I continue to ask myself what is going on in radio. The business is really not making much sense. It is a people business that seems destined to fall on its sword while attempting to connect with its people audience using computers. This past week the tales of two people I used to work with illustrated the swirling sucking sound around those trying to make a radio career on the broadcast side. The good news last week was that Rob Anthony, Program Director at 94.7WMAS Springfield, MA is leaving the Cumulus station and moving on to a new job as Northeast Regional Programming Manager at Clear Channel. Here is a local guy working his way up the food chain for the last 12-years taking a major step forward. I am happy for him.
The second guy, I will call him Bob, was pretty much a career part-timer, who has miraculously made it through corporate change after corporate change. Not making a ton of money, yet beyond all expectations, a survivor. For him last week, the pink slip arrived. While not a name many in the Springfield radio market would know, Bob was part of what was once the news content generating part of the radio business. Not a glam job, but still an important job. Unfortunately it is a labor intensive job requiring a stock price sapping salary. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, this is a tale that has repeated itself at a pretty torrid pace over the last decade. Anyone in Bob’s shoes has got to figure it is time to explore new career options.
What has me concerned is that the situations of Rob and Bob may not be that different. Word on the street is that Clear Channel may be looking to get rid of program directors at its stations. Does this mean that the newly promoted Mister Anthony could be programming 14 radio stations? Maybe ten or even five radio stations? How does anyone do that well? If that is even possible, it it safe to say that it would be tough to enjoy your job and take any real satisfaction in what could be a never ending headache. Face it companies don’t have managers for when things go well, ultimately a manager is a problem solver. Then there is the question of how long before the layer above the local program director is targeted as a source of ‘savings’?
I really hope I am wrong, but history suggests otherwise.
Since I stole the title of his hit song, I feel I owe Billy Preston this: