The Bike Is on Fire, You’re on Fire, Everything Is on Fire and You’re in Hell

You’ve seen the meme on Facebook concerning just about every occupation under the sun: “Being a [fill in occupation] is easy, it’s like riding a bike – except the bike is on fire, you’re on fire, everything is on fire and you’re in hell.” But, that sentiment certainly should have been written originally about being a radio program director.

PD’s who remain employed are asked to get their jobs done with fewer people and fewer resources every year. We’ve been at lunch with more than one major market PD who has had to cut short a conversation to rush back to the station … to answer the phone for the contest that’s running in 15 minutes. So, it’s easy to write one of these pieces opining that stations should spend more time being amazing. It’s much harder to find time to be creative and amazing when faced with the endless to-do list all PD’s have today.

But …

Remember station composites? They used to be a standard part of the kit for rep firms to give buyers and media decision-makers a taste of what a station sounded like. Some stations still do them, but they’ve fallen out of favor for many. Creating them forced PD’s to think about what differentiated their stations; what elements contributed to the essence of their brands; what thought-provoking or talk-provoking content they could highlight. The finished works were played for staffers – both programing and sales – making some proud moments along the way.

So, here we are at the start of 2016: fewer people doing more work with fewer resources. Even if your sales department and rep firm has no use for a composite (and you and your production person have no time to create one anyway), we urge you to spend time thinking about what you’d put on your composite. Get input from folks at the station. Spend a few recreational moments searching YouTube and SoundCloud for old station composites to be reminded of ideas. You might find events or promotions or contests or other content to refresh for 2016.

The goal is to find the time to do amazing, important things to make memorable content to engage listeners, impress advertisers and inspire employees in 2016 – while also grinding out the endless urgent details that too often fill the long days (that you spend on fire while riding the flaming bike through hell).