In the midst of all the layoffs in radio, there's a group of people who have been almost totally ignored - those that didn't get fired.
While our sympathies go out to the unemployed, many of whom are struggling to find a place in a rapidly changing radio industry, let's take a moment to consider the folks who still have jobs. Because they're the ones with the impossible workload, the huge burden, and diminishing resources in which to get it all done.
In markets small and major, the same person is often programming multiple stations. Some are doing it from different cities. Others from different locations in the same town. But the net effect is that an already difficult job has become exponentially more complex in the past several months. And there are no signs of relief.
Under those conditions, vacations will be fewer and shorter. Music logs will be scheduled while eating dinner with the family. Weekends will start feeling a lot like weekdays.
And a year from now, what shape - mentally and physically - will many of these folks be in? Because as we've discussed in this space before, radio employee demographics are skewing older. Most of the people programming radio stations are very likely 40+, making it considerably more difficult to put in 16-hour days to get it all done.
Any CEO will tell you that these internal consolidation moves were necessary for a business whose revenue base is rapidly shrinking. But as the employee base undergoes similar downsizing, the workload hasn't lessened. To program anything other than a jukebox is no easy task. To oversee two or three of them is gargantuan.
Most of us got into this business - especially on the programming side - because it was fun and we loved it. It's hard to imagine many PDs whistling "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go" these days. They may be thankful they still have jobs, but heavily challenged to figure out how they're going to continue to excel in a business that once could be described by that old line, "Love what you do, and you will never have to work a day in your life."