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Radio’s Illness Is Its Public Perception

Jason Barrett

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To borrow a line from Clark Griswold, “Where’s The Tylenol?” If you’ve invested time reading the headlines about the radio business lately, chances are you need it. Week after week, publications flood the marketplace with stories about flat to declining revenues, career instability, and mergers and sales, while industry officials strike back by touting radio’s position as the number one reach medium.

If you’re a young person thinking about entering the radio business, a veteran wrestling with the decision of whether or not to stay involved in it, or an advertiser wondering if placing your dollars in the industry remains a sound investment, you’re likely going to proceed with caution. The overwhelming feeling is that the industry is going to hell in a hand basket, and what’s sad, is that much of this sounds a lot worse than it is.

But do you know who’s fault it is that this has become the public’s perception of our business? It’s ours.

Step back for a minute and think about why you chose to pursue working in radio. For many, they heard a song on the radio, the voice of a talk show host or a comedic bit on the air and it struck a chord with them. The more time they spent consuming the station’s content and hearing how much fun everyone was having, the more they wanted to be part of it.

For others, they might have been drawn to radio after attending a station event, reading about it online, meeting someone in the field, hearing about a contest, watching someone speak, or simply by luck.

Regardless of where you first connected, once you got involved, you stayed involved, because it was fun and brought people together. You felt proud to call yourself an employee of the radio station and you took pride in the performance of the company.

This is the bond that radio produces that is different from other mediums. Television doesn’t provide the same level of intimacy. Neither does the print industry. Social media may create conversations on public platforms, but the human touch and personal connection is different.

But how often do we hear about the positive benefits our business provides? Where are the headlines on the amazing content being produced? Or the special connections and unique experiences being created by our radio stations? How often do we highlight the success stories of our gifted personalities who make our brands meaningful to local and national audiences?

For one reason or another, the daily conversation on our business has become centered around ratings, sales, quarterly earnings, and satisfying shareholders, and less on the reasons why radio is and will always be cool.

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to beat the drum until we make this part of our business better – if you don’t tell your story, someone else will, and once they control the narrative you won’t like the results.

I hear industry people complain about the things that are said, written and presented about brands and companies, but I don’t see a ton of action being taken to highlight the many positives. Brand managers, marketing directors, personalities and producers share just as much of a responsibility to spread the message about the amazing work they’re doing as a CEO and Market Manager of a company has to sell their story to advertisers, investors and employees.

And I’m not just talking about promoting yourself on your own social media accounts. That just reinforces your positives with those who already know what you do. How about those who have no idea of your success? I can point out the way the industry is presented across multiple publications, and you may agree, but if you never provide a press release, success story or audio sample of something you created, then how is anyone else supposed to give you credit?

People don’t choose to work in this industry because they want to learn more about layoffs, mergers, stock prices, shareholders, consolidation, sales, bankruptcy, and corporate restructuring. Yet these are the words right now that are shaping the image of our business. Do any of them give off a positive vibe and make the industry sound cool to you? Do they give you hope for where the business is headed? Would you take your own money and invest it in an industry that presents its own story this way?

We are losing sight of what our business is, does and represents. And it’s a crying shame. There are way too many great things happening for us to be projecting this public image of a bunch of lost souls heading towards their own funeral.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the radio business has illnesses and limited remedies. I’m not suggesting we should sweep under the carpet the realities of what many of our broadcast companies are dealing with. But pardon my french, do you know who doesn’t give a shit about the majority of these issues? The audiences we cater to.

If we continue to carry dark clouds above our heads, and act as if we’re on the verge of the apocalypse, audiences will eventually trade in their time with us for others who provide a more uplifting experience. How exactly does that benefit us?

This is even more true with advertisers. Relationships may help a brand navigate thru treacherous terrain, but if a company is frequently connected to negative stories about layoffs, poor ratings, underachieving sales, and failing stock prices, clients and agencies are going to pause before parting ways with their money. They read the trades and news media even more than our audience. When gloom and doom surrounds a business, it becomes harder to place your faith in it.

Understand this, while we’re busy expressing our displeasure, disappointment, frustration and concern about the current state of our industry, do you know who isn’t doing that? Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter. Coincidentally, the majority of those companies are trending upward.

Whether you see it or not, they are all competitors. As radio shares one depressing story after another, these media companies are pushing innovation, content, fun and connection. They are chasing the same ad dollars that we are, and they’re gaining a hell of a lot more of them than anyone else. Quarter after quarter they’re enjoying massive growth, while the radio business pushes the message of “flat is the new up.”

