Category Archives: Management

I’ll Just Leave My Literature

dicktaylor
Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

Be it just a one sheet with your latest sales promotion or a full color brochure, if you haven’t met with a person, why would you ever leave your company’s literature behind? Worse, most sales people will enter this hit and run as a “sales call.” It’s not.

Selling is Personal

The sales process is personal. You can’t phone it in or email it in. You have to get in front of the person you want to tell your story to. And if after you’re finished, if the person would like some more information, you can give them one of your brochures.

Circular File

I remember the time I returned from a sales call with one of my radio reps. When I entered the building, my receptionist said there had been a copier salesman who wanted to see me stop in. She said, “I told him you were out of the building.” Then she said “he left you his literature.”

I looked at this very expensive full color brochure on copiers and sadly tossed it into the trash can; the “circular file.”

What a waste of money I thought. Only the previous week, we had just signed a new long-term lease on a copier and we were now out of the market for several years.

I wonder how many calls like the one he made on me would be written down on his sales call sheet. That’s not selling.

Words Matter

When you do get in front of a person the words you use matter. David Letterman once asked long-time White House reporter Helen Thomas who she liked in the upcoming election and she replied “I don’t like any of them.”

David was really asking who she thought would be elected president but Helen thought she was being asked who she personally liked.

In Atlantic City, the program director on my music radio station asked if he could ask one question on our survey being sent out by the sales department to our listeners. The question seemed straightforward: “What’s your favorite song?” The program director of this music station was hoping that listeners would give him songs he might consider programming on our beautiful music station. The sales department was seeking qualitative future purchasing information from our listeners.

What my program director got back was a list of songs that could never be programmed on the same radio station, let alone our beautiful music station. The problem was the question didn’t ask what songs you would like hear on our station, but merely what your favorite song was. Taken out of context, the songs people wrote down were quite diverse.

What Are You Really Selling?

If you’re in radio sales and you think you’re selling advertising, you might be wrong.

What do lawyers, doctors and accountants sell? Legal advice, medical care and financial expertise? And how do you know if it’s any good? Most of us can’t answer that question. But what we can tell you is if we feel comfortable in the presence of one of these people. We can sense if the relationship feels good if our questions are answered honestly, our phone calls or emails are returned quickly and if we leave with a feeling that we are valued.

Radio sales are a professional service that is built on relationships.

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

And you will never build a relationship with anyone by leaving your literature.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Just In Time Learning

dicktaylor
Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

In a post I wrote about “Where You Should Be Recruiting Radio Talent” I mentioned a concept of “Just In Time Learning” that struck a chord with many readers. Commenters said they found the idea interesting and something they had never heard or thought of before. So I thought I’d expand on that thought with a little more detail and why it’s time has come.

Toyota’s Better Idea

Manufacturers used to stock everything they would need to build a product in warehouses. It was expensive and often wasteful. Then the idea of having parts shipped, just-in-time to be assembled into a finished product was introduced.

Originally called “just-in-time production,” it builds on the approach created by the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda, his son Kiichiro Toyoda, and the engineer Taiichi Ohno. The principles underlying the TPS are embodied in The Toyota Way.

College Degree Credential Creep

Once upon a time, college was an optional final stage of learning in the United States. Today, even a Starbucks barista probably has a college degree. So what’s causing this college degree credential creep? In many cases the reason is that employers feel that by requiring candidates to have a bachelor’s degree they will see a higher quality group of candidates. It has nothing to do with what job skills are actually required. It’s used mainly as a screening tool. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the workforce in America gets screened out when a B.A. degree requirement is inserted into the advertisement. Burning Glass researched how the demand for a bachelor’s degree is reshaping the workforce and you can read more about all of this here.

The 20th Century College Education

When the 20th Century began, America had about a thousand colleges and those colleges had less than 200,000 students enrolled in them. By mid-century the number of colleges exploded and, colleges that once had about a thousand students expanded to universities with enrollments of tens of thousands of students.

Unfortunately, our 20th Century higher education system simply wasn’t designed to deliver what’s needed in a 21st Century world.

Your Teacher, Your Doctor and Your Barber

In our high tech world, things can quickly scale. Productivity grows quickly. But a teacher still teaches at the same pace. Your doctor can only see patients at the same pace. And, your barber can only cut hair at the same pace as each of these professions did in the 20th Century.

