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radio program director operations manager

A Loyal Reader Writes:

“Have you ever been asked or recruited to return to the world of day-to-day radio — perhaps as a cluster Ops Manager, General Manager, or group exec? Would you do it? Why or why not?

“(Okay, that’s actually three questions … but I’m curious to know what the circumstances would need to be to get you to ‘drive the bus’ again.)”

Until maybe 10 years ago, I used to get Morning Show offers several times per year.

Would you do it?


Why or why not?

1. I don’t like working for other people. Long ago I decided that if I have to work for an idiot, I might as well work for myself. I prefer to have as much control over my destiny as possible — which means I get credit for my failures and for my successes.

2. One of my definitions of success long has been “not having to leave home.” Although I do spend a lot of time on the road, I spend zero time commuting. (The commute from my bedroom to my office takes approximately 30 seconds.)

3. I have no desire to spend any of my life in endless meetings or writing pointless reports.

4. I prefer to work my own hours (even if they’re far more than they’d be if I worked for someone else).

All of the above notwithstanding, I do still enjoy working with radio stations and groups that want to achieve meaningful morning show ratings growth or increased client retention via more effective radio advertising.

Thanks for your question. And now let’s continue with this week’s countdown….

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  • chuck boozer January 4, 2011, 1:12 am

    dan, good stuff! I was out for 5 years and selling cars for the Hendrick family in Charlotte NC, and got called back up to play again. Well, kinda. Myrtle Beach, SC. But I do feel like I’m in the bonus round of life and loving it. By the way, the idiots of radio pale in comparison to the folks of the car business! I was called every name in the book and i can now put up with about any GM, OM, or PD. Choir boys! chuck ps, have always read you!

  • Mark Barron January 4, 2011, 4:41 am

    I don’t know why I would… I do not miss anything about it… I used to miss the on-air stuff… I would have to be offered ridiculous money, and that ain’t happening!

  • Liz Boyer January 4, 2011, 10:03 am

    Good question, great answer! Have been ‘courted’ to return to radio via voicetracking…wavering…

  • Tom Bass January 4, 2011, 10:14 am

    If the right people at the right station and the right company were to come together – yeah. The odds of that all coming together…pretty slim.

  • Alicia Griggs January 4, 2011, 10:14 am

    Yes I would, in a red hot second!

  • Dan Garfinkel January 4, 2011, 10:15 am

    Why? Has Hell frozen over?

  • Bryan Bee January 4, 2011, 10:16 am

    yes dan, yes i have. twice. hear that ex-employers 😉

  • Donny Lehn January 4, 2011, 10:16 am

    Id did, a couple of times, its like the line in Godfather 3–everytime I try to leave they keep pulling me back…

  • Jane Kelly January 4, 2011, 10:17 am

    I came back yesterday to WRTI in Philadelphia!

  • Steve Johnson January 4, 2011, 10:18 am

    Wow..I’m really enjoying still being in the trenches—-it appears alot of people are pretty burned out by what appears to be their former passion. It’s just as well that you look for another job if radio is such a turnoff!

  • Rick Archer January 4, 2011, 10:18 am

    Hmmm let me see….NOT A CHANCE IN HELL! NO freedom to be yourself. It’s all business now..less entertainment.

  • Donny Lehn January 4, 2011, 10:19 am

    @Rick- there is a small rennaissance in Canada. Fabmar and Zoomer radio are actually run by BROADCASTERS!.. Just outside of Vancouver is 89.5The Hawk in Chilliwack ( owned by Fabmar)- I do morning news and co host the morning show and after 32 years, radio is FUN again– why– PERSONALITY- I can be the sarcastic morning news moth again–woo hoo !!! ( AOR/Classic Rock)

  • Donny Lehn January 4, 2011, 10:20 am

    er mouth …moth–ya you know– whatever..lol..

  • Cindy Huber January 4, 2011, 11:44 am

    When I reduced to nothing but a “budget cut” I resolved never to go through the “BS” again, and I had an awesome 5 1/2 months…then I started missing it again…I think drinking would be easier. I think it’s the show business aspect, the getting up in the morning with the “I’m going to entertain” mentality that I missed, and my kids weren’t laughing at my jokes anyway. Less freedom then when I started 26 years ago, but you know what, I’m trying to be like Madonna, reinventing myself in the business.

  • Rick Archer January 4, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I could write page after page on what radio is doing wrong. too many people “playing it safe”.

