(By Georgia Beasley) Did you know that Marconi was a Millennial? Basically, Millennials have been changing the course of radio since its origin. Now before you assume that I’ve been living under a translator for way too long, let me explain…
Recently, I was lucky enough to be selected as a panelist at Radio Ink’s Hispanic Radio Conference. The session was a discussion geared towards bridging the gap between Gen X and Millennials. Millennials make up the largest population of our workforce, however out of the four panelists I was the only millennial—and by a long shot! When did our industry stop hiring my generation? If radio is really trying to bridge the gap, let’s start by identifying the gap and why the gap is only getting wider. To me, it’s very simple. We need more Millennials in the mix.
It’s true that Marconi invented radio in his 20s, which means that radio is here because of the innovative mind of someone who today would be classified as a Millennial. And it doesn’t end there. How many are familiar with a man by the name of Lee Abrams? In the 70s, when he was in his 20s, Abrams sought out to understand the way people listened to the radio, so he decided to hitchhike across the country learning about listener habits. Abrams founded “superstars” and ultimately revolutionized the way that radio was programmed from that point forward, across the entire industry. Yep, just some guys in their 20s who changed everything.
So, have you asked any Millennials what they would do differently today? How many times has a Millennial’s idea been discounted or a young leader not been given the opportunity to advance because of their age? I believe even Marconi’s brilliant ideas on long-distance radio transmission may not have made it if presented today. However, I know there would be no chance if he wasn’t in the industry to begin with.
Talent is age agnostic and radio has traditionally been a leader in cultivating that young talent for its benefit. Bob Pittman was only in his 20s while running WNBC in Chicago and while even creating MTV. Radio is the industry that creates change and breeds agents of change across all media. We need to give Millennials more opportunities in key positions to do what they have proven to do best in radio, champion and influence the change we need.
My hope is at the next Millennial panel, we will see four Millennial panelists who share techniques and strategies for traditional approaches that make our industry reconsider how we do business, program our products, and engage with our audiences. Millennials have revolutionized the way we’ve experienced radio for a century. So what can you do to get more Millennials involved in radio today?
Every general manager can begin to attract more Millennials simply by asking themselves, “What do I look like on social media or on Google?” That’s right; you may have only used social media as a tool to evaluate Millennial applicants but have you ever considered that we also do the same when choosing to apply to a new employer or company? Over sixty percent of Millennials are more likely to become loyal to a company if they can engage with the brand on social media.
We grew up with technology, which has created a transparency regarding the culture of the workplace and current employee satisfaction. As a general manager, here’s an easy way to strengthen your digital presence. Begin slowly with one social medium and create an Instagram account. Then commit to post fun work-related pictures at least once a week. This simple act will begin to publicly feature the fun side of radio and the team culture that Millennials could be a part of. Plus, once we buy in, we’ll happily amplify the great things we’re doing across all of our own social media networks that will attract even more Millennials to your pool of candidates.
Georgia Beasley is Director of Digital Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]