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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

(PROGRAMMING) Are You Making Progress?


Jimmy Johnson, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, tells the story of when he first got into coaching major league teams. He was constantly asked by Jerry Jones, and other managers and owners ?Are you making progress?? and if he said ?yes,? then they asked him, ?How are you making progress??

This is an excellent blue print for radio GMs working with their program directors, and for PDs working with their on-air talent. Keep the product and talent constantly under the microscope. Shoot for ?zero-defects? in your product and talent every day.

Initially, when a new PD is hired, the GM should sit down with the program director and ask him/her where they think the station needs improvement. Document these goals for future meetings. I suggest a quarterly sit-down meeting together to go over these, point by point. Have the PD outline the areas of progress that he feels have been made and the areas that still need attention.

Also, when the PD is hired, in his/her first week on the job, he/she should meet one-on-one with each air-staff person. Have them write down where they think they need to make progress in their performance and how to achieve that. Once they accomplish this list, sit down and go over each point and clearly define the goals you and the station need to meet on a quarterly basis.

Meet with your PD and/or air staff on a quarterly basis. Use whatever measurement tool your have developed to ensure the person and the product is moving forward and meeting each previously defined goal.

In 1987, I was programming in San Diego and was hired as program director at KVIL Dallas (1987-1991). We achieved a goal in 1988 that no one thought we could ever achieve at that point in time ? we hit double-digit ratings (12+) and was number one (12+) in  every day part and number one in every demo, men and women, across the board.

Was I the smartest PD in the industry at the time? Hell no! I had the best air-talent in the country that knew their market, their job, and had fun every day when they came to work. I made it a place where they could use their creativity and talent and just have fun on air entertaining the listeners.

However, I met every week with each air talent and went over an air-check with them. I pointed out the good things I heard and the areas I thought they could improve. The interesting thing here is that you had a group of men and women, some of the best in the business, who had been in radio for a long time but they still asked me for input. They were hungry for fresh knowledge and wanted to learn and hear new ideas to execute their performance, and an objective outside point of view. Constructive input that didn?t make them feel inferior.

Make a plan and then work your plan. If you don?t know where you?re going and don?t know how to get there, then you are lost.

Tom Watson is president of A.C.C. Consulting & Marketing International, with clients in major U.S. markets as well as in Europe and Asia. Reach him at or 310.498.5990.

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