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IS “COMMON COURTESY” IN RADIO AN UNCOMMON EVENT?

A Loyal Reader Writes:

“I was at one of your radio programming seminars years ago. It made quite an impression on me.

“One of the things you talked about remains with me today, particularly because of its complete absence in modern-day radio: common courtesy.

“You mentioned to program directors how important it was to at least respond to job applicants who have taken the time to apply to your station. I always tried to practice that as a PD/OM.

“Now, even the rejection ‘form letter’ seems to have become a lost art.

“While applying for several jobs recently, I haven’t received the slightest acknowlegment that my materials were even received or considered. On follow-up calls, you’re often treated with the same disdain as a pesky telemarketer: ‘We’ll call you if we’re interested (click).’

“In the age of e-mail, you would think it would be easy to at least send a simple reply: ‘Thank you for submitting your materials. We’ll be in touch if your skills and qualifications match our needs.’ Even a generic response if better than none!

“I understand that in the age of consolidation PDs, OMs and GMs are more busy than they’ve ever been. But common courtesy takes so little time and is so sorely missing from today’s radio business climate.

“As you do your seminars, thank you for continuing to emphasize this. Hopefully, someday the message will fall on fertile ground with broadcasters.”

Actually, this is not a new complaint among radio people. People have voiced it (with justification) since I first entered the business.

If the job opening was advertised — if your application was solicited by the station — a PD should be able to craft a simple e-mail confirming receipt of the materials and thanking the person for applying.

It’s not a matter of “being nice.” It’s a matter of being a professional.

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  • Ray April 24, 2013, 1:32 am

    I must agree. 5% of every station I apply for send rejection letters. The rest. It’s just a mystery if they received my email.

    I too would reply to each one. No matter the amount I’d get as a PD or OM. Yet the PD/OMs we have now seem to have an issue with arrogance. Very shameful. Most stations are only hiring from with in. Why not also advertise we are hiring from WITH IN so people like myself won’t waste our time responding to a lying advertisement for a position that really doesn’t exist. There should be laws to prevent this art of trickery or as I call it LYING on the job.

  • Ted Baker April 24, 2013, 4:30 am

    I used to host a show where I interviewed book authors. Many of them would request cassettes of the interviews. I sent one out and the author called me and told me had appeared on 23 radio shows, had requested tapes from all of them and that I was the first to have actually sent him one. Don’t forget Dan’s famous story about the PD who forgot he had scheduled an interview with a potential part-timer, blew him off, then years later, applied for a job. Guess who was the PD he applied to? The guy he had blown off, who was happy to return the favor.

  • Pottsy April 24, 2013, 5:59 am

    Doesn’t the EEO form in the mail count for something?
    🙂

  • Dan O'Day April 24, 2013, 9:08 am

    @Ted: Oops, check out tomorrow’s blog posting.

  • Rob April 24, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Hi,

    I too used to think that – until you step in the shoes of a PD!

    You have every intention to reply to every email that comes in – even unsolicited ones, yet the reality is, today’s PD is a busy, multi-tasking role. Once you’ve accounted for the air shift, there’s not that many “office hours” left – where you have to ensure the music is scheduled, promos are produced, talent is coached, and that’s all before dealing with enquiries from the sales team.

    Unfortunately, the above all get prioritised, and that doesn’t leave any time to respond to those who email in. Not ideal, but sadly the reality.

    That said – there have been times when I have been able to reply – and I’ve found that you can’t win when you reply. If you try and play the “diplomatic” approach with a “we’ll keep you on file in case anything comes up”, that seems to provide an open invitation to call back on a weekly basis to see if “anything has come up yet”. Or if you reply with some feedback on the demo if it wasn’t up to scratch, that can be met with hostility – and an angry reply! So it’s hard for a PD to win – and often you find that the best method is not to reply at all!

    So sadly, again, it’s the minority who have spoiled it for the majority again.

    My tip if you’re applying to a station – if any feedback is given, take it graciously – whether you agree with it or not!!

  • Bob April 24, 2013, 3:20 pm

    No response to your job application? I agree it’s unprofessional. But I can beat that. How about — no response to a resignation. I worked at a station for 19 years. 17 of them under family ownership. My profile in the market was about as high as it’s possible to get. When a large company took over I stuck it out for two painful years of daily b***s*** before finally quitting — with a written resignation giving the required two weeks notice. Nobody ever responded in any way to my resignation. The only sign they received my resignation was a note on the bulletin board announcing the name of the new morning guy who would be taking over. (He lasted three months) On my final morning show I said a brief “Goodbye” to my listeners — and walked out. Felt good that day.

  • James Rabe April 25, 2013, 9:55 am

    I spent most of 2009 unemployed. Applied to at least 4 jobs a week, often more. Very few people responded to let me know they’d received my application. Part of me wishes they had taken the time to send out a form response via e-mail. If it was snail-mail, sure, I could see how it would take a long time, especially when so many PD’s are really OM’s and really are busy. But e-mail? You can do a daily group response. I’d have been fine with that.

    What really bothered me more? The people that would ask for a phone interview…you’d have what seemed like a great interview … and they’d never get back to you. Did I suck donkey butt? Not what you’re looking for? You had an hour to spare and thought you’d fill it with me? I think it happened four or five times. I know my feelings aren’t the PD’s problem. But if you’ve been on the beach and have tried like crazy to get a job, then you know how any interest gives you hope. A simple, “Hey, it was good to talk with you, but we’re going with Tubby and the Douche from SaskatchewCancVille!” would have been great.

    Twice, I thought I really had a shot at the job, so sent in additional materials (clocks that had been requested, formatics, philosophies, etc). And nothing but silence. You begin to feel like the crazy ex that just won’t let it go.

    So, yeah, I know the bosses are really busy. Anyone still working in radio that has the luxury of just doing one job within the building can count themselves fortunate. But hey…we’re all busy. I was unemployed and I was busy (no, really…that JD wasn’t going to drink itself!).

    In the end, I had three jobs I was working on at once. In all three cases, they would have been great jobs to take….because the managers let me know where I stood. They’re good people…but more than that, they’re professional and respect the people around ’em.

  • Liam May 10, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Just to prove that not every PD is to busy (for which, read “rude”) o reply to an application: Back in 1986, when I was a young jock, I sent an unsolicited tape to the number one station in our market. The PD had a reputation for being pretty tough, so I didn’t hold out much hope of even getting a reply. About two weeks went by and then, out of the blue, a letter arrived with the station’s logo on it!

    The PD thanked me for my tape but informed me that I wasn’t yet at the standard the station looked for. While I was disappointed, I was also thrilled that he had taken the time to listen to my tape! But the letter didn’t stop there; The PD wnet through each part of the tape, explaining what he thought was wrong and how to improve it! The letter was three pages long and, by the time I had finished reading it, I had learned more about radio than anyone else had taught me. Many of the lessons I learned from him I still use today.

    We have since worked together and working with him was even more of a learning experience! I owe a lot of what I know to him. We’re now on rival stations in the same market but I still have the utmost respect for him. His name, since he deserves credit, is Pat Courtenay and he’s currently doing mornings at Radio Nova in Dublin, Ireland.

    So there are a few god guys out here…. Though the fact hat I still remember this nearly 30 years later says a lot about how few they are!

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