Sarah Frazier is the Market Manager for CBS Radio in Houston. She’s also one of Radio Ink’s Best Managers of 2017. And that should come as no surprise, Frazier is consistently one of The Most Influential Women in Radio and on our Best Managers list. Frazier has been in radio since college, when she worked as the sales manager, traffic manager, and operations manager at KJHK at the University of Kansas. These days, Sarah Frazier leads a team of 650 employees in a cluster of 6 stations for CBS. Here’s our extended interview with one of radio’s best, CBS Radio’s Sarah Frazier.
Radio Ink: How have you been able to achieve the success you have so far in radio?
Sarah Frazier: I have a high-level of responsibility in my personality. I think as a manager you want people below you that you can 100% trust to get it done. I’m one of those. If you give it to me, I will get it done or die trying.
Radio Ink: Who mentored you, and what did they do to help you succeed?
Sarah Frazier: Brian Purdy has been my mentor for the last 15 years. He was always open to coaching me up. When I told him I wanted to be a DOS, he told me every one-on-one I could bring three questions about the DOS role, and so we began talking about it a couple years before an opportunity arose. Same with market manager. When I shared my goals, he helped me prepare so that when the opportunity came, I was ready. He’s also always been open to explaining his thought process on decisions he made. He’s good at answering, “Why did you make that decision?” He’s the first person I called to prepare for Hurricane Harvey.
Radio Ink: What do you expect from the people you manage?
Sarah Frazier: Responsibility, courage, and respect for their teammates.
Radio Ink: When do you know you have a great employee who has the potential to become a manager?
Sarah Frazier: When they show a propensity to ask for, and complete, projects that are outside their purview. Doers are invaluable.
Radio Ink: What is the number one challenge you face every day as a manager, and how are you overcoming it?
Sarah Frazier: A lack of courage. Maya Angelou once said, “Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue with consistency.” Courage is what enables people to communicate honestly and therefore, effectively, with their co-workers. Courage is what enables an AE to tell a client that a certain tool won’t achieve their marketing objective. Courage is what enables a GSM to ask large dollars out of their staff. I can only lead by example by being honest, straightforward, and doing what is right no matter what.
Radio Ink: Tell us what your biggest/most proud moment at the station or cluster was over the past 12 months.
Sarah Frazier: On Sunday, August 26th, when Houston began flooding, I realized no one on FM radio was doing full-time coverage. We made the decision to break format on our stations and move to long-form storm coverage. We don’t have a news station, but we had a team of on-air people, producers, and part-timers that worked together and had the courage to put together four days of content that literally saved lives. We focused on the fact that people were having to quickly evacuate their homes and once they got to the car, we were all they had to keep them connected. We kept the focus on areas that needed to evacuate, open evacuation routes so they could safely leave their homes, and open shelter information so they had a place to go. We opened a text line so that people could text us their zip code and we would give them the closest shelter information. We answered every one. After we moved to recovery-mode, we changed the focus to where you could volunteer, what shelters needed what items, and how to clean your flooded home or car. It was a decision I am very proud of, with a team that I will be forever bonded to, and in awe of how we all worked together to serve the community for those four days. That is what local radio is here for.
Radio Ink: What does it take to be a strong and successful manager in radio today?
Sarah Frazier: Guts, compassion, patience, courage, belief, resilience, passion, and positivity.