I read Jeff Left's article on production deadlines in the February RAP sheet [RAP Forum, Feb. 1994] with a great feeling of simpatico...and also, unfortunately, a feeling of wishful thinking.
Jeff's got it right -- there really OUGHT to be production and contract deadlines. TV has them. The print media have them. Why not radio? Makes sense to you and me. And I really like the analogies Jeff drew with making sales folk make three calls starting at 4:50 p.m.. I don't disagree with any of his reasoning. But, at least in my experience, what makes sense to the Production Director doesn't necessarily matter a wet slap to the GM and/or Sales Manager concerned only with the bottom line. Does the phrase "brick wall" mean anything to you?
I've become pretty well convinced that, at least in this market, it ain't a-gonna happen. Not in my lifetime. Oh, I've managed to "train" the sales staff to get stuff in pretty much at a reasonable hour, rather than face the wrath of a PO'd PD, but when push comes to shove, if it comes in at 5, and it starts tomorrow or else we miss spots...it's gonna get done. (One of my pet peeves is during sweep months...local TV station news promos that come in at 3 or 4 and start at 4:30...sigh.)
Mandatory deadlines -- a beautiful pipe dream, unless you're very, very lucky. My best advice is, unless you're one of the few, grin and bear it. And remember, you're an important part of the team. That's worth something. Don't believe me? Take a few days vacation and see what the sales folk are like when you get back!
Bill Downs, Production Director
KMJX/KOLL-FM, Little Rock, AR
Thanks for the reality check! Your experience is probably the most common. But, somewhere out there in radio land, there must be stations with super high rates and no avails. They'd have to have deadlines. Where are these stations, and where does one send a tape and resume!