In the world of commercial radio, as in most every other business operation on the face of the earth, the golden rule prevails. That is to say the ones who have the gold are the ones who set the rules, and there’s no getting around that hard fact of life. If management wants the receptionist to answer phones, sort the mail, keep track of all those coming in or going out of the building, file orders, type lists, monitor the station web site, handle requests, work weekend remotes for free and wear a balloon costume on alternate Tuesdays then that is what the receptionist will do. Why? Because management said so.
By the way, a “remote” is a broadcast that originates outside of the station’s home studio and is relayed by the station to its listeners. In the very old days, remotes were usually broadcasts of dance band appearances or sporting events. Then someone in management decided these remotes, which are now called “on location broadcasts” (the biggest waste of breath ever invented) should be used to sell used cars, water beds, parking lots, grocery items, clothing and race horses, with the receptionist on hand to serve hot dogs, soft drinks and “balloons for the kiddies.” But we digress.
If management wants the station to air commercials that include telephone numbers and lengthy addresses, then that is what the station will do, regardless of the fact that no listener in living memory has ever written down a telephone number while driving a car, or remembered the address mentioned in spot number three of a 17 element “stop set”, so called because when the entertainment and information stops, the listener’s brain quits hearing. Again, we digress.
If, in a radio station, management tells the music director to “freshen up the Can Con” or the consultants tell the program director to “power up the bottom of the hour sweeps” and management agrees then the job gets done.
That’s the way it goes. In radio, in professional sports, in the real estate business or in auto sales, what ever management wants, management (ownership) gets. An in radio, as in every other business or profession, there are conflicts. Conflicts between management and the sales department. Conflicts between the sales department and the creative people. Conflicts between the creative side and the on-mike side. Conflicts between the traffic department and just about everyone else. And on it goes. However, those conflicts can sometimes lead to unexpected and unfortunate situations, as we will learn next time when we profile Doug Birkmaier, in another excerpt from the forthcoming book to be called The Great Saskatchewan Radio ‘n Recipes Memory Book.
(ps: see video re: future of radio)