I just came across a letter from a longtime major market jock that I printed nine years ago in my Radio Programming Letter.
That was long before the financial world collapsed and so many radio jobs (and retirement accounts) disappeared.
But perhaps some of it will strike you as still being relevant….
“Even though I have retired from the biz, I do like to keep up- to-date and enjoy your newsletter tremendously.
“This is probably one of the things you have never thought about; I know sure didn’t: What do you do when it is time to get out? I spent 23 years as an on-air personality, filling about every position there is. At one time or another the burn-out gets to all of us, and I must say my choice to leave at the time I did was the right one.
“What I wasn’t prepared for is how much I miss being on-air. It is something that everyone needs to think about. To work that long in the radio business constitutes a love affair, and it is just as traumatic when it ends as any relationship is.
“It is unfortunate, but in many cases age really does make a difference when you are applying for even a part-time job. It’s never spoken; everyone knows you can’t say it. But after you have talked to a few PDs you can see the signs, the look of fear. They wonder, ‘Is this going to be me in another 15 or 20 years?’ Then the reality hits: Yes, it could be them.
“We all need to give a little thought and preparation for when that day comes.”
Probably the most memorable moment of that year’s PD Grad School — perhaps of ANY radio event I’ve ever attended or been part of — occurred when the legendary Dr. Don Rose reflected on his career….
O’DAY: Don, at my request you sent me a bunch of tapes (some of which we’re hearing today) to go through in preparation for this event. And you included a note saying, “I’m sorry it took so long to get these to you. I couldn’t understand why I kept putting it off until I was dubbing the WFIL tapes and I noticed there were tears streaming down my face.”
What did you mean by that?
DON: The memories were great, but they also were painful. To think that such a big part of my life was gone, never to return, and that the only place Dr. Don Rose exists is somewhere in outer space, where I’m sure the radio signals are still traveling….
Later during that session, Dr. Don offered a piece of advice to all radio people:
“Spend as much time on your family as you do on your career.”
Sooner or later, your career will end.
Do you have a plan for what happens then?
Financially? Personally? Spiritually?
Do you have ANY interests outside of radio?
Have you invested the time and effort required to build rich, lasting relationships with family and friends?
Do you assiduously save some portion of every paycheck? Do you care enough about yourself to insure your financial security for the rest of your post-radio life?
Here’s a tip that can turn you into a millionaire…eventually. Give yourself a 15% pay cut. That is, automatically deposit 15% of each paycheck into a savings plan. If you start doing that at least 20 years before you retire, your retirement probably will be more financially comfortable than your radio career.
You can’t do that? You make too little already? Here’s a test:
What would happen if tomorrow your employer said that due to economic hard times, your salary is being reduced by 15%?
Would you starve? Be evicted from your apartment or have the mortgage on your house foreclosed ?
Probably not. Probably you’d find a way to cut corners, do some belt-tightening, and continue.
If you’re a typical credit-card borrowing radio workaholic, do yourself a favor. Give yourself a 15% pay cut. And take 15% of the time you’re spending at work and invest it at home.