by Sterling Tarrant
Women and Chocolate. In my wife's January issue of Good Housekeeping magazine there is an article about why women need chocolate. It seems that chocolate contains fifty percent sugar and fifty percent fat. Since these two things stimulate chemicals in the brain that produce feelings of calmness and mood stability, chocolate, it seems, is the perfect food for both calming you and elevating your mood. A sidebar to this article says that chocolate is the number one food preferred by women, while the top food preferred by men is red meat. Studies show that men like to hunt; women like to gather. Our preference toward these foods, I think, bears this out. Red meat has to be hunted and killed. Chocolate needs to be gathered, mixed, and loved into existence. Although, my wife has been known to hunt me down and verbally kill me whenever she discovers I ate the last of the M&Ms.
We love these foods. We hate these foods. We love how they make us feel. We hate how they make us look. It's a love/hate relationship. It's the same for our jobs. They nourish us, give us purpose, build our self esteem, fuel our creative afterburners; and yet they drive us up a wall. The question this month is simple, and so identifiable. You, too, will probably identify with everything said as we ask the question, "What do you love most about your job? What do you hate most about your job?"
Tom Sandman, WRRM-FM, Cincinnati, OH: I like doing creative stuff like song parodies, commercial parodies, stuff like that. I hate last-minute commercial deadlines, last-minute commercial copy.
I, too, hate last-minute copy that comes in. I figured that would be the most common answer to "What do you hate most about your job?" So I asked Holly Buchanan at WMXB-FM, Richmond, VA about it:
It's funny, it has become such a way of life that I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have the deadlines. You know, I'd rather I didn't have them, but it's to the point you don't even think about it anymore. One of the things I do hate the most is that your best spots, the clients never like. Every month I update and do a "best of" where I go through and look at all the promos and commercials of the past month. I'll make a tape of the top five or six, and it never fails that the spec spots that didn't sell are always my favorite commercials. That's gotta be up there on the top of my "hate the most list." You know, you'll come up with a great concept and you take it to a guy who says, "No, it's horrible. I hate it." Then somebody else in the same genre comes along the next day--this could be what I love most about my job--and they think it's the greatest thing they've ever heard.
Another thing I love about my job is that I've got such great people to work with. Last week, they had trade at a golf place, so I traded out my golf game. The next night I traded out dinner and theater tickets. The next night they had traded out some groceries, so my whole life was like traded out for a week. It was great. That's one of the occasional nice perks of the job.
Bill Purdom, K-92 FM, Star 94.5 and WDBO-AM, Orlando, FL: I love convincing a client that is skeptical about radio that it's the most cost effective advertising medium ever devised. A lot of times, these are people who have been told by other media types that it's a waste. It's low grade. It's sloppy. There's a lot of unprofessional, incompetent people doing it. When you turn an attitude like that around, it's always a kick.
I hate the piddly dreck. What I mean by that is when you walk in the door in the morning you have a clean slate, half a dozen things you're ready to jump into. Then you have some little problem with a wrong cart number, or somebody's mispronounced a word, or something's been put in the wrong place, and you spend an hour putting out fires. I HATE that. But, it's part and parcel of this broadcasting business.
The small daily triumphs, the wrong cart numbers, the creativeness, the affection and rejection from clients, listeners and Account Executives. We are the chocolate of the radio industry. Production Directors are both loved and hated. We are the ones who can bring both calm feelings and elevated moods at our stations. If you would like to share what you love and hate about your job, contact me at the various addresses below. I'd be happy to list more opinions about this topic in future columns. When you start to dwell on the parts of the job you hate, remember this joke that the Marketing Director at my station recently told me:
Jesus was walking down the road when he came upon a blind man. "What is wrong my child?" he asked. "I have been blind since birth," the man replied. Jesus touched the man's eyes and he was healed! He could see perfectly!
Jesus continued down the road and came upon a man who was limping. "What is wrong my child?" he asked. "I have been crippled since birth," the man replied. Jesus touched the man and he was healed! He could walk perfectly!
Jesus continued down the road and he came upon a man sitting by the side of the road crying. "What is wrong my child?" he asked. The man replied, "I am a Production Director at a local radio station."
...Jesus sat down and cried with him.
Until next month, eat some chocolate.