Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and it seemed like an appropriate time to write about Love. I could wax poetic, but that would be inappropriate given that what’s at the center of this week’s column is a break-up and a broken heart. Onetime love gone bad. The spurned individual acting out in a way that, if self-examination took place, would be embarrassed by their behavior. The story of how Radio has broken many a heart, ruined homelives and sent many into the depths of depression. A real true scenario. Not something to make fun of or light of as depression is real.
It’s not unusual for someone like me, or anyone in a high-profile position, to have “haters.” If you put a spotlight on yourself, then you’re encouraging admiration and disdain, almost equally. There are a lot of reasons to want to be hurtful to someone. Often, it’s not really about the person as much as it is about the sheer frustration experienced by the comment writer. A frustration caused by circumstances beyond one’s control. A frustration because a lifelong goal has been taken away or one’s life has been turned upside down because of a business decision.
It seems clear to me that Radio Broke Their Heart. Job elimination, deserved or not, is tough. When someone’s job is terminated, you’re not just impacting their life. You’re impacting the lives of their family, dependents, and disrupting their community of friends, social activities and derailing a support system. We have careers. We don’t have jobs. A job is something you do to pay your bills so you can enjoy your life. A career is a part of the life you enjoy.
I was terminated early in my career. That personal experience helped to form my opinion that a balanced and diligent recruiting process is extremely important. If you terminate someone you hired, you failed. Unfortunately, the terminated person pays the price for your mistake. If you’re in management and in a position where you make decisions regarding someone’s future employment, you should be aware of the impact on an organization and an individual what a termination means.
When radio breaks up with you, it hurts. It’s painful. It’s sometimes embarrassing. It feels as if you’ve failed. We can say to each other that “losing your job in this business is a rite of passage.” We can compare it to losing a role in a film or television program. It’s more than that. It’s a buzz kill. It’s a serious disruption. We love this business because it’s fun. It’s a rush to entertain. It feeds our egos. To many it is fulfilling. It makes us who we are in our eyes and the eyes of others. Many of us have an identity because of our careers.
Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media recently shared research in his daily blog as to “Why” people go on-air. The Top-3 were “It’s Fun, It’s Entertaining, It’s Emotionally Fulfilling.” It’s about the music was a little more than a third of the sample in his research. Way down the list. Jacobs research project interviewed 750 members of the air talent/producer community, including some who were unemployed, as a part of their AQ4 study of radio personalities.
The annual survey is conducted in collaboration with Morning Show Bootcamp.
It’s this love for radio that drives us. It’s why some pass up better paying opportunities outside of the business. It is why others tolerate work cultures that shouldn’t be tolerated. The drive that exists in many is fed by the fun that is experienced on the job. When that fun goes away, one of the most important reasons for working is diminished. My advice though, would be to go in search of finding the next “fun” and do not stew in self-pity. There are other jobs to be had, but few that feed the need that radio does.
Want to keep the romance in radio alive? Pay attention to your team members and feed their drive. Their passion for the business should be embraced, encouraged and never stifled. Create a culture that includes FUN. Want to stay in radio? Make your own fun and share it with others. If there’s no fun to be had where you are … find some. Life’s too short.