This Manager Creates A Winning Culture


Lisa Decker has been a manager for 31 of her 37 years in radio, the last two with Alpha Media in Portland, OR. This week she will appear in Radio Ink Magazine with 29 others who were chosen as Radio’s Best Managers for 2018.

One of Lisa’s employees says this about her: “I have worked with and for her at CBS, iHeart, and Alpha Media. She has been the primary reason I have worked for most of these companies, as I choose to work for people over just the company. The leader sets the tone for the culture and work environment, and in my experience and history, wherever Lisa works there is an environment of trust, credibility, ethics, and FUN. She is a true leader and someone I have always had the utmost trust in.”

Lisa Decker and Amy Leimbach

Amy Leimbach is the VP of Sales for Alpha in Portland. “Lisa Decker gave me my first job in radio and has been a mentor to me throughout my career, so I was thrilled to have her join Alpha Media as our Portland SVP/GM in 2016. Over the years I have watched Lisa inspire her teams and individual employees to be the best they can be while acting as a visionary and leader in our industry. Lisa is the definition of the word ‘excellence.'”

Here is our extended interview with one of radio’s best managers, Lisa Decker.

Radio Ink: Why do you believe you’ve been able to achieve the success you have as a manager in radio?
Lisa Decker: It was a natural fit for my strengths and passions: continuous learning and curiosity, willingness to take risks and make decisions, some great mentors and a lot of very talented people I’ve worked with that contributed to a rewarding career.

Radio Ink: Who mentored you, and how did they help you succeed?
Lisa Decker: Three come to mind and will always be special to me. Paul Clithero gave me my first Sales Manager’s job at KINK FM and Don Bouloukos gave me my first GM/Market Manager job. Both taught me how to be a leader and allowed me to grow into my new responsibilities. They helped me to develop my leadership skills in the best ways possible. Edie Hilliard taught me how to embrace my leadership role and responsibilities, to trust my strengths and follow my instincts. She also showed me the value of networking, paying it forward, and the joys of getting involved and giving back to your community.

Radio Ink: What do you expect from the people you manage?
Lisa Decker: Commitment to give their best effort every day to achieve our goals, execute our winning strategic plan, continuous learning and feedback, try new things, and have fun.

Radio Ink: When/how do you know you have a great employee who has the potential to become a manager?
Lisa Decker: You can see it and it’s usually early on. We give them extra projects and responsibilities to see if they continue to grow. Their talents and potential cuts through if it’s real.

Lisa Decker with some of her sales executives at a Sixties party.

Radio Ink: What is the number one challenge you face every day as a manager, and how are you overcoming it?
Lisa Decker: Building and keeping positive momentum. When you have it everything is working, it’s easy and it almost feels effortless, but there are so many things that can derail it. The best way we’ve found to keep it going is to stay focused on the small things since they can add up in a good way and a bad way. Over-communicate so everybody is on the same page and knows where we are at all times; don’t overreact to the small stuff; correct your course when necessary; and make decisions quickly.

Radio Ink: Tell us what your biggest/most proud moment at the station or cluster was over the past 12 months.
Lisa Decker: Building a winning culture that produces pride and strong results. We have a saying: “Winners focus on winning and losers focus on winners.” This helps to reminds us that we create our own destiny.

Radio Ink: What does it take to be a strong and successful manager in radio today?
Lisa Decker: You have to be a leader. Your team needs to be inspired and empowered. Listen to your staff, listeners, and clients and that will insure you create an effective growth plan for the future. Have a fierce commitment to compete and win.

Radio Ink: What would you like to see the radio industry be better at?
Lisa Decker: Revenue growth. It is appalling the revenue decline during the past decade. We can drive revenue if we work together, train our people and share our stories. This has to be the top priority.

Reach out to Lisa to congratulate her on being one of the best managers in America at [email protected]


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