by Richard Stroobant
So, you’re producing more spots and imaging more than ever before (probably for more stations too). Maybe you’re feeling burnt out, or a little un-inspired. Or somewhat overworked and underpaid (okay, maybe a lot overworked and REALLY underpaid), and worst of all, you feel underappreciated. Perhaps consolidation has taken its toll on your enthusiasm level, ambition and drive.
Well, Bunky, it’s time to pull up those boot straps and step up. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Let’s win one for the Gipper, and all those corny sports analogies. The world has enough bottle-pickers, so it’s time to shape up or... (enough already). Remember why you got into this crazy business they call radio in the first place?
It was never because you could make a lot of money, or get free movie passes. It was because it was fun. We are in the industry of “fun,” and if YOU aren’t having fun anymore, then maybe it’s not the industry... maybe it’s you. Yes, the industry has changed, but change is a part of life. So, let’s “change” that perception. Let’s look at the glass as half full again. Below, you will find Big Dick’s Top 8 list of ways to get out of that rut and back in the groove. Why 8? Was I trying for 10 and got lazy? No, I was aiming for 5 and got ambitious!!
1. LISTEN to the CD in Radio And Production each month religiously. There is no better place to start than by listening to what other top producers are doing and either get some new ideas OR get inspired to create some new ideas for your stations. Or even search for websites with old award winning radio commercials and “borrow” some of the ideas. After all, nothing in radio is new, it’s just someone else’s idea that we manipulate to become our own.
2. It’s not like there are a lot of conferences, summits or seminars for producers out there. But find one... somewhere... and go to it. Either Dan O’Day’s L.A. Creative summit OR maybe the Wizard Academy in Texas. If you’re in Canada, each year the Radio Marketing Bureau has speakers at the Crystal Awards (This year it was Dan O’Day and Nick Michaels).
3. Look on-line for materials, tapes/CDs, books that can re-energize yourself. (www.danoday.com or www.wizard academy.com are a good place to start.) Google “Terry O’Reilly” (no, not the hockey player). He runs a company called Pirate Radio. He has written some amazing articles on radio that are excellent. Last one I read was in December 2005 Applied Arts Magazine. He has also spoken at a few seminars I have been at. Very inspiring.
4. Submit to the Monday Morning Memo from the Wizard of Ads, and look through the archives for those gems that can inspire you with a different thought process.
5. Speak to a class of radio students. Contact your local college and see if they ever need any guest speakers in the industry. To look into those young eyes and see the fire that they have to get into radio is contagious.
6. This is a severe step but sometimes necessary for those almost over the edge. Ask your accountant, or financial advisor if you can job shadow them. Their idea of “fun” is to make sure all the pencils are sharpened. If by lunchtime, you aren’t poking yourself in the eye with a letter opener and seen screaming out of the building because they’re boring as hell, I’d be shocked. Radio has always been, and will always be more fun than any other business. Never forget that.
7. (This comes from another producer here.) Go to the library. Get a library card and sign out some CDs you have never heard before. (I found a reggae CD of classic rock songs that inspired me to do a promo with it.) Look thru magazines you would never look thru.
8. This is a big one for me. Don’t eat, sleep, breath and fart radio, all the time. This is radio, it is not medicine. We aren’t finding a cure for cancer here, it is only radio. Take some time away and find a hobby... or eight. Spend some time with friends, go to movies, go to a sporting event, play Texas hold’em on line, take your kids to the park, turn off the digital audio workstation at home and LIVE. Experience life. Don’t listen to the radio for a weekend. TAKE TIME OFF. And when you come back to the office on Monday, you’ll feel alive, re-energized and ready to change the world... or at least pump out some gold.
OR, you can stay on the slippery path of the disgruntled employee, who complains all the time and quits or gets fired because they are the “bad apple” and “you have lost your edge.” OR you can go over to the dark side and become a sales rep. They are the ones with the fancy cars in the parking lot.... Nah, they NEVER have any fun.
Feel free to email me your comments (complaints) and any thoughts you have on how to beat the radio blahs and re-energize yourself.