weekly task, after just a couple of weeks you quickly come out ahead of the game in time-saved over the long run.)

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