When something can’t scale, the price to provide the service goes up.

In the case of higher education, this price problem has been compounded by states reducing funding to their colleges and universities, resulting in public colleges being funded more and more by student tuition and lots of fees. This has resulted in a trillion dollar student loan crisis in America.

Certifications vs. Degrees

For the radio industry, the answer may be professional certifications versus bachelor’s degrees. Students simply can’t afford to go to college for four to six years and come out with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt to take an entry level radio job that will pay them fifteen to eighteen thousand dollars a year. Even worse, most likely the job you’re most looking to fill – sales – a college grad won’t have received any course work in learning about. Broadcasting in college is focused on teaching all of the low demand jobs in radio and the classes in the high demand jobs are either non-existent or being eliminated.

The Radio Advertising Bureau offers professional certifications in selling starting with their Radio Marketing Professional (RMP) certification. Burning Glass says that jobs in fields with strong certification and licensure standards have avoided the problem of “upcredentially.” They write: “This suggests that developing certifications that better reflect industry needs, together with industry acceptance of these alternative credentials, could reduce pressure on job seekers to pursue a bachelor’s degree and ensure that middle-skill Americans continue to have opportunities for rewarding careers, while continuing to provide employers with access to the talent they need.”

Radio’s Recruitment Mission

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) need to spearhead the radio industry in creating bonafide certification programs for all job classifications that will be accepted by the radio industry as the equivalent (or better) than a bachelor’s degree. These programs need to be offered to high school aged students and recent high school graduates.

Certification programs can be designed to provide the kind of just-in-time learning needed for each radio position. When a person shows they’re ready to advance, additional certification training can be taken to prepare them for the next higher position.

Done in this way, the training will be up-to-date, cutting edge instruction to ensure the student is learning exactly the skills needed for the position they will be moving into.

Time for Radio to Think Different

The radio industry will need to attract new talent in order to stay viable and continue growing. Embracing a better form of training for the skills needed and making this a requirement versus a college bachelor’s degree is 21st Century thinking.

Many of these programs are already in place, but industry recognition and acceptance of them lags in comparison to requiring a college degree.

It’s time to think differently about how we find, train and grow the radio talent of tomorrow.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Where You Should Be Recruiting Radio Talent

dicktaylorEditor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

For the past half-dozen years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with college students looking for a career in radio. It’s made me think about my own radio career and college education. Let me share with you some observations.

Recruit in High School

Most of the people I know who got into radio did what I did, built a radio station in their parent’s home and began broadcasting to their neighborhood. I did that in the 7th grade; in junior high school. By the time I was in the 10th grade in high school I had earned my 3rd Class Radiotelephone Operators License, Broadcast Endorsed, from the Federal Communications Commission; got my work permit from my state government and was working weekends at one of my local commercial radio stations.

Students today are more advanced than I was when I was their age, yet the broadcasting industry doesn’t start recruiting these days until young people are getting ready to graduate college. Why?

Bachelor’s Degrees

So many radio jobs I post on my “Sales Jobs Board” require a bachelor’s degree. Why?

My entire radio career I had a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and not one broadcasting company I worked for ever asked me about them. It wasn’t until I pursued teaching at my current university that anyone ever asked about my degrees or to provide them with copies of my transcripts showing my GPA – I graduated Magna Cum Laude as an undergrad and was president of my college Honors Society and my GPA in grad school was a 4.0, a perfect score.

Close to two million students today are graduating with their bachelor’s degree and sadly are working at Starbucks just like they were before they earned their degree and amassed a ton of student loan debt.

And, when I think about it, that’s what I did too. I went from working in radio part-time to pay for college and then upon graduation from graduate school went into radio full-time as a program director/operations manager/air talent. The big exception being I did it with no student loan debt because college was more affordable then than it is today.

College Education

I’m not saying a college education isn’t important; it broadens you in ways that don’t pay an immediate return on your investment. In college I really came alive as a student and developed the love of life-long learning. However, nothing I learned in college meant a hill of beans to my career in radio.

I learned programming and operations through regional and national broadcast conferences and by doing the job.

