Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Radio 101 - The Secret to Success?

You know you're getting old when you walk through a radio station and a good portion of employees, including established talent - salt and pepper hair and all - recollect about the time they were in 'your class'.

Hard to fathom (for me, anyway) - but I am heading into teaching year number 14 at Radio Humber. Let me rephrase: I am heading into 'learning' year number 14 at Radio Humber.

An effective teacher is supposed to absorb as much knowledge as they emit. And for me, one of the greatest tools of learning and staying relevant in radio comes from absorbing the advice offered by more than one hundred guest speakers in my class.

One of the assignments in Career Preparation for Radio involves the students arranging for a guest speaker to visit the class. It's interesting to find out exactly which broadcasters students find relevant and interesting; guests have ranged from recent radio graduates - to veteran programmers, producers, account reps and talent, to CBC's Peter Mansbridge - and everyone in between. I quickly discovered that although these people have different experiences, different job descriptions at different companies, and sit in different locations on the radio food chain - they had a whole lot of 'the same' advice when it came to radio - and being successful in radio.

Based on those commonalities, I came up with an acronym for success that I share with my radio students:


A is for ATTITUDE     (humble, gracious, positive, helpful, versatile)

D is for DEDICATION (committed,responsible, accountable,willing to                               relocate )
A is for AMBITION     (stand out and prove you want this more than                                 anyone)
P is for PASSION        (is it in your blood? do you love the idea of this                                career?)
T is for TALENT         (appreciate your gift and continue to evolve and                               grow it)

Radio itself is an adaptable medium; one that has successfully evolved and adapted to the times - no matter what the challenge was - or continues to be.  It makes sense that the common element of those who carve out a successful career in radio would also be adaptability.

The ability to 'ADAPT' shouldn't halt after landing that first job in radio. Just ask those who have had a long run in the radio business; they have made sure they ADAPT throughout their career. Remember - the company, job description, format, colleagues and job title may change, but the ability to ADAPT can not!