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Radio Program Directors:

Don’t hotline your jocks.

“Hotlining,” of course, consists of hearing the air personality make a mistake and immediately calling him on the phone during his airshift to scream at him.

Don’t do it.

It’s a sure-fire way to ruin the rest of the jock’s show.

It’s a power trip.

The embedded message in a hotline call is, I can hotline you, but you can’t hotline me. I’m the boss!”

Have you ever been hotlined?

What was your immediate response as soon as you saw that line flashing?

I know what it was. Whether uttered aloud or thought silently, your response consisted of two words:

“Oh, ____.”


You’re a dedicated radio program director. You work long and hard, trying to perfect your product and build your audience…and then some idiot disc jockey screws it all up by playing a record out of rotation or reading the wrong liner card.

You go nuts. How hard can it be to follow a music clock when the computer has done all the work for you?

You’re furious. You want to kill the guy.

You know what? It goes with territory. That’s part of the frustration of being a program director. That’s why you get the private office and the business cards and maybe even your own parking space.

As Super Chicken was fond of reminding Fred, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”

If you want to motivate your staff to its peak performance, you wait until after the jock has finished his air shift and after you’ve calmed down.

By that time, you might decide it really isn’t worth talking about.

If you decide it is worth discussing, you pick a time, place and manner which enable you to motivate the jock to perform better, rather than simply to let off steam and ruin the rest of his show.

P.S. If a consultant ever hotlines a jock, the consultant should be fired.

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  • Jym Dingler November 29, 2012, 10:42 am

    We used to unscrew the overhead hotline warning light at KFRC. There’s another problem with hotlines: When the general manager’s wife has the number and calls with programming dictates. That’s a sure sign the ship is taking on water.

  • Ted Morro November 29, 2012, 11:30 am

    Amen,..it can usually wait

  • Dave B November 29, 2012, 11:55 am

    Worse than “hotlining” – “Live snoops”

    My last PD who for the sake of this conversation we’ll just call DICK, didn’t just ‘phone hotline” me, on my drive show, but moved his office from upstairs to just outside the studio, so that everytime I (or the other daytime talent) did a link he wasn’t completely happy with, he’d critique it there and then… I once even got a telling off while doing a christmas show not only about the “link” itself, but he saw on the webcam that I was on facebook!!! (even tho facebook is used to promote the station!) The sad thing about this too is he was on holiday on the other side of the planet!

    He also once told me my 30 second links were too long!

    He doesn’t work in UK Radio any more!!!