top of page

Radio Broke My Heart

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 what’s at the center of this week’s column: a break-up and a broken heart over a love of radio.

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 home lives, and sent many into the depths of depression. A real true scenario. Not something to make 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. Often the negativity isn’t really about the person as much as it is about the sheer frustration experienced by the comment writer. One of my friends, a highly respected former broadcaster, responded to one of my recent social media posts with a comment that was not positive about radio. I took it as anger from that person. They responded that it wasn’t anger. It was frustration. A frustration because of their love of radio.

In some cases, it is frustration caused by circumstances beyond one’s control. Frustration because a lifelong goal has been taken away or one’s life has been turned upside down because of a business decision. 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 community of friends. You’re 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.

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 a termination has on an organization. You should be aware of the impact it has on an individual.

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.

It’s more than that. It can be a setback that leads to the end of the line. 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. It impacts our self-worth.

One of the most attended sessions every year at Morning Show Bootcamp is the AQ research report from Jacobs Media Founder Fred Jacobs. Jacobs’ research project interviewed 500 members of the air talent/producer community, including some who were unemployed, as a part of the AQ Study of Radio Personalities. 

The question of “Why” people go on-air brought forward the Top-3 attributes of the role of the personality. “It’s Fun, It’s Entertaining, It’s Emotionally Fulfilling.”

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 would be to go in search of finding the next “fun”  job and not stew in self-pity.

There are other jobs to be had in the ever-expanding media industry. Digital, Podcasting, Syndication, Social Media, Streaming (Audio & Video), Gaming, Production & Content Creation as well as Radio. Invest time and energy in broadening your skills.

If you’re an operator and you want to keep the romance in radio alive, pay attention to your team members and feed their drive. Their passion for this 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.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

How To Beat Media Job Shrinkflation

It’s difficult to pick up the trades without seeing the elimination of jobs in media. We’ve seen radio and audio companies cyclically eliminate talent, multiple times over the years, often driven by r

Unique Radio

If you’ve not yet watched the Amazon Prime documentary “Hendrie” … then you need to as soon as you can. If you’ve never heard of Phil Hendrie, he is an amazing talk talent who mastered the art of talk


bottom of page