In a few years the only people left standing in this industry will either be the best of the best or whatever is left. It’s up to the people who read blogs like this to decide which way our industry ultimately goes. If it’s the best of the best we’ll all be staffed with Individuals who truly love the craft of creating great radio. That includes on-air people who have perfected the art of show-prepping, developing content, making it their own and extending it to digital. Programmers who understand their job is more about creating stations for a specific target audience than themselves. Sales staff that are capable of putting together custom solutions for advertisers that tie in and utilize all of their station’s assets. Managers that have an eye for self-sufficient employees and a handful of specialists that excel at high value things like original content creation and monetization. Owners, CEOs and GMs who are open to embracing new technology, running lean but still paying their limited staffs competitive wages and benefits (not just with other stations but with other industries) and being open to restructuring their business and organizational models.
Right now we’re in a hybrid state between the old days and the new. As groups struggle to adapt to an industry and world that’s changing rapidly it’s easy to feel like we’re not necessarily working with the best and brightest. That’s because at the local level it’s generally a combination of talented people willing to work for peanuts because they love what they do, long term radio employees who have been doing things the exact same way for the bulk of their entire careers that are reluctant to change, multi-taskers who take on more than they should and whoever is left that’s spoken into a microphone before. This stems from a perception that having somebody, anybody, is better than having nobody. But, some of those employees actually have a negative value because they are being paid to do things that damage the station’s ability to generate revenue. This hybrid phase will soon pass.
If we choose the right path, in the very near future there will be no room left for people who are winging it, treating radio like a hobby, focusing solely on the parts they enjoy or just there to collect a paycheck. Instead, all of the jobs will be held by true students of radio who never stop learning, evolving and growing. Everyone else will be doing something else for a living.
The groups who figure out the right equation to balance digital and terrestrial, understanding how much time and money to invest in each, will survive and continue to thrive. But, to do so they’ll need to adapt to a new world where a handful of talented, passionate radio people are paid handsomely for their services.
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