(By Bob McCurdy) I have had the privilege of knowing a very special person for the past 10 years. A brief bio on this individual:
- VP/GM of CBS Radio Spot Sales.
- VP/GM of:
– WPEZ FM/Pittsburgh
– WMAQ AM/Chicago
– WNBC AM/New York
- Endowed Leonard Goldenson Professor/University of Missouri.
- AOL VP/Sales Strategy and Development.
- Author of two books: Broadcasting and Cable Selling and Media Selling, which will soon be in its 5th edition.
- A Forbes contributor since 2013.
His name is Charlie Warner and he is currently an Adjunct Professor at The New School in New York City where he teaches media sales courses in the graduate Media Management Program. Charlie specializes in digital, broadcast management, leadership, strategy, sales, and sales management, and every time I talk with him, I walk away smarter.
He also happens to be one of Bob Pittman’s mentors (Bob was his program director at WMAQ and WNBC) as well as being 86 years young. If the adage that you are only as old as you feel is true, then Charlie is a Millennial. His intellectual curiosity and knowledge about the current advertising landscape is remarkable and motivating.
What makes this man so special is that not only is he professionally active halfway through his ninth decade, but that he as comfortable discussing attribution, social media, programmatic, AI, print, TV, and radio. The man is a virtual human learning machine. How many octogenarians read Radio Ink, Advertising Age, AdWeek, and the Journal of Advertising Research while writing for Forbes?
I have taken several of Charlie’s classes and have been impressed each time as to how easily he relates to students who are often 60 years younger. He has earned his students respect because they know he practices exactly what he preaches, and works it just as hard to stay abreast of the ad industry’s latest developments as they work at trying to absorb what he has learned.
So what are the key takeaways here for us? Professionals…
- Understand that they do not truly take control of their professional lives, until they take control of their own professional learning. Top performers possess an insatiable thirst for learning more about their profession.
- Regardless of experience or age, understand that learning can never stop and in this tumultuous petri dish of marketing and media, this has never been truer.
- Are impatient to learn and do not wait to be “taught.”
- Invest freely in anything that enhances their professional knowledge regardless of their current economic circumstances, as they understand their current income will increase as their professional expertise increases.
- Are over-achievers who attend industry events, at times on their own dime, subscribe to various trades, free and otherwise, again at times on their own dime. They understand that there is no better ROI anywhere than investing in themselves.
- Actively recruit mentors (I recruited Charlie) inside and outside the business.
- Understand the importance of continued study and reflection and embrace PDR (practicing-drilling and rehearsing).
- Transform their homes into their own private university of higher learning.
Twenty-five years ago, Gatorade created their famous “Be Like Mike” TV commercial featuring the Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan. As we approach 2018 and the inevitable resolutions that accompany the New Year, it might be a good idea for all of us to strive a little harder not to “Be Like Mike” but to be “Be Like Charlie”.
He is a “radio guy” who can be a role model to us in so many ways.
Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at email@example.com.