CBS Radio DFW is having one of its best years ever, with both ratings and revenue up nicely. At the helm is Market Manager Brian Purdy. According to people who work for him, Brian is more than a numbers manager, he truly cares about his employees. One of the ways he keeps his team motivated is by holding breakfasts or happy hours where the staff celebrates its “Rockstar of the Month.”
As one of his managers shared with us, “He cares, and the employees at CBS Dallas/Fort Worth love working for him.” Purdy is a 38-year radio veteran, having started his career announcing the local high school football games when he was still a freshman in college. He says over the years he’s been fortunate to work for and with some of the best in the radio business, including his last 12 years with CBS Radio. Brian Purdy is a 2016 Radio Ink Radio Wayne Market Manager finalist, and here’s why…
Radio Ink: Why did you choose radio as a career?
Brian Purdy: A friend of my Dad’s was the play-by-play voice of the Kansas City Chiefs. When I was in grade school, he hosted us in the broadcast booth one day and the “magic” of radio overwhelmed me. A subsequent visit to a local radio station sealed my passion and path. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a Broadcast Management degree in my pocket, I was off to Garden City, Kansas (pop. 26,000), to do every job in the radio station!
Radio Ink: What got you into management?
Brian Purdy: Former FCC Commissioner/Harris Media Executive Bob Wells, KIUL GM Tony Jewel, and Sales Manager Ron Isham were my first bosses and the initial management-drivers in my career. They gave me the opportunity to experience, appreciate, and respect most every role in a radio station, while challenging and coaching me on leadership. They gave me a management opportunity at a young age and were the reason I became a General Manager at age 27.
Radio Ink: How does someone become a successful manager/leader of so many people in radio today?
Brian Purdy: Hire terrific people, set clear expectations, give them autonomy, support them during tough times, and celebrate their wins. A leader is only successful if their team is. I don’t think you can successfully lead today unless you truly care about every member of your team professionally and personally. High communication is also imperative. Communication creates trust, which allows us to take strategic risks, producing strong performance and generating significant staff satisfaction. High communication also bridges the many department, station, and initiative groups within the challenging consolidated market structures that exist today. And most importantly, creating and managing a vibrant and rewarding culture, where a line forms out your door when a position becomes available. We’ve been fortunate to have had many great folks who’ve grown through our organization and are now terrific leaders throughout the country.
Radio Ink: What is your digital strategy and is it working?
Brian Purdy: Both our content and sales digital strategies are working very well. We set clear content and metric expectations with our broadcast and digital content teams that have generated company-leading unique, session, and pageview performance, creating high levels of digital currency. The company gives our team latitude to produce compelling written, audio, and video content. Our broadcast talent and digital content team generate significant follower scale that directs consumers to our sites and leverages deeper listener engagement. Our solution-based digital sales strategy uses both our digital currency and a number of digital partner tools in producing company-leading 20% average growth per year since 2011.
Radio Ink: What motivates you to walk into your radio station every day?
Brian Purdy: It’s a long list! I wake up most every morning very thankful that this is what I’m allowed to do for a living. I
love what I do, who I do it with, and what we do it for. I can’t imagine not being able to make a difference in our community, enrich our team’s lives, and growing value for our shareholders. I’m also extremely motivated about our industry’s future, including the new and unique ways we inform and entertain our broadcast, digital, and event audiences. Our team has embraced this special era of pioneering and it’s contagious.
Radio Ink: What keeps you up at night?
Brian Purdy: Staying ahead. Including identifying great people to help us grow, retaining and incenting talent, the evolving digital content space, continued development of our integrated marketing sales strategy, expanding high-efficiency brand marketing, key partnership development, emerging technology, and evolving our culture to attract Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers. The radio business has never been more complex, moved as quickly, or had more volume.
Radio Ink: How do you educate yourself so you are always on top of your game?
Brian Purdy: There has never been a time in our business when constant exploring and education have been as important. It’s challenging for any leader to stay at the top of their game. I commit 45 minutes of reading time at 5 a.m. most every work day to explore new ideas or refine our strategies. From integrated consumer marketing to consumer audio consumption to sponsorship strategy, the knowledge sprawl continues to widen. We’ve tried to hire leaders, build an org chart, and create a high communication environment to lift up and share new ideas, which helps me a lot. We’re fortunate to have News, Sportstalk, Music, and Spanish-language brands that create a diverse approach to most every phase of our business. Our leaders appreciate and acknowledge each other’s innovations, setting a valuable example for all of our teams. It has created a culture where we push each other to be at our best. The adage that “If you’re standing still, you’re moving backwards” has never been truer in the radio industry.
Reach out to congratulate Brian on being a 2016 Radio Ink Radio Wayne Finalist at BPurdy@cbs.com