Does Job Security In Radio Exist? by Rudy Parachoniak

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By Rudy Parachoniak

PSR Contributor

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Wednesday January 20, 2016

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We’ve all seen it happen. The guy you worked with for the past few years has been told that his services are no longer needed. As Queen so eloquently put it “Another One Bites The Dust”. In the world of radio, the revolving door never stops turning. Does job security even exist?

This is a bit of a loaded question. As with any job, your overall security really depends on your performance. If you meet the expectations and constantly look to improve yourself, you’ll likely become an asset to the company. In radio, however, obtaining job security is a little more complex. As air talent, we have to deal with the ratings game. If the numbers aren’t there…well then, sometimes, neither are you. In a sense, your ability to maintain employment is out of your hands.

Or is it?

Job security is never a guarantee, but you can help solidify your spot on the roster by doing what many announcers have forgotten about. Get out there. As air talent, part of our job is to get out in the community, shake hand, make friends. The more people you meet, the better chance you have of making a positive, personal connection with your demo. Politicians take the same approach. When it is an election year, it is virtually impossible to avoid seeing or hearing the candidates in your community. Signs pop up all over town, the politicians show up at community events, BBQ’s, even the local softball tournament. The idea is to meet the people. Show us that they believe and care about the same things we care about it. The more hands they shake and babies they kiss, the more potential votes they’ll get when people go to the polls. The approach for air talent should be no different. It is up to you to market yourself and get the community interested in you and your show. Volunteer…join a local sports team…get involved…make an impact. When people know and like you, they in turn want to listen to you and often get others to do the same.

Being visible and active in the community is only part of the job. Air talent must also strive to be creative and unique while on-air. Give your listeners something fresh and fun while maintaining a local feel to the show. When it comes to prepping for your show, it should never stop. Just because it’s the weekend and you have two days off does not mean that you can forget about what your demo is doing. In order to be truly successful, you always need to be “on”. You should also be aware of what your competition is doing and have an understanding of what is working at other stations in your market and why. Is there something your competition is doing that you are not? If so, what can you do to compete and level the playing field? The format initially attracts the audience, but it is the talent and content that will keep them.

Implementing these suggestions will not necessarily allow you to dodge any potential lay offs or format changes, but it will cause management to think twice before handing you your pink slip. You may not fit in with the new direction of the station, but you will likely gain a great reference and possibly be transferred to another station within the company. If it is job security you are looking for, part of that falls on your shoulders. Act like a politician and you’re sure to garner some votes from your community and your station.

Rudy Parachoniak (a.k.a. Rudy Chase) is the Operations Manager / PD and Morning Show Host for Corus Radio Kingston (96.3 BIG FM / 104.3 FRESH RADIO).

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7 COMMENTS

  1. There is nothing you can do to secure your job. Even happy apples get asked to leave the tree these days. Sometimes they target a position and eliminate mid-days across the country. Sometimes your department gets centralized into hubs like traffic, accounting, creative and production. Even on air can be replaced with voice tracking. Sometimes you’ve been there too long and make too much money. Sometimes you can loose your job because your company wants to make a point to the CRTC prior to a hearing. The best thing you can do is develop as many skills as possible and try to meet as many clients as possible. You may have to ask them for a job one day.

  2. Agreed with all prior posters

    Radio today is a corporate management heavy industry where you can be fired for any random reason EVEN if you make money (maybe more so if you are expensive). All the talent and merit in the world doesn’t always “save” your job.

    However some jobs are safer than others, like traffic, engineering, or production because they are necessity instead of “personality”.

  3. “Does Job Security In Radio Exist?”

    Bell Media canned 400 people in November from radio & TV. Corus has said they’ll be saving millions of dollars over the next few years by laying people off after they complete their purchase of Shaw Media. And just yesterday, Rogers announced they’d be laying off 200 people from their radio & TV operations in February.

    I worked for Rogers in Calgary for almost 5 years. I was the Music Director for Jack FM & I was the PM Drive host for almost 2 years. I assisted with programming, I attended consultant & strategic sessions, I built multiple massive 1000 song on-line music tests, I was deeply involved in the re-brand/re-launch of Jack FM in the spring of 2013 and I busted my ass to do everything I could to make myself indispensable.

    Then, in January 2015…toast.

    “Going in a different direction.”

    If I had to answer this guy’s question, my answer would have to be “no”.

  4. I agree too that this article is dated. Unfortunately, staying relevant in radio today is having a business card that looks like his:

    Operations Manager/PD for two stations in a market of 150,000+ and morning show host on one.

    The people that fulfill the goals described in this article have been replaced by the radio multitaskers….able to do multiple jobs ok instead of one specific job well. I fit that mold as well.

    -A fun, engaging, entertaining drive host is replaced by someone with the stamina to voicetrack 15 hours of shows through the network everyday.
    – A strong music director monitoring local testing and spending a decent amount of time putting a log together that’s right for her market is replaced by a single person that is quick on the software and is able to spit out 6 logs for 6 “different” stations per day within the company standard format.
    – A PD that has the time to spend with the morning show he supervises is replaced by one that is too busy with the post of his own morning show…and of course… being “on” when out of the office at grocery stores and such.

    We can all wish this article is true…but it is strange to see such advice from one of those multitaskers. It has become so much of the norm that we don’t even think of it anymore. I don’t know the author, but I’ll bet if he could focus on one of those tasks on his business card instead of all 4…..he would feel much more effective in the single chosen task.

    I know I would.

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