I learned sales, sales management and general management by attending regional and national sales conferences, plus the radio company I went to work for in sales was a very immersive sales learning environment. We were members of the Radio Advertising Bureau and the International Broadcasters Idea Bank and my owner took his entire sales/management team to learn from every sales trainer that came within a hundred miles of our property.

Just In Time Learning

What I had was basically a form of “just in time learning.” Just as manufacturers learned not to stock parts but to have them arrive at just the moment they were needed in the manufacturing process, is exactly how I learned the radio business, one piece at a time from the ground up.

The way higher education is today is like stocking parts in the days of manufacturing yore. So much knowledge is acquired that may never be used or when it is needed may be sorely out-of-date.

Our 20th Century higher education system simply wasn’t designed to deliver what’s needed in a 21st Century world.

Where to Find Radio Talent

If you want to find radio talent you should be in the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools of your community. I really believe you can’t start too young in cultivating the radio talent you will need in the future. But waiting until our youth graduate college is simply too late.

Economically, this makes sense for both radio operators as well as students. A young person graduates high school with zero student loan debt; unlike a college student that accrues tens of thousands of debt in college.

As your young employee grows, your radio station could then support more formal education with your local community college, university or professional training through broadcasting’s professional organizations like the National Association of Broadcasters or the Radio Advertising Bureau. When the student is ready, the additional education is provided.

Wharton & Wizard Learning

I paid to attend the Wharton School in Philadelphia as part of the RAB’s Sales Management Training; training so good that I used it for the rest of my professional radio management career and at the university in my classrooms.

Roy H. Williams’ Wizard Academy was inspirational, motivational and exceptional in learning more about selling radio and writing persuasively (something not taught in colleges, except in my sales classes).

Degrees, Wisdom or Experience

Colleges and universities have no metric for wisdom or experience when it comes to hiring/retaining professors. They hire/retain based on degrees, not experience or wisdom or teaching ability.

Broadcasters could care less about degrees. What they care about is results. If you’re an air talent, can you get ratings? If you’re a sales person, can you make sales? Those are the things that are important to broadcasters.

Where “once upon a time” universities were measured by enrollment numbers, the metric is moving to one of graduating students and improving the graduation rates; which were anywhere from 27% to 60% for students graduating after six years at four year institutions.

Colleges need to change the way they hire/retain faculty in the 21st Century as the focus goes to getting results versus just filling seats in classrooms.

Unfortunately, while what employers’ needed never perfectly aligned with what a college education prepared graduates’ skills for; the mismatch in 2016 has reached a tipping point. All the more reason that the broadcast industry needs to re-think how it recruits talent and when it begins the process.

Broadcasting is a great business, but it’s a people business that needs to attract talent to stay great.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.

It’s Another Fine Mess

dicktaylorEditor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

laurel__hardy_275“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Variations of this line were always a part of Laurel and Hardy movies. In fact, the pair made a film in 1930 with the title “Another Fine Mess.”

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about things I had learned at the Radio Show 2016 in Nashville and one of those things was about “sharing your messes” during a presentation I attended given by John Bates. What I will share today are some of the points John made amplified by my own personal experiences in the classroom and on the job.

3 Ways to Inspire & Connect

John said there are three ways to inspire and connect with people or an audience. Logic is not one of them. We are emotional creatures and to engage people you first need to touch them emotionally. I know from my sales training from the Wizard of Ads – Roy H. Williams – that you first must touch a person’s heart before you will win their mind and their wallet to buy whatever it is you’re selling.

John next said our human eyes are unique. We are the only living creature that has white in our eyes. We always know where a person is looking (or not looking). Our eyes enable us to better cooperate with one another.

Our conspicuous eyes mean we can immediately sense authenticity when dealing with others.

Your Message is Your Mess

I don’t know about you, but over my career I’ve learned that success teaches you very little. It’s our screw-ups that are the great teacher of life’s lessons.

When things are going great, the natural impulse is to not do anything to screw it up.

Likewise, when teaching another person, only sharing your successes imparts very little knowledge. However, when you share the things that went wrong and how you learned from these little disasters and how you changed course to not have something like that happen again, real knowledge is shared.

Les Brown puts it this way: “People don’t connect with your successes; they connect with your messes.”