I don’t claim to have all of the answers on how to remedy the radio industry’s PR problem but I think a good starting point is to draw attention to the many great things being created on a daily basis.

We conduct powerful interviews. Creative promos are written, produced and presented. Entertaining bits and benchmarks are featured and elicit emotion and reactions out of our audiences. Memorable content has big promotional value and is share worthy.

We also use our airwaves to help listeners and companies during times of struggle. We rally our communities around local causes and events. We excite our listeners by developing contests that offer them once in a lifetime experiences. Even play-by-play broadcasts create a bond between the audience and the radio station because of the shared interest in supporting the home team.

All of the items I just mentioned, have the potential to be newsworthy. We do them daily and fail to recognize their promotional value. It’s easy to seek promotional support when your ratings increase, a high profile talent signs a new contract, or your station breaks news or generates a controversial on-air response from a guest. But showcasing your brand beyond your own social media accounts and email databases requires taking additional steps.

When you create a promotion or contest, do you alert anyone besides your audience and staff? As someone who has promoted them many times for brands on this website, I can tell you that I often have to dig for them, rather than be made aware of them. I may take the extra step to help a sports station highlight something cool they’re doing but guess who isn’t? The rest of the trades and news media.

How often do you pass along creative promos or on-air bits to showcase your station’s entertainment value? Have you alerted media outlets about some of the ways your talent have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of the audience? Maybe even invited an outlet to tag along and cover the story?

When was the last time you shared an audio clip of a talent telling a personal story on the air? Case in point, Mike Valenti delivered a moving on-air commentary three weeks ago on 97.1 The Ticket after his partner Terry Foster announced his retirement. I included it in a piece I wrote, but had I not looked for it, it’d never have been promoted outside of Detroit.

And that’s not a knock on The Ticket. It simply shows how something we do daily, and take for granted as being newsworthy, can actually have larger promotional value if the trades and news outlets are notified. I’d much rather have seen stories the next day in Radio Ink, Inside Radio, All Access and Talkers highlighting Valenti’s heart felt monologue to his partner than being subjected to another industry piece on revenue declines and budget cuts.

And before you bring it up, I understand that we have no control over which stories get featured in the trades and no guarantee that ink would have been given to Valenti’s commentary. Maybe I’m being too optimistic but I have confidence in those outlets because at their core they care about the success of radio.

It’s also been my observation over the years that when outlets are notified of something positive or powerful happening on a local or national radio station, they’re more than willing to help share that story. They’re not going to take the bait on everything you throw in front of them, but they’re more than fair in providing coverage. When you combine excellence with persistence it often leads to increased visibility.

There are many skeptics questioning the viability of radio. I am not one of them. I love this business and all that it entails, and believe that many of the solutions are inside of our own walls. However, we can do a much better job of changing the message about our brands, content, people and industry.

If you made it to Las Vegas for the NAB Show, then you saw how high the enthusiasm was for the future of media. Radio wasn’t as present as I’d have liked it to be, but each room was filled with people wanting to learn more about podcasting, content strategy, the future of the dashboard, the industry’s projected growth, and other areas of our business.

Then there was Fred Jacob’s TechSurvey 13 which included responses from more than fifty thousand people. Many of these participants share a passion, love and interest in our brands and programs, and 90% said they’re listening to either the same or more AM/FM radio than they had in the past. That’s remarkable. Especially when you consider how media consumption has shifted in recent years.

These same people have begun purchasing the Amazon Alexa or Google Home. One in 10 now own one and 36 million are projected to use a smart speaker by the end of 2017. You can expect that number to grow even more if Apple invades the space as many expect.

Why is that important? Because voice technology is making it even easier for people to listen to radio/audio. Automakers want it present inside the vehicle, and because of its simplicity, the use of it is increasing radio’s ability to stay connected to its audience inside the home. That’s an area that radio has struggled to penetrate in recent years.

We’re also seeing people invest more time with stations and their personalities by listening to on-demand audio and original podcasts. According to Edison Research, 42 million are listening weekly to podcasts, and that’s double from where things stood just 4 years ago.

These are all signs that illustrate how healthy the radio/audio business is. But if you spent a week looking at the way the industry is presented in public spaces you’d lose sight of that.

The fight to monetize and measure our brands and companies better is never ending. This is a competitive industry and operators have every right to demand improvement and profitability. But let’s not forget why audiences come to us in the first place, and take more control of the image we’re projecting about our business. If we don’t, we may be measuring and monetizing a lot less in the future.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett

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It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as SportsRadioPD.com. That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to BarrettSportsMedia.com and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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