Category Archives: observations

The Voice Knows

If you’ve been doing what you do long enough and are a student of your profession, you probably have a little voice inside that seems to pipe-up at the most in opportune times.

Like when a group decision is rolling down the tracks.  You know:  Everyone’s on-board … this is a huge move … it makes so much sense.  Yet there is that little voice in your head that urges caution or even screams NO.

I think I finally figured out why.

Because real students of their profession or field notice slight nuances or subtle hints that more casual observers do not.  I have a mechanic like that – and he is GREAT!  Always picks-up something when he hears an engine purr.

The hardest time to hear that little voice is when the decision makes so much sense that is seems obvious.  Radio format adjustments can be like this.  All the evidence in the world points in one direction.  Everyone else – even you, sees it.  Yet that little voice won’t go away.  Had that happen years ago when my group was racing to fill a format hole after fielding a market study – we might not have killed a station.  I can read research with the best of them and was a good solider.  But that damn voice kept saying “no.”

How do you bring it up in the face of expensive research and an afternoon’s worth of analysis?   After keeping my mouth shut and watching projects bomb, I finally got to a point in my career where I decided to speak-up.  How was it received?

“A hunch?  Strategy is not built on a hunches!  What can you back it up with?”

There is where the voice abandons you … because it’s just that:  a hunch.  If I had the facts we wouldn’t have to pay for all of this expensive research.

I backed down … but the hunch was real and the format tweak bombed.  I wish I had put my hunch on record!

My guess is that we see and hear things that a research project which is always being pulled in a certain direction cannot.

Twice in my career, I let those who write my paycheck, hire a talent who used to be a big deal to revitalize a morning show.  Both times the management knew of the talent – and in one case how he used to kick our butts.  And … he was affordable!

Or course he was … because he was no longer relevant.  But the research said the audience loved him.  Every verbatim in the study had good things to say about him.  He was the most missed talent in the market.  This was a home run!

What the research could not predict was how him returning to this smaller market was a career defeat.  He was never his old-self – and why would be he be?  That was 12 years ago!

But I knew it.

How?  Who wouldn’t feel that way after playing in the bigs, with boats, money and a sports car.  The dude was driving a used Honda Civic when he came for an interview.  I saw someone defeated and knew he could not make listeners feel good about themselves in this case.  It was never intentional on-air, and most people could not put their finger on it.  Yet that voice told me … and it was true.  Next study fielded 18 painful months later painted him as washed-up.

Today I have the ability to talk with my peers and colleagues and have no problem just saying “trust me on this.”

Too bad it takes so long for people to give you that consideration.


Time is Money

Why do bad sales people act as if I owe them time to hear their product pitches?

I’ve had a rep dying to make a group-wide pitch to our company, though which I would be the point person.  However, with spring promotions, market visits and 2 concerts being produced:  I do not have any time available for a visit.

After 10 days of constant pestering, I finally told this rep that when everything for spring was in place:  I would have time.  She was insistent that this was urgent and she need to get to me now.

I finally told her all I had left was my personal time, which I would be willing to re-allocate if that was this important.  She insisted it was and threw out a web-presentation time/date outside of my normal working hours.  I agreed, but told her I value my personal time at $50 an hour.  I then asked her if this would take more than an hour so I knew how to prepare he bill.

She was dumfounded.  She said they don’t pay us to attend webinars.  I was fine with that, I told her to get back to me after the spring when I could squeeze out some company time to get this company-wide pitch.

No more pestering.  I think I made it clear anyone who is managing several projects at once must master time-management in order to succeed.  It wasn’t until I put a monetary value on the pitch, that she saw where I was going.

By the way:  Had she offered me the $50 to take the meeting, I would have taken it and been intrigued.  I would have to assume this WAS a must-see pitch if she was willing to put her money where her mouth is.

Jump ahead a year, it was nothing of interest to our company.

Storm Troopers and Death Stars

Enjoyed the new Star Wars – Couple of thoughts:
(1) 7 episodes in … and those storm trooper outfits don’t deflect gunfire, don’t protect from poison gas, and have got to slow one down in the hot desert or knee-deep snow … and planets of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away seem to be abundant in both. Time for a new-look dark-side?
(2) Note to manufacturer of death star like things: On future models, please omit the small opening – that only an amateur shooter can hit – that will take down the whole dang gadget. After rigorous testing in the field for decades, a fatal flaw has been documented in several of your evil things and noted on social media – garnering your product with a measly two-star rating. A recall – at least – is in order. Those death star looking things are like Windows on your PC – every update looks bigger, but crashes harder from some minor intrusion by an amateur.