Laughable Radio Recruiting Tactics

Citadel and Cumulus, your market leaders on bankruptcy potential, have fired a lot of talent in the past year -- including valuable sales people.

Now, they are apparently hiring again.

No, not hiring back.

Hiring new.

And to listen to the way they are selling the open positions, you'd think Capital Cities/ABC had come back from the dead to run these help wanted programs.

So, let me set the stage.

Among Clear Channel, Citadel and Cumulus alone -- not to mention the bottom feeder consolidators -- there are enough so-called "laid off" account execs ready to work again to help these bumbling radio companies.

Instead, look what they have come up with to attract "more qualified" prospects:

• Citadel is running a "Can You Sell -- Win the Job of a Lifetime" working in radio contest

You've got to go to this site right now before they take it down -- you won't believe it.

In case they do, here's the pitch:

"92 PRO-FM & HOT 106 are teaming up with Newport Creamery to find our next great radio and Interactive sales person! We have your chance to win the job of a lifetime - working in radio! If you are outgoing, creative, savvy - and never take "NO" for an answer, then we want you. We will be choosing 100 applicants for the ultimate job interview. Over four weeks, we will determine who REALLY can SELL - through various tasks and tests - plus, we'll be broadcasting the highlights online! The one person left standing at the end will be offered a full time job with 92 PRO-FM & HOT 106 (Citadel Broadcasting)! Fill out the application below - don't forget to include a photo and/or video to get your foot in the door. Hurry up - we're waiting for you to impress us! We strongly encourage you to send in a short video of why we should hire you here at the'll help!"

The Citadel video portrays good seller vs. a bad seller and if this is what radio advertising has become, we're all in trouble.

This is how one of my Repeater Reporters assesses the prospect of a juvenile sales contest to sell an industry in which young people do not want to work:

1. "We think we can look good to our community in tough times", when in fact it's just the obvious. Finding a job, from first hand experience, is not funny, not a contest, and not a stunt.

2. "We need to look like we're doing something proactive in our recruitment process." What we're really seeing is a group of managers who, bogged down by endless and meaningless reports and directives (just like Cumulost) they don't have time to recruit...and if they did, they wouldn't know what to do.

3. "It will be fun and instructive to put candidates through a set of tasks to see who can really do this job." What is episode of The Apprentice? Setting up artificial tasks and competition to find a "winner" is so far from a predictor of future success it's embarrassing.

4. "A radio sales job is something people are really going to want to fight for." Really? I haven't been able to convince my daughter, nephews, nieces, or any of my friend's kids to go into radio and I wonder why? 100% commission. No training. No laptop or cellphone. No management support or development. No salary. No car. No gas money. And if Dad "who's such a great Dad/Uncle can't get hired because he's not a corporate lackey then "what's up with that?"

5. "I used to think Radio had become a parody of itself then a tragedy. Instead we've become a farce."

6. "The contest will receive glowing trade press and a special award at the RAB a standing ovation...of the 34 people in attendance."

Thanks to my razor sharp reader for that.

Look, I can tell you from experience as a college professor at USC that students don't want to listen to radio let alone have a career in it. Nothing I see in the Citadel ad is going to change their minds.

Not even invading social networking.

Over the weekend, among the five followers of this contest on Twitter (They have a Twitter page for "Can You Sell?") were the promo director/dj, both radio stations, and Evan, the CEO of Twitter. Pretty underwhelming for the press it received.

No job candidates were following the Twitter feed.

Respectfully, rehire some of the qualified people you've been methodically "laying off" and get on with it. There was nothing wrong with their performance, experience or know-how.

You're the ones making radio an impossible sell.

• Cumulus as a cutting-edge sales operation

Another reader thinks he can make you laugh at this legitimate Cumulus job posting for a Wilmington sales opening.

Description: We are looking for an experienced radio manager for our 5 station, market leading cluster. If you would like to get your hands on the most cutting edge sales operating system and a top notch sales team to execute it, then you need to look into this position.


Where's the part about the spy cameras at the weekly sales meetings?

Or the threats to take accounts away if you don't perform -- right there during the video sessions?

Or the rigidity of forcing salespeople to make tons of calls to come up with a few sales?

Or pricing sales higher for existing clients than new ones?

Sorry, I digress ...

It is a demanding, structured and process oriented system with clear expectations and the tools with which you can succeed.

Give them credit for at least saying "demanding". Boy, these candidates ain't seen nothin' yet.

If you're ready for the challenge, send your resume to EOE. Posted 7/20/09

I wish I was making this stuff up, but you almost can't. It's that unbelievable.

There are still good radio groups -- let's not forget that (see my Best/Worst Radio Groups poll on my website and scroll down the right hand side to see the updated tallies).

Emmis has a lot of financial problems but you never see them sinking to desperate measures when it comes to employees. And in good times and bad, Emmis treats its people well.

As does Bonneville.

And Lincoln Financial.

And Greater Media.

And Cox.

And hundreds of smaller owners who know the value of local radio and the importance of treating people with dignity.

Forgive me for making a mockery out of some owners but they are making a mockery out of themselves and this once proud industry.

I just think you have to call out this foolishness for what it is -- incompetence.

Let me go back to my earlier reference about that outstanding broadcast company Cap Cities/ABC and let me leave you with this question.

Would Citadel's Fagreed Suleman or Cumulus' Lew Tricky Dickey or Clear Channel's John Slogan Hogan ever get hired to run the much smaller but better Cap Cities/ABC group in the day?

What about just one of their stations?

Any one?

And they are running hundreds and hundreds of consolidated stations today.

I rest my case.

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