The Wrong End Of A Budget


(By Mike McVay) If you’ve ever laid awake at night worrying about your job, been responsible for a station budget during tight times, or been the “budget cut” yourself, you immediately knew what today’s title means. It’s where no one wants to be, but by the time you find yourself in that position, it’s often a fast-rolling train that cannot be stopped.

I’ve been in meetings to discuss which talent are valuable contributors and performers, and which are not. I’ve been a witness to senior executives announcing who is “untouchable” as opposed to who can be easily replaced with little impact to the performance of the radio station.

There are four main virtues that increase your chances of making the “untouchable” category:

  • Strong revenue is attached to your performance
  • You consistently generate great ratings
  • You are a likable co-worker
  • You’re as involved with the station’s success as you are with your own

The more of these boxes you tick, the less likely you’ll ever be named on a potential “budget cut” list, and if you are, a final cut will be a tough decision for someone to make.

The lesson here is to be a contributor. Be a contributor to revenue generation, a contributor to execution, and if you’re part of the content team, be a contributor that drives ratings. If it’s in production, then contribute to making great creative commercial production and imaging. If you’re on the sales team, your numbers should speak for themselves. Be responsible for the betterment of your team with contributions that are both tangible and intangible.

Revenue generation can come from live endorsements, appearances, and remote broadcasts, riding along with the sales team, and assisting in creating spec spots or writing copy. Meet with advertisers when asked and it’s advantageous to the sales team. Make charity appearances when asked to do so. Mean something to the community you serve by having a sense of purpose. These things have a direct line to the money. 

The way to avoid being on the wrong end of a budget is by being irreplaceable because of your contributions

Mike McVay is President of McVay Media and can be reached at [email protected]. Read Mike’s Radio Ink archives here.


  1. Short, sweet and true, Mike. I’ve been on both sides of these discissions as management and talent. Ideally all the b0xes should be checked. I would only add, don’t let your ego factor in, for either talent or management. Being a 57-year survivor, I have found broadcasting to be a very subjective industry. It’s not a job as much as it is a commitment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here