Home JacoBLOG Services About Contact
JacoBlog - Jacobs Media's Blog: Vibe, Tone, Culture
My Photo

Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


Bookmark and Share

August 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

« How Did I Get Here? | Main | Going Gaga »


Dave Paulus

Excellent post Fred. You always win the heart first and everything else second!(Audience and staff)

(Plus thanks for that GREAT memory from the 84 series..I remember exactly where I was when Gibby hit that rocket!:)



Dave, as a Michigan guy, I know the Gibson story is especially resonant. It is great to see Gibby winning in AZ, and it's a lesson to all of us that attitude and fire in the belly trump metrics any day.

Thanks for reading our blog & taking the time to join the conversation.

JJ Duling

Having been part of so many start-ups and turnarounds, this really resonates with me. You can have all the other tools and perks but without the right vibe, it means nothing. Having the right vibe MINUS marketing/research/great budget, nice facilities and huge signal...well, we've all seen a great culture overcome a bunch of other shortcomings.

GREAT stuff!


Thanks, JJ. I have seen it again and again. And it's something that Simon Sinek preaches in his "Start With Why." People don't buy what you do - they buy WHY you do it. In Gibby's case and for all the truly inspirational PDs out there, it is about following a person who sets the tone, creates a culture, and inspires her troops.

Thanks as always for reading and contributing to JacoBLOG.

David Martin

Kudos, Fred. Outstanding post. Leadership is a powerful proprietary intangible.

Paul Drew, paying homage to McLuhan, often said "The radio station's programming is an extension of the program director's personality." Joel Denver went further, deeper in saying "A station's programming is the result of a DNA transmission from the PD." My sense is you, Paul and Joel are each correct in your observations.

Please allow me to suggest...as managers, our expectations of staff can often become self-fulfilling prophecies. There's an excellent HBR article on this theory - Pygmalion in Management by J. Sterling Livingston - it's available via this link

In my experience the single most important person in a broadcast station is the general manager. The GM has an inordinate impact on the probability of business success. It's possible for an average GM to achieve success due to above average team leaders (PD, SM, DOS, BM, CE, et al) however such success is, typically, unsustainable. Once the average GM loses the great PD (or gifted DOS) continued success requires hiring or promoting the right successor. This creates exposure. Hiring and succession planning - casting the right players - remain critically important skill sets.

The truly great GMs have a deep understanding of casting, one that gives them a strong competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the players required to sustain successful performance. The great GMs also respect another bit of Paul Drew's wise counsel "Find the best replacements for your staff before you need them."


As always, Dave, you bring great value to this conversation. Your point about GMs is dead-on - and something that I sometimes overlook due to my "PD mentality."

When I was programming WRIF back in the early '80s, our quarterly bonuses were largely discretionary. After getting some great ratings, I was expecting the maximum bonus, only to find out that I was to receive 75% of my potential dollars. When I asked my GM, John Hare, why I didn't get the total pie, he said, "Your replacement isn't on staff."

At the time, I was upset but after thinking about it, he was right (and cost-effective). The health of the entity is always more important than any one manager or employee.

I subsequently worked hard to ready both my APD, Mark Pasman, and my MD, Mike Mayer. Both went on to program the station after I left WRIF to form Jacobs Media. That's a tribute to both of them, and to Hare for recognizing the importance of a great succession plan.

In today's world of radio, most GMs oversee multiple brands in the cluster, making it even more difficult for that person to become MVP of the operation, and to "cast" the future of several stations.

Thanks again, Dave, for the wisdom and perspective.


May look funny, but the source is reliable.

The comments to this entry are closed.