Rate the Radio CEO

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was voted as one of the nicest bosses in American business by his employees according to a Glassdoor.com survey.

Jobs, in spite of his quirkiness and tough facade was given a 90% approval ratings by Apple employees. In fact, six of the top ten nicest CEOs headed Silicon Valley companies.

Keep in mind that these six companies are experiencing the same economic downturn as everyone else but somehow they manage to win the admiration of their workers in terms of how they lead their company through tough times. I mention this because the radio "get out of jail" card is always the economy.

Even some financial firms had some "nice" employees -- at least according to their employees -- in spite of all the problems the financial sector has been going through in 2008.

Glassdoor.com was founded in 2008 by three former Expedia employees who initially financed the project. Now Benchmark Capital, where one of the principals (Robert Hohman) is a partner, threw in another $3 million and Sutter Hill Ventures led a $6.5 million contribution.

The all-time worst boss in the Glassdoor.com poll this year is Steve Odland of Office Depot, according to his own employees. He had an 80 percent disapproval rating.

Of course that brings me to the media business where three companies you will recognize were rated by their employees.

Citadel CEO Farid "Fagreed" Suleman earned -- and I emphasis earned -- an 8% approval rating from his people -- a little less than Apple's Jobs, wouldn't you say. I guess firing managers and talent, imposing washed up radio personalities for syndication around what's left of the once proud ABC Radio chain and forcing economic cutbacks to make its 16 cent stock look better didn't go over with the rank and file.

I have heard that one of the big complaints against Fagreed was that he and his Citadel executive wife, Judy Ellis, were not willing to make the sacrifices they have forced their employees to make.

I can't wait until Fagreed's salary is revealed next year -- as public companies must do. Will Fagreed stay above $10 million or be forced to take $9 million? Will Citadel continue to pay all of Fagreed's taxes as they have in the past? After all, there's a recession, isn't there?

At least for Citadel employees.

Well, in these ratings anyway, Fagreed is a loser.

For those doubters among you, check out how Citadel people rated Fagreed for yourself here.

Tribune employees rated their company under 25% for approval although there were no individual stats on Tribune CEO Sam Zell who has also been acting a lot like Fagreed since he got into financial hot water. Glassdoor.com summed it up as "dissatisfied" in describing Tribune employees.

I guess they don't like a company that files for bankruptcy and then reneges on deals it did previously to get employees to retire early thus leaving them absolutely screwed and tattooed. Or maybe they don't like the sound of radio and real estate people trying to save a newspaper business. It's like the blind leading the blind.

Hell, these guys are making Clear Channel's figure head Mark Mays look like a rock star as he eked out the highest ratings in the media section of Glassdoor.com's employee ratings. Some 11% of Clear Channel employees think Mays is nice. Of course, nice would be great, but running a desirable company would be better. On that, Clear Channel employees give their company a 3.4 out of 5. That's not bad for the kind of results Clear Channel has posted.

Nothing succeeds like success which is why Steve Jobs and other top finishers do so well in the eyes of their employees. On the other hand, the way you lead -- and treat your employees -- may be a marker for a successful company. They go hand in hand.

As we start a challenging year ahead, let's hope that the current tactics being employed by radio CEOs will change.

They are not working on Wall Street.

And they are not helping to reprogram the radio industry for the digital future -- its only future.

After the first of the year I am going to share a handful of ideas pertaining to your current audience, the growing importance of understanding social networking and the new rules on being innovative to compete in the digital media business.

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