(By Loyd Ford) How do you make your way through the crunchy world of debt heavy corporate radio meets the Covid-19 world if you are simply an employee trying to continue a career path in this thing you love called radio? Layoffs, bankruptcies, furloughs and more can sideline you or at least create stressful disruption in your career. How do you manage the uninspiring world of challenges in the radio business in 2020?
- Network well. In the past, you’ve heard people say, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This is not at all correct. If you are working with this assumption, you will experience confusing turbulence and trouble. If that saying is not true, what is true? Here it is: “It’s not who you know; it’s who knows YOU.” Find a way to meet, engage and help a variety of people in our business in different companies, markets, job positions and find a way to bring value to these people. Network with them to grow your profile of who knows you. You’ll be so glad you did.
- Increase your skills no matter if you are currently working or looking for a job in radio. There has never been a time where you need to increase the value and perceived value of what you bring to the table (unless it’s the future). In today’s world it is no secret that owners, top management and others are looking to the rank and file workers to be able to ‘play a lot of instruments.’ The more skills you bring to the table, the more potentially stable your career path can be due to being able to show your value as an on-demand employee in the current employment environment in the broadcast business.
- Consider the gig economy and bringing your talents and skills to a variety of companies across the United States (or beyond) from your home. All bad news (downward pressure on employment) is good news in this world. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and good ability to pay attention to details, you can research opportunities to voice track and provide other services as your own company. While this removes things that rank and file employees usually enjoy (a regular paycheck, medical insurance come to mind), it also removes the ceiling on what you can make if you build a diverse business that allows you to be your own boss and work from home today.Sometimes when a traditional lane stops working, looking at the world differently allows you to create opportunity to take advantage of situations that become more friendly to the gig economy.
- Investigate how you may use your transferable skills. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you look at the value you are getting from your career and begin to think about better growth opportunities being available somewhere else other than this industry. While we all love it, your first love should certainly be your family, your health and your opportunity to live a good life.People in our business often have a variety of skills that others are afraid to even try. People in our industry are largely unafraid to speak in front of crowds, engage people directly, be thought leaders and have essential marketing skills to help a variety of businesses grow more customers. These days radio employees often know software, graphics skills and are fast learners. These skills are among those most treasured by a variety of employers outside of radio.
- Let people know you need opportunity. We often hide vulnerability. Work to make sure you secure your support network and consistently reach out to them and grow the number of people who know you are looking for work. You have great value. Whatever is happening in the world is temporary. Having a group of people you trust to give you proper feedback, encouragement and engagement is one of the most valuable tools you can have in today’s economy. Keeping your motor running (daily) in the area where you increase knowledge about you with others in our industry who might say something on your behalf is also powerful.
Every day you get up is a new opportunity. If you’ve been reading my regular column, you know that I believe money always moves somewhere in a crisis. Employment and opportunities do, too. Keep your chin up if you are out of work. If you have a job, don’t think the world is always going to be the way it is today. It isn’t.
If you follow this list and make them priorities in your work life, you will find the place where you are most valuable and that will improve your life and add up to more than just keeping a career going.
Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected]