Thursday, March 10, 2011

4 x 2 = #1: Four Questions with Two Programmers Honored at CRS 2011

Doing great radio is a reward in itself of course, but a public acknowledgement of your skills and successes is wonderfully exciting and personally fulfilling.

Two programmers for whom I have great respect, and whose stations are perennial number ones in their format and their markets, were honored in such a way last week during the Country Radio Seminar.

Beverlee Brannigan, Journal Broadcast Group’s Director of Country Programming and OM at KFDI, Wichita was named as one of Radio Ink’s 20 Top Program Directors of the Year.

Rob Kelley, OM at Federated Media’s WQHK, Ft. Wayne was named PD of the Year, Small Market by Country Aircheck.

I asked Beverlee and Rob to share some thoughts that I hope will inspire you as a programmer.

I also hope you’ll inspire us by adding your thoughts.

Mike O'Malley: If you had to live by a single programming mantra, what would that be?

Beverlee Brannigan: If I had to boil everything down to a phrase short enough to put on a t-shirt it would be: Build relationships with air talent. We succeed as programmers according to our ability to execute our (finger quotes here) “great ideas” ….through air talent. The individual relationships are very important.

Rob Kelley Always be open to new ideas and new information, even when it goes 180 degrees from something you may have recently thought or implemented. We live in a quickly changing world and the rules change all the time.

MOM: What’s the one thing or "it" you believe every programmer needs to be successful?

RK You need to surround yourself with people that are better than you at something you’re not especially strong at. With the number and level of platforms we have to operate on today there is no way one person can be a master of them all.

BB: Balance. You’ve got to be wise about balancing the management aspect of the job with the creative part. Both are absolutely necessary. It’s easy to fill a day with HR and meetings and reports and never make a single creative effort all day. It’s important to make time for silly thoughts, creative writing, brainstorming, and “what-if” conversations.

MOM: Would you share a great growth lesson? Perhaps it came from a failure or an unexpected success.

BB: Any career set back can be turned into your best launching pad. Use the set back as a time for self-examination.

RK: I know it may be tough in this economic climate, but make sure you are in a winnable deal. The people, resources, company and facility need to be able to get into the end zone, accomplish the goals and win. When you start operating in “hope mode”, you’re done.

MOM: How about a word of encouragement for new programmers?

BB: Don’t be scared if you don’t have all the answers. You don’t and you shouldn’t. Keep handy the phone numbers of all the smart people you know. Call them frequently and ask their advice and opinions. They’ll make you look smart, too. Never pretend you know something if you don’t. Ask questions. Others will respect you for that.

RK Don’t be afraid to take chances or let your people take chances. There seems to be a new normal almost daily and tomorrow’s new normal may come from you!

Love to hear YOUR comment, too.