The Sounds of Silence


(By Chuck Knight) 2020. A year of undeniable challenge, change and stress. COVID-19, culture shifts, economic struggles and political division. In our industry, combine furloughs, layoffs, cuts and extra duties added to job descriptions. Today some of us have jobs, some of us don’t. Although I’m currently part of the latter group, I and most of us have first-hand experience in both. Every one of us is part of the small Radio family. It’s a critical time for us to be attuned to how we do, and sometimes don’t, engage with our industry peers.

Those of us who are currently employed have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life today. Upon leaving a job, many people are sorely missing the daily face-to-face human contact, friendships and relationships with their now former coworkers. COVID-19 has only compounded these feelings of being isolated, ostracized and cast aside. So if a person reaches out with a friendly hello, asks our opinion or inquires about a job opportunity, let’s engage them by responding to their email, text or direct message. It only takes a couple extra seconds.

They aren’t infected with some unemployment virus that can be transmitted to us electronically. By failing to reply, the unfortunate, unintended message we’re sending them is that they aren’t important to us. I hear from many in this group that the silence and lack of response is dark and deflating. That’s not an image or reputation any of us wants for ourselves or our companies. There’s too much of this that goes on in our business and in reality it’s been going on long before COVID. So let’s embrace the opportunity to change and have a positive impact on their day, with even a quick reply, that lets them know they’re relevant.

For those of us who are now unemployed, we must realize that in the new world of 2020, our still employed friends, contacts and former co-workers may have many new, additional responsibilities with the same 24 hours in a day to get it all done. A reply back to us may might not be immediate. They could be challenged with figuring out how to reopen the station with new safety protocols. Maybe they, or an immediate family member, are dealing with a health crisis. Or they may be on a mandatory furlough vacation week and forgot to turn on auto-reply. If we’ve been frustrated by no responses, following up with annoyance and sarcasm is the exact opposite of what today’s blog is about.

We’re a small, specialized group of believers and doers who share an unapologetic passion for Radio. This is our career, this is what we do, this is who we are. We are a family. For sure it’s a stressful time in our business but we all have an opportunity to better communicate, lift and encourage each other. How we engage and treat one another translates to the vibe of how our brands engage and sound on-air. We all need more kindness and compassion in the world right now. Let’s do that by engaging with our industry peers and practicing the Golden Rule of treating others the way we want to be treated ourselves. 

Chuck Knight has worked for Jerry Lee’s WBEB Philadelphia, iHeartMedia, Emmis, Saga and others. Reach him through his website at


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