The Disconnect Between The Boss And The Jock


A new study conducted by Jacobs Media and Don Anthony’s Morning Show Boot Camp revealed that only 19% of the on-air hosts believe they get support from upper management. Only 14% say they get support from corporate. That’s probably not too surprising being that there has been a lot of downsizing on the programming side of radio in recent years.

To address that disconnect, Jacobs and Anthony recommend that management show a little more love, work to create a minor league system to grow new talent, help young members of the staff financially, and support women on the programming side more.

The study of 1,035 on-air hosts also revealed that the DJ booth is mostly made up of white men. Eighty-nine percent of on-air hosts are Caucasian. As Fred Jacobs put it, “Radio is very white.” Seventy-four percent are male, according to the study, and Jacobs adds, “That’s the dilemma we have in radio about diversity and making everyone feel like they have a good shot in the studio.”

Interestingly, men and women in the survey disagree widely on the gender issue. When asked if women have as good a chance as men to advance in the studio, 54% of the women surveyed disagree/strongly disagree with that statement while 71% of men agree/strongly agree.

The study also revealed that fewer than three in 10 on-air hosts would passionately recommend a career in radio to a high school student. In his webinar presentation Wednesday, Fred Jacobs described that stat as “a little sad.”

Here are a few other interesting stats from the study: The number one reason hosts say they like being on the radio is because it’s fun. The top professional goal they have is to be happy and work with good people. 62% of the respondents to the study believe radio will be in good shape over the next five years. 25% feel they are not being positioned for advancement.


  1. The problem with radio is that too many radio stations sound like they are phoning it in. Unless the air personality has a rock solid contract they are not going to say or do anything that might jeopardize their job. Which can make for pretty boring radio regardless of format. And the restrictions placed on them just add to this ennui. Even worse is when the air personality can no longer do a live shift but instead must voice track. This is like taking someone off a major league team and sending them back to Double A ball. You cannot exude your natural feeling and love of being on the air playing music when all you’re doing is a watered down mechanical version of an air shift. It’s no wonder that air personalities feel like they get no respect or support. The real danger here is that these negative feelings come across over the air. Granted, not deliberately but the listener can pick up on it. The problem with radio is that it is losing its personal touch. And once that goes, next on the goodbye list are the ratings. And finally, revenue.

  2. I have often said that when an on-air position, once again, constitutes meaningful work for a grownup, I would consider it.
    I’m not poised to leap to the phone.
    In the meantime, those who remain can take the blame.
    Ludicrous AND self-defeating for the industry.

  3. You ever get a good look at many of these characters?

    Who would take them seriously?

    Ask them what their net worth and they’ll tell you they don’t hunt butterflies.

  4. This is a funny study. 27% get support from OTHER AIRSTAFF!!! I bet that’s very true. Forget about management, they don’t feel they get support from their peers. Typical personality trusts other staff as far as they can throw them. They don’t recommend radio to high school students because they’re afraid of being replaced by one of them. That’s just the reality of being on the air.

  5. You know I understand the results here but the top level of support from co host is only 45%??? dose this mean that most head jocks are loners by nature and a mind set??? the best ones I have worked with are. The statistic’s here are behaviorally per set
    As to slow bleed or radio is dead, I am getting a little sick of the critics basing there opinions on what BIG Corp radio has done and are continuing to DO. There are diamond operation (usually Independents) in Small, Medium, and Large Markets that get it and are doing great local content , promotions and are the most relevant media in there markets.We always hear the Sick, Sad , tired story of the corporate guys. They were the 1st to mess up and they will be the last to wake up, STOP basing the industry on the folly of 2 company’s
    Rant Over, Move Forward

    • Amen! Jock in the Box is a recipe for indifference. Our local connection to our communities is REAL and it’s SPECTACULAR! No dinosaurs here, just a reliable and trusted source tying listeners and advertisers. Our air staff is male and female, ranging from 25-60. Didn’t know this was akin to brand surgery.

  6. Not surprising that less than 30% of on-air people would recommend radio as a vocation – particularly on the programming side. Except for star talent in major markets, talent and administrative staff inside stations has never been paid on a par with sellers & management. Add to that syndicated programming, voice tracking and radio has consistently devalued itself. Let’s face it: radio in it’s present form is a dinosaur, but unlike the dinosaurs, an extinction-level event won’t happen…it’ll just be a slow bleed and this prevailing culture won’t stop it.


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