Radio’s Believe It or Not

It’s time for another edition of Radio’s Believe It or Not, inspired by Ripley’s Believe It or Not – which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims.

There is no shortage of strange and unusual things going on in consolidated radio these days, so let's begin:

A Clear Channel On-Air Job Promotion for One

This actually happened in Nashville, TN according to one of my readers:

“So, I'm driving around Nashville earlier today and punching up different stations and it brought to mind the CC bit designed to help out of work listeners (not out of work air folks) to record a quick resume for on-air use.

But at least one CC station here, news/talk WLAC, apparently isn't listening to its own programming because the pleas of a handful of resume responders keep airing. "Hi, this is Chip...and I'm looking for"...and blah, blah, blah. Every time I punch to this station, up comes Chip. And, he's been on for several weeks now. Is no one else calling in to record their own resume? Does anyone else want to do it? Does anyone at the station care about such a CC-directed bit?”

Syndicated Heaven

Live and local from Rockford, IL:

“ (A) newstalk station is going to dump an hour of local programming (10 am to 11am) for another syndicated day was the local Catholic Forum which brought in $20,000 a year income. Plus we are pushing the fact that our highest rated show is Rush and that we are breaking the streaming hits with Rush...Good bye local talk radio...hello syndicated heavan (sic)...”

Who Needs Engineers

This one will make you laugh or make you cry. In one market, an owner laid off people there and, well – let me let him tell it …

“one was the ENGINEER (um they only have one) eh hem, after they laid him off they asked him if he would...............CHANGE THE CODE ON THE DOOR! Uh yes they laid off the one guy in the building that could do that. Yeah can we have your key card please you don't work here anymore, Oh and we forgot could you change the code?

YES, I swear to you that is the truth. That story right there tells me there is NO logic, NO respect ... in this corporate radio world. Not even any humanity, it's all gone. That rings through my head at any given time almost every day since the lay offs, " uh oh yeah could you please change the code"

The Late News – Literally

You remember the little boy adrift in hot air balloon story, don’t you?

Well, I guess Clear Channel’s regional “local” news center blew it by providing this misinformation on a story that headlined all the cable channels and was correctly reported online and on my iPhone:

“…Tonight the 6PM sixty-second newscast on Lite 99.9 in Dayton had the up-to-date story that a “little boy was adrift in a runaway balloon and that authorities were currently chasing it”. Only problem is that the balloon landed two hours earlier, and by 6PM the boy was even found hiding in the attic at home. This is another great example of how Clear Channel is keeping its promise to stay up-to-date with it’s regional news centers.

The fact is that the newscast in question was recorded at about 3:30PM from the local TV station. What I’m further surprised at is that no one at the station even bothered to notice how out-of-date it was. Is it because no one was even there at 6PM? Furthermore, what gives me any confidence that they (CC Dayton) will notice if something happens that threatens the safety of the citizens in its broadcast area?

Cumulus Managers Should All End Up Millionaires


Here’s what a former Cumulus manager related about a meeting he will never forget:

“I think back to when Lew told a small group of mostly original (Cumulus) managers that ‘there's no reason why each of you shouldn't end up millionaires out of this deal’. Of course none of those people are still with (Cumulus). I think the last to go was Bernie Barker in Montgomery. And of course, the only millionaire that came from that meeting is Lew Dickey. Only a man w/o a conscience could sleep at night doing what he's done to people! God. . . what a bad deal! What a greedy bastard!"

Syndication Deals with the Devil

Here’s how Cumulus recently positioned itself to be a producer of national programming it pawns off as local while cutting salaries of on-air talent and saving money:

“Did you see where VP/Programming was in Nashville Monday to launch the new Tony & Kris morning show? (Tony & Kris were morning show staples at both KSON & KUSS/San Diego). It’s a partnership between Tony & Kris and Cumulus, you see. It launched on 6-Cumulus stations Monday…with 4 more in the wings. In the case of each morning show, each was assigned to either PM Drive or the vacant Mid-Days that they fired during one of their previous bloodbaths. In some cases, the morning teams were split between PM Drive and Mid-Days. So, how long do you suppose these displaced Morning Shows will be employed by Cumulus? Anybody giving odds?"

Clear Channel 30-Day “Action Plans” That Precede Getting Fired

A number of people have written to me to warn of Clear Channel’s “30-Day Action Plan” strategy aimed at salespeople it is apparently targeting for removal.

Here’s one reader’s take:

“What's happening now seems a weeding out process, an example is a friend that is one of the best radio sales person I have ever encountered. He was the National Sales Manager coaxed to stay and not take the infamous 9 mo severance package during the "Ingurgitation (sic) Day Massacre"', with the promise of no harm to his pay. In less that (sic) 1 month his commission was less that (sic) half of what he was making for the passed 20 years and the promised client list never appeared. According to the upper Management its out of there hands and coming for (sic) the top...........He is not the only one that this has happened to..............

Now after 20+ years of hard ass-whip service he is filling out this crazy paperwork (like in elementary school) along with several other radio people of the same sales caliber and are now under a 30 day "Action Plan".....Rumor is a 30 day notice.

Live and Local When Possible

Believe it or not, this just in from an reader:

"Don't use my name, but I'm told there's a Cumulus station not far from here - think upper Midwest - that is actually using this as a liner: "live and local - when possible"... I'm serious."

An End of the Year Fire Sale -- All Year!

A former Clear Channel executive nominates this very thoughtful but scary description of what Yield Managers are doing to hurt radio rates:

"...I thought you may want to know that they are doing what they do every year at this time…. Doing their traditional one day sale. In past years, it was to put the first few weeks of first quarter to get a jump start on business and take money off the table from the competitors. It’s been a good plan in the past since demand is usually soft in those weeks.

However, this year it is the revenue yield managers who have selected weeks throughout the entire year (usually it’s the last week of the month) where they anticipate lower demand. The pricing is determined by the RYMs, with little input from the sales managers. Either way, the clients have come to expect the one day sale.

Lots of radio’s problems these days are either misguided policies and/or poor handling of personnel by heartless and clueless managers.

Many of you know I taught for the Dale Carnegie organization for over a decade. It offers some of the best advice to managers who want to actually increase their productivity through their employees.

Bonneville and a few other radio groups do this. Guess which ones do not. You just read about their believe it or not management tactics.

Here is pure gold that Citadel, Clear Channel and Cumulus missed:

• Build rapport with your employees so that you have a good relationship from the start

• Begin with praise and honest appreciation

• Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly

• Reassure employees and give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

Radio doesn't just have a financial problem, it has a management problem. Until you treat employees with respect and value their contributions you will be bankrupt in more ways than one.

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