Life’s real knowledge message is in your mess.

Let Me Tell You about the Time I Screwed-Up

My students tell me how impactful my sales lectures are when they contain stories about the things I did wrong, learned from and grew from, by messing it all up.

Wow, they say, a teacher that doesn’t know it all, that makes mistakes and became a better person through failure. It lets them know that failure isn’t fatal and can provide some benefits.

I vividly remember the time a new hotel came to town and I went in to see the new manager spewing facts and figures a mile a minute. I had thoroughly prepared for the meeting and I was there dumping all of my prep on his head. The only problem was, I had not touched this new manager on a emotional level and I never asked him what he wanted to achieve. I would be the only media property to not be on the initial buy.

I went back to see the new manager, hat-in-hand, to find out what I did wrong. I’m grateful that he would share with me why I wasn’t bought. Turns out, I was such a fast-talker he figured me to be the conman in the group of media sales people who had initially come to call on him. What he quickly learned was, I knew my stuff and that we should work closely together going forward. It was my first impression that needed working on, he would tell me.

I would learn that when you meet someone for the first time, you need to not “spill all your candy at the door” but shut-up and listen first. Establish common ground and build rapport on which a solid relationship can be built upon.

Losing that sale taught me a valuable lesson that would greatly improve my new radio sales career.

Make a Difference

So don’t be afraid to share yourself with others. Let them in and show them you’re human.

My sales mantra when calling on a new business was always make a friend. People buy from people they know and like. They buy from their friends.

People who listen to the customer, define how success will be measured and make a difference will never have to worry about making a sale.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.

What I Learned About Being a General Manager

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

dicktaylorBy:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

I loved being a general manager of radio stations. It wasn’t the job that first attracted me to radio however; it was to become a disc jockey. From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a DJ on the radio. My first radio microphone was made out of tinker toys. Then I got a Caravelle (pictured below) transmitter for Christmas from Santa Claus and I took to the air waves.

radio_240I started in commercial radio when I was in the 10th grade in high school, getting my FCC 3rd Class Radio-Telephone Operator Permit. Due to my age at that time, I needed to get a work permit. The Massachusetts employment office that issued those types of permits for underage workers asked me what type of employment I would be doing. I told them, I’m going to be a DJ. They didn’t have a category for DJ in their book, so they wrote “Talent” on my work permit and sent me on my way. I never mentioned that I would also be taking transmitter readings every half hour standing next to a 1,000-watt broadcast transmitter. If I had, they would never have issued me a work permit, as that environment would have been considered to hazardous for a person who was only 16 years old.

As I look back on it, it almost seems ironic that I could have a license to operate a commercial radio station, but my mother would have to drive me to work and pick me up because I couldn’t get a driver’s license to operate an automobile.

In time, I would learn that what I really wanted to do in radio was not be the person who was the product, but the person who ran the whole enchilada; also known as the general manager. To get to that lofty office, I would need to leave the air and programming and go into sales.

Once in sales I quickly rose through the ranks to sales manager, station manager and finally general manager. Yes, at the ripe old age of 32, I was a general manager in Atlantic City, New Jersey; the world’s famous playground.

Lessons Learned

So what did I learn almost three decades later? A career is not a sprint, but a marathon. You never know everything you need to know. Every day is a learning experience. That your attitude becomes the attitude of your employees, so keep it positive.

Success

Like making a baby, you can’t speed up the process of success in life. It takes time. Repetition is key. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers wrote it takes about 10,000 hours of repetition and practice to master anything.

While Radio Ink Magazine named me one of the best general managers in radio before I left the industry to become a broadcast professor at a university, I would find that I would learn even more about my craft trying to teach it to others. So today, I think I’d be a much better general manager than when I took a sabbatical to enter teaching.

Love

They say if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. That was true for me about my radio career for over four decades and it’s been just as true for my teaching these past six years. But here’s the big take away: You can love your career, but it will never love you back. So you have to make time for the things that do love you back like your family. I may have been a hard working, successful radio general manager, but I never missed any of the special moments in my boys’ lives as they were growing up.

But the real credit goes to their mother. She made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom – the most important and difficult career choice on the planet – and the credit for the successful men both of my sons turned out to be, goes to her.

