(By Loyd Ford) What is your actual plan for helping listeners get back to normal as more and more conditions change on the ground in your market and national trends continue to elevate getting back to whatever normal will look like in the coming months?
May we suggest a few guidelines or at least thoughts for you to investigate with your company leadership?
- Do you have a plan for going back to the new normal and does that plan include encouraging safety as well as covering your company liabilities to the best of your knowledge and ability? While I like lawyers as much as you, I recommend you think about legal situations and what could come up that are unknown to us now. Thinking ahead always makes for good business.
- Is there something in your documents listeners sign when they pick up a prize that states: “(Station) recommends you use all social distancing guidelines from the CDC in the use of this prize and in all social gatherings. We value the safety of our listeners at (station) and appreciate you. We all like to have fun, but we strongly encourage you to put safety first.” As always, consult your attorney for proper language, but I would highly recommend having some language that shows you put care into recommending the use of official safety guidelines when listeners participate in anything they have won from your station or stations. Going out of your way this way could discourage unnecessary and frustrating lawsuits later.
- Give some certainty to what you actually know about the ‘returning to normal’ in your market. Do not assume every market is the same – they are not. In other words, do your research, even informally. You want to know how many of your large employers are going back to work, the size of the workforce that is going back to work socially and how that will work. You can use a variety of sources for this, including the employers themselves in your market. This will be worth your time.
- Do you have a strategy that addresses live events? This may seem like a slam dunk, but you should have a well thought out plan about sending listeners to events, promotion of events and participating in live events in your market (or when you send listeners to one out of the local market to an event). Have you talked with your attorney about covering your bases and do you have guidelines for talent and purposeful advice for listeners (see number 2 above)?
- Do you have a strategy for addressing what happens at live remotes for your station or stations? In other words, is there a new era plan in place for what the new guidelines are for talent, listeners and clients at any event or remote where the station is in attendance?
It is a great idea to get your management brain trust together and brainstorm these and additional ideas to put safety of listeners, advertisers and employees first and to keep an eye on potential legal issues that could come up as people mix it up again.
Have no question: There will be a strong desire to get out and get back to normal. The real question is: How well have you prepared for the potential consequences that can develop from this rush back to whatever normal will look like in our future?
One more thing: I once had a boss I enjoyed a lot who said, “I like good news immediately and bad news 15 minutes before it occurs.” I’ve adopted this philosophy and I invite you to kick it around for yourself because heading off little problems early means less serious and large problems later. When you think about the process of getting back to full social, having your leadership reward both the sharing of good news and bad news rapidly with your leadership players is super smart.
When it comes to Covid or anything else, “this, too, shall pass.” We want to do that with safety and profitability in mind. Go get ‘em.
Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. If you’re on the Clubhouse app, you can join Loyd’s radio pro encouragement group “The Encouragers.” Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].