I recently read a quote from an on-air talent who is retiring. They offered up the advice they would give someone new to radio. This personality said, “I’d tell them to have fun and enjoy their work … because when you enjoy it … it isn’t work.” Loved reading that quote. She was someone who loved their job, realized their career was special, and appreciated what they’d accomplished.
It was refreshing to read the quote. You don’t read a lot of positive comments these days from people as they depart radio. Most thank their former employer. Thank their listeners. Say with a tone of positivity that they’re excited about what’s next. I always hope it’s true. It’s usually just “putting on a good face.” The retiring employee’s quote was so different from what we normally see, that I believe the honesty in the statement.
This is not a rant about “how bad this business is” … because it’s not. There is a lot of excitement to be found in our industry. It doesn’t require a scavenger hunt to find it. It’s all about the culture. If you want to create a fun culture that encourages creativity … apply these five steps to a better workplace.
Remember that this is Show Business. Most of us got into this business to “put on a show.” It was to be a part of the show. We want to be in or around the spotlight. Create a Show Business-like atmosphere for your employees. People don’t have to be on-air to want to be in Show Business. You don’t take a job in media without wanting to be a part of the circus.
Make the workplace look and feel like it’s part of the entertainment industry. Too many radio facilities look like insurance agencies. (No offense intended to the insurance industry). This is especially true in those stations that have many “Work from Home” employees who only visit the building one or two days a week. The entrance to iHeart Media’s corporate offices greets visitors with a tunnel of lights, mist, and radio stations that change as you walk down the hall. Come off the elevator at Audacy’s HQ and you see a wall of many colors that moves with the music like a digital VU meter. There are more examples of what “show biz” looks like. Unfortunately, not enough.
Encourage your talent to remember that when they walk into the studio … they are on stage. It’s a Show. It isn’t a shift. Create a positive atmosphere where your talent can perform. It’s not work. It’s play. Don’t make them “punch the timeclock.” Encourage them to put on a show.
Share the wealth. Meaning the tickets, the events, the meals, the fun, and the unclaimed prizes. It does no one any good when expired tickets are found in someone’s desk drawer. Share beyond the sales department and the on-air personalities.
Respect and reward your on-air talent, your best sellers, the production team, the admin team, and all members that go beyond the call of duty … including the promotion team, the traffic department, the engineer or IT teams … all who keep your business up and running.
Your radio station will prosper to a greater degree if you can create a culture that encourages creativity versus snuffs it out. We’re in the FUN business. Don’t forget it. Schedule fun. Create fun. Have fun.