Marriage

Sadly, while I tried to be a good dad and a good radio general manager, I probably was lacking in the husband department. The mother of my sons and I would divorce. My life was not in proper balance. Don’t let this happen to you.

Stay Curious

When you’re starting out, you are very curious about how everything works. You’re like a sponge trying to soak it all in. Don’t lose that curiosity. Always pitch in and do whatever needs to be done. Always listen to the ideas of others; it might surprise you how much they know. Make every day a new day to learn and grow and be better than you were yesterday.

Management

When you manage people, unlike things, know that each one is different. Each person is an individual and there’s no “one size fits all” approach. Celebrate your people’s victories, benchmarks and life events. Empower your people to not need you. Compliment in public, correct in private. Compliment in a note, correct face-to-face.

Listen

You were born with two ears and one mouth. Listening is what you should be doing twice as much as a general manager. Just because you’re the GM doesn’t mean you have all the answers. You don’t. Collaboration is the 21st Century Skill Set. It’s been my experience that often the answers to the problems confronting my radio stations were inside my own workforce. As manager, it was my job to get the answers out of them.

My Boss is a Bastard

This is a tough one. You never really want to work for a boss who’s an S.O.B. But sometimes family obligations put you in that uncomfortable position of just having to tough it out until you can make a change. I tell my students when we go over case studies of employees working for a bastard that unlike now – when they are students with no other people they are responsible for – it seems like it would be easy to just walk away from a terrible employment situation, but when you have a mortgage, car loan, kids, etc. you can’t. But what you can do is begin your job search and get out of there as soon as you can. Bad work relationships are toxic. Don’t stay in one.

It’s About More than Work

New managers sometimes have a hard time understanding why everyone isn’t as dedicated as they are to their job. But often, the reality is, your employees have lives outside of their workplace and those lives aren’t always smooth sailing. Each of us has a finite emotional capacity. So if their home life is stealing more than 50% of their emotional capacity, it leaves less capacity for the office. So if one of your best employees is suddenly under-performing, explore what’s going on in the rest of their life and how you, as their manager, can help them through this rough patch in their life. People will never forget how you made them feel when they needed your help and understanding the most. Even better, when that rough patch is over, you have one of the most empowered and dedicated employees now on your team.

Does Everyone Share the Same Mission?

Every company has a “Mission Statement.” Most are too long and rarely remembered, let alone embraced and understood by every employee. And that’s a BIG problem for you, the general manager.

There’s an old story about President Kennedy visiting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration complex when he stopped and asked a person cleaning the floor what his job was. The person said their job was to put a man on the moon. Now that’s a focused workforce. What would your people say they do in your radio station if someone were to ask?

Don’t wonder what the answer is, ask your people. Get everyone on the same page.

Facebook

The world we live in today has blurred the lines between our work life and our home life. Our computers, tablets and smartphones now mean we are always available to our employer and always able to connect with our social networks. So should you ban Facebook? I was asked do to that once by one of my employees. My response was “no” I would not ban Facebook. And here’s why: First, that person got all their work done and done correctly. That person was available to me at any time 24/7 if I needed something fixed regarding our program logs. If I could invade their home life, if necessary, then their home life could invade my work place.

The good news is recent research has shown that employees who take social network breaks online are more productive than those that don’t. Everyone needs to take a break and refresh to continue to perform at the highest levels they are possible of achieving.

Sales people are known to take a break after a lot of “No’s” and hit some golf balls at the driving range to refresh and get back to closing sales.

Personal Ethics

You know right from wrong. Never let any work place or manager compromise your personal ethics or values. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. And if that “duck” doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Take a stand. Speak up, especially if you’re the manager because your people only have you standing between them and the top management of your company.

Failure is Learning

Want to learn more, fail more often and more quickly. Sounds counter-intuitive but research has proven that failure is all part of the way we learn. We only eliminate the unsuccessful paths by finding out if they lead us to success or not.

I had the opportunity to visit the Thomas Edison laboratory in New Jersey. A sign in the lab where Edison had invented the light bulb had this Edison quote: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” Don’t fear failure. Learn to take risks.

Management vs. Leadership

In the end, what you really want to become is a leader. What’s the difference you ask? Peter Drucker says it best:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.