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10 EYE-OPENERS FOR FIRST-TIME STATION MANAGERS
by Dave Gordon

1. The Staff Won't Trust You at First.

Getting to know a new manager is an unsettling period for employees. Start by sharing attainable, short-term goals. Then progress to long-term dreams. Make your vision your staff's vision.

2. Let Your Employees Do Their Jobs.

By design, programmers are control freaks. As a manager, the desire to do others' jobs will result in either disgruntled employees or lazy employees. Hire qualified people and lead them.

3. Make Your Knowledge Their Knowledge.

Immediately start training others for your job. Give them the confidence to become leaders.

4. Spend Time With Your Department Heads.

Get to know them and let them get to know you. Keep your door open to them and take their calls. They can turn a good manager into a great manager.

5. You Can't Solve Every Employee Complaint.

Personalities will clash. Equipment will fail. Some employees will out-perform others. Once these problems are fixed, others will arise. Through adversity, remain a positive influence for your staff.

6. Uncertain Promises Will Get You in Trouble.

Clients and community groups will ask for the moon and expect to receive it. So will some employees. Avoid making any promise that will compromise the station or your ability to lead your staff. Broken promises are not soon forgotten.

7. Every Letter Deserves a Response.

If a listener, advertiser or staff member took the time to write the station manager a note, take the time to respond. This applies to electronic messages, too. You will earn valuable points as you share your time.

8. Thank You Notes Build Credibility.

Did you receive a business card from the person who complimented the station at a concert? Show that you value him and his encouragement by dropping a thank you note.

9. Budgets Are for Real.

Make sure your first budget is prepared with an interested and experienced advisor. Refer to historical numbers often. Do not leave anything out.

10. Your Best People Will Be Offered Other Jobs.

Providing a positive working atmosphere and a fair wage are key managerial responsibilities to employees. If your facility becomes a training ground for other stations, learn the lesson and take the compliment.

Dave Gordon is General Manager of KLUP-AM and KSLR-AM in San Antonio, Texas.

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