  • Rich Roszel January 4, 2011, 2:01 pm

    I left the day to day radio business 20 years ago and began work doing voiceovers and audio production full time. Haven’t regretted it. As Tom Bass said earlier, given the right circumstances, I might go back. But I’m really enjoying being my own boss and working in my own studio.

    I enjoyed working with passionate people in personality-driven radio. It’s harder to find that mix and that what makes the draw back into radio less attractive. I’m not burned out on it, and to respond to Steve Johnson’s comment: you’re right — though I don’t think it’s a case of Radio being a turnoff. The turnoff comes in working for radio BOSSES who don’t really understand Radio and treat everyone involved as an expendable crew member.

  • Mark Douglas January 4, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Yes. Real radio. Real personality radio. Real personality radio that serves the community. Recently listened on-line to a station that changed format to easy AC. No personalities, with the same tired mix of ‘safe’ songs. Bored out of my gourd. How did those songs get ‘safe’ in the first place? They had to have an initial play sometime, somewhere. If you have to play it safe all of the time, at least give me some personality instead of some canned generic announcer thanking me for listening to the same tired tripe. Am I being cynical?

  • Kevin Hilley January 5, 2011, 3:16 pm

    I have so many friends who used to be in radio. I’ve been blessed to be pretty much continuously employed in this biz for the past 25 years. While not all of them have been great, I count myself fortunate to have landed with a small, local family owned group (yes, they still exist) 3 years ago. After getting burned by one of the big 3, I considered getting out, but as others have already said, once that bug bites, well you know. If you’re able to be happy doing something else, God bless ya! Maybe it’s to my ultimate undoing, but so much of who I am is wrapped up in my morning show. Hard to imagine not doing that.

  • Rick Archer January 5, 2011, 7:29 pm

    Perfect example: Morning show mentions that Gerry Rafferty had passed away. One of the host’s says, “oh we can’t play the song, but Baker Street, what a great song”….Hello….PLAY THE DAMN SONG! At least a compilation of Baker St, Right Down the Line and maybe something from Stealers Wheel. How hard is that? Hmmm that would kill what….a whole 90 seconds TOPS! Tell me an AOR/Classic Rock that doesn’t use CCR like we use to use stop sets? It’s SO BAD you just can’t (or I can’t) listen to it anymore.

  • Joe Augustin January 6, 2011, 8:43 am

    Radio’s always been that siren for me… Singing that mesmerizing song that each time has led to me crashing my boat up against some new “rocks”. Each time, I survived. Each time I said, I’ll never do that again.

    Now, 5 shipwrecks on, I’m hearing a familiar voice from across the water in the heavy mist… and she’s calling my name.

  • Scott Snailham January 6, 2011, 10:48 am

    If you can’t play Gerry Rafferty, don’t mention it. simple. I was listening to 60 @6 on Sirius/XM with their morning show guy yesterday, and he played clips of rafferty cuts, even though the material was largely 70s. Listeners don’t live in a glass bubble. @ steve johnson “It’s just as well that you look for another job if radio is such a turnoff!” Why do people in Commerical radio think that is “radio”? it isn’t. Radio is the medium, the commerical radio industry is where most people work for a living. There’s many kinds of “radio”, internet, community non profit LPFM, podcasts, are also out there as listener choices, and often with former professionals volunteering their time. I know the industry is close knit, but you can’t deny that the new media is out there. I got another job because the commerical radio industry burnt me out and turned me off. Made me jaded, and, although I didn’t see it at the time, bitter. I LOVE the MEDIUM. It started out as a hobby, went pro, then turned into a hobby again and I have been very happy doing what I want to for fun. Screw Demographics…LOL! A LPFM I volunteered with after I left the industry got my spark started again. It’s not the industry it was even 20 years ago. Town to town up and down the dial and playing the schmooze game I’ve come to realize only recently was never my thing and I probably should have never entered the industry in the first place because of it. Still, I am thankful of my time I had fun and it’s always to watch what is going on. It’s enjoyable to me to be a “educated listener” 🙂

  • Nathan Michael Palma January 10, 2011, 5:41 am

    Once in radio, always in radio.

  • Steve Johnson January 10, 2011, 9:51 am

    “radio” apparently is up for definition! For the sake of brevity and a commonality of knowledge on Dan’s website using a universal term was simply a way to cut through to the point. With changing social media it may very well be time to re-define what is exactly meant by using ‘radio’ and how that impacts all of us in the business. However, in our discussions let’s not be sidetracked by minute points that move away from the tope.