(By Kelly Orchard) Congratulations, you’ve been named a market manager! Now what? You have a choice to make, right now. Do you want to be recognized and remembered by your team as the best manager they ever worked for — or the worst?
I researched the Web for job listings and descriptions for radio market managers and found that they are mostly the same, except for one thing that concerned me — an important priority that is often overlooked, to the detriment of a radio station.
Like it or not, as a market manager, your top priority shouldn’t be to raise the revenue. Your top priority should be to protect the license. It’s not usually the first thing that is brought up, but the usual response, “Well, our attorney handles all that,” can get you into trouble. And you don’t want trouble. You want to be the greatest market manager you can be! And that means quickly familiarizing yourself with all things related to FCC compliance.
Make a plan to locate and review the public file. It isn’t usually the first thing on your mind when you, as a manager, enter a radio station, but it has been exactly that for me for nearly 20 years. I know, FCC compliance is boring and not very sexy, but the public file is where you will find the most important information about the radio stations you now manage: all the applications and licenses, ownership documents, EEO efforts, any complaints that have been made about the station in the past, and what your stations do to serve the community they are licensed to.
It’s a treasure trove of information and will give you a fresh perspective on how to proceed as a leader of your stations. And money can be found, by familiarizing yourself with how you address the needs of the community and leveraging opportunities to build loyalty, brand awareness, and sponsorships.
You need to be passionate about building your stations from the inside out to create better radio. There is nothing wrong with radio that what is right with radio cannot solve.
HOW TO BE A GOOD MANAGER
Always be learning how to become a better leader. Open yourself up to learn something new every day. Get to know your staff differently. What are their hobbies? What kinds of activities do they enjoy outside work? I like the “manage by walking around” method. Your entire team, not just your sales team, needs motivation and leadership. Your staff will respond better to someone who is genuinely interested in them. There are a plethora of books, courses, webinars, and coaching programs about leadership. Subscribe to something you believe in and follow it.
Encourage and empower your staff. Create a culture where thoughts and ideas are welcome! Allow your team to brainstorm and share ideas. Sometimes it’s the youngest and least experienced person who comes up with a brilliant solution to a problem. Why? They haven’t been told no as often as the others, and haven’t become jaded. And they will think about the problem differently than someone who has a lot of experience and “knows what works and what doesn’t.” Be bold enough to let others have a voice. Also, you may uncover someone whom you can groom for bigger things.
Tell your radio story. Nostalgia will create positive energy at your stations, which is something you need in order to achieve priority number two, increasing revenue. Radio people need to hear the stories of success and fun in radio. It causes them to feel part of something greater than themselves, which is what many millennials are looking for in their work today.
Anyone who has been in radio for any length of time has great stories to tell. Radio is rich in history. Telling stories will not only boost the mood and morale of your team, it will inject positive ideas that increase creativity and productivity, and lead to profitability.
Get a mentor or a professional development coach. The most successful people surround themselves with people who are more knowledgeable and experienced
than they are. There is no better method for you to continue to grow into the greatest leader and market manager you can be than to seek mentors and coaches to provide you with the tools and resources necessary to develop into a leader, someone who will be valued and remembered by your team. And that’s what you want.
Lead with your strengths. It’s much more natural that way; it won’t be forced or awkward. Be yourself. Admit mistakes and what you’ve learned from them, and be willing to change your mind. If you do that, your people will feel free to be authentic too. A good coach builds their team up, motivates them to perform to the best of their abilities, and generates a true team environment. That is the key to your success as the best market manager you can be.
In addition to more than 30 years in broadcasting, Kelly Orchard has a Master’s in Psychology and a Bachelor’s in Social Science, with an emphasis in organizational leadership. She’s a 2008 graduate of the NABEF Broadcast Leadership Training Program and an FCC compliance specialist. Reach her at [email protected].