Radio’s New Hiring Boom – Interns

The New York Times reported Sunday that the recession is over.

That is, if you work on Wall Street.

The government bailout has helped big banks and brokerage firms recover from their near fatal problems in 2008 and they have now been rewarded with record profits.

That means record bonuses for CEOs and top execs and now jobs – as many as 2,000 according to The Times. The article also sees the hiring trend expanding nationwide at financial companies, commodity contract traders and investment firms.

That last one was investment firms like Lee and Bain and the other financial predators that lurk over the media industry.

But while 2,000 jobs does not make a recovery, it shows how the opportunists who contributed to this painful recession are gearing up for more. And while other white collar professions are not seeing an employment hiring comeback, the sector that led the economy down the drain is once again betting on it.

Enter corporate radio – the banker assisted suicide that hog tied a great industry at exactly the time when we needed to embrace the Internet, mobile Internet, streaming, social networking and the great digital beyond.

Clear Channel, Citadel and Cumulus – the three largest companies and biggest cost-cutters have still not let up. Clear Channel is now turning to engineering for additional savings.

Cumulus is even firing Cintas uniform recruits because – guess what – these recruits want to return to a business they know. That's what no job training or experience gets you.

And Citadel?

No signs of a hiring campaign there, either.

Equally as bad, none of the big three industry leaders who control the most radio stations are investing even squat in the very new media that will have to be radio’s critical growth component going forward.

The other day one of my readers sent me a link to an employment site called Indeed Daily Job Alert that listed 12 – count ‘em – 12 new job postings for Radio One.

All 12 are internships.

It is not clear whether any of the internships pay a salary but I’m sure we can agree that even if they do, the salary is not much better than minimum wage. When they offer college credit, it looks like Radio One is adding meaning to the term “starving college student”.

So in effect Radio One is looking for free help in Cleveland, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Philadelphia, Richmond, Dallas, Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, St Louis and Houston.

Here’s the Radio One pitch.

Job Description:

“A 3 to 6 month college level internship with primary responsibilities including, but not limited to: corresponding via phone, fax and E-mail with listeners, updating music libraries, ordering music and products, compiling play lists and marketing events such as contests, concerts or media campaigns”.


“To qualify for a Programming internship at Radio One applicants must be currently enrolled in a college degree program and eligible to earn internship credit. A major in Broadcasting, Journalism, or Communication preferred. Applicants must be 18 years or older and possess valid school identification. Applicants must possess excellent communication skills and the ability to thrive in a fast paced environment. Must be organized, self motivated, energetic and a dependable team player”.

That’s radio’s recovery – hiring free help.

No major group is doing any substantial hiring. Most are still laying off or as I call it – firing.

And why this is so troublesome beyond the obvious is that radio now more than ever needs to get involved in the digital future in a bigger way.

Most radio companies spend zero to 3% of their annual operating budget on new media. I can understand that their CEOs don’t want to listen to me harp about it in this space but when PwC and BIA/Kelsey are now telling them that pure play radio companies can expect no return to pre-recession income let alone ever become a growth industry again, then I’d listen to them.

They still don’t get it.

You don’t cut back terrestrial radio talent, programming, sales, marketing and engineering while new media grows. You make terrestrial radio better by making it live and local.

You don’t port terrestrial radio programming to the Internet because it’s cheap to do so when consumers have changed and they want new on-demand mobile content not radio streams.

And the few major consolidators who have an understanding of the importance of new media still dabble in it using the hiring of cheap part-timers or asking terrestrial employees to moonlight on the digital side.

Pretty unimpressive.

If a dark-sided, troubled industry like investment banking can wreak so much havoc on the economy and still recognize when to reinvest and get ready for a recovery – what is our problem?

For an industry that is run by the whims of Wall Street, it is curious that the investment banks who have wrestled radio assets away from upside down owners do not urge their companies to do the same as they are now doing – hiring for the future.

The reason?

One man’s opinion: Buying and selling companies are back on the radar screens of investment banks.

That is, the process of buying and selling companies.

The reward of earning fees for not operating them and in essence doing nothing. That's what John Hogan, Fagreed Suleman and Lew Dickey are well paid to do.

Big radio is now a pawn to Wall Street investment banks.

Private companies are the only future radio has – and the mom and pops the banks used to stick their noses up at – because they are the only hope for leading by example of what radio must be to thrive in the future.

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