As we continue to move through the exciting process of populating our "President of Radio" session at Summit 13 next month in Austin, filling that crucial tenth slot is looking more and more like a major challenge. By opening up that position to anyone in radio, we have opened the floodgates of passion about radio.
As we hoped, there are many broadcasters, toiling away day in and day out, wondering why the industry is in the shape it's in. From this process, we are learning that there are indeed answers in the trenches, and that many of radio's true heroes are in the air studio, traffic department, or stuck in a sales cubicle.
We recently wrapped up a project for iBiquity that provided us with the opportunity to visit several radio clusters all over the country. Over and above that project's objectives, we also learned something very important about radio's workforce. There are many engaged, passionate, and creative people at the station level who could be making bigger contributions to their companies, if there was an avenue provided for them.
I would also make the case that people working in radio today are far more courageous and even more dedicated than those of us who held down station positions in the '70s, '80s, or '90s. In those heady years, radio was a fun, easy, and even glamorous business. It wasn't hard to make money and have fun at the same time. Today, the folks who are plying their crafts in radio have to be dedicated because the perks are often outweighed by hardships and disappointments.
This is another reason why response to "Presidents" has been so gratifying. Check out a few comments from our submissions, and see for yourselves:
"As President of Radio I’d make my first 100 days an effort to implore us all to assess everything we do, asking: "why do we do what we do and how might we do it differently?” I’d urge us to strive to echo our communities and truly relate to our listeners in ways relevant to them each and every hour, each and every day. I’d ask too, that we loosen up, step back and challenge ourselves to re-ignite and re-inspire imagination, creativity and that we try to have a little more fun along the way as well. I’d ask that we take off the tight shoes, leave the tie at home and put a little HEART and SOUL back into what we do."
Terry Tario, VP/Market Manager, GapWest Broadcasting, Idaho Falls/Pocatello
"Radio sees itself as being pounded by undeserving hammers, and continues to apply a “promotion” approach in nearly every communication with its audience. This is an overshadowing sign that the industry still doesn’t understand how a person relates to their online environment, and why youth continue to move away from traditional broadcasts."
Ken Dardis, SVP Marketing, Special Audio Solutions LLC
"We no longer have the tools or the people to “wow” our audience. We have just enough to get by. We need to realize that every market/station is different and will have a different formula for success. Our managers need to spend less time filing reports and filling out paper work and more time managing. I love radio. I love my station and the company I work for. I want to find solutions to our problems and all my experience tells me we need a fundamental change in the way we operate to make this happen. We should be careful to not lose sight of what radio is and invest in creativity, not re-inventing the wheel."
Dustin Carlson, Imaging Director/On-Air, KXTE Las Vegas
"Why does everything, or most everything, have to stay off-air? Anything that's relatable needs to be ON-AIR. Formatics and rules. Who made these up anyhow? A listener does not know what that is. Like a syringe, we need to inject FUN, and EXCITEMENT back onto our airwaves. This is all a part of building our audio environment, and creating an incredible one for the ones we serve."
Julian Nieh, Evening personality, B96 Chicago
"It’s time to destroy the ideal that Marconi built, and start fresh. What comes through the transmitter and over the speakers will soon need to become ‘second fiddle’ to what radio stations provide. Our entire platform should move to the internet and mobile devices, and be able to provide our users with their own ability to control how our brands sound. Instead of talking ‘to the masses’ through a microphone, we should be focusing immediately on how we can start talking to individuals one by one, and addressing their needs and pairing them with advertisers and services that are able to match their desire for control and variety. In a sense---we must ‘hyper market’ ourselves and our clients to meet their individual goals."
Jay Deacon, Digital Media Coordinator, Citadel Grand Rapids
This is just a sampling of what's come in, and we are opening our digital doors to more. If you're sitting out there dreaming about how great this medium could become - again - let's hear from you. Go to www.presidentofradio.com and submit your thoughts. And let's see you in Austin at Summit 13 as Jerry Lee, John Gehron, Pierre Bouvard, Gerry Boehme - and of course, our "Citizen President" - along with the rest of the group to be named soon - come together for what promises to be a unique, electrifying panel that will be long on ideas and short on corporate doublespeak.