When Meeting New Staff, Be the Hero, Not the Villain

If you’ve been in the radio business for a while, and you notice the “green” crowd struggling, what do you do?

I know when I was first getting into radio, I wanted to do ANYTHING that would teach me more about the industry. I dabbled in everything I could. To some, it showed initiative. To others, they looked at it as if I wanted to take their job. Are you going to be someone who appreciates the work ethic? Or will you be the person who feels threatened?

We all talk about being “team players.” You can’t have coworkers who want to learn by assuming they are out to get you. Sure, I understand the mentality of getting older in the industry and being replaced by the younger crowd who might be hungry for the job. Should you reject those who are trying to break down doors, management will notice. In fighting new additions, you could be sabotaging your own career. The better option in this is to welcome newbies. Take them under your wing. Help them. I had a few mentors who had been in radio so long, I remembered listening to them on my way to school. Working alongside them and having them teach me meant THE WORLD. I’ll never forget those first years. YOU can make an impact and mold someone into an incredible talent. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered for that, versus making someone cry every day? (That happened to me too, by a person who felt threatened.)

It’s important for a station’s staff to get along and work with each other. The listeners will observe you not talking to each other and standing awkwardly at outings. Listeners want to feel connected to, what they may view as, a close group of friends. That’s not going to happen if they sense tension. They, probably, won’t want to approach you, either. Embrace the noobs. You were there once, don’t forget that nervousness in the beginning.

Take some time to get to know them. Go out for lunch as a staff, or have lunch brought in and do a little convo round in the conference room. Ask them what their goals are, what they plan on doing in the industry, where they see themselves in the next 5, 10 years. This will give you an idea of where their head is and if they really are a good fit for the industry or your station.

Again, I know it’s a little nerve wracking seeing fresh meat in the building. However, YOU are the person who holds all the knowledge. YOU are the talent your community knows and love. YOU hold all the cards. Share your experiences. Teach them how to become the next generation of great talent. They will remember you for this. They’ll continue to grow and appreciate you. Be the hero, not the villain.


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