Editor’s Note: I REALLY can’t belive some of the things that I have said in the past (lol). this was originally written in 2012. Enjoy.
First and foremost, let me state this is done with a bit of dark humor, it’s not LAW but it almost is and it’s also not humor but it almost is (see what I mean?).
Losing your gig and not being able to get back into the industry can be incredibly frustrating but we must all note that this is a youth-driven machine and when your age is past 50, you can come in and make demands if you want to but you might find yourself begging for your job (and these days your CAREER) in a few months.
This is not the time to rest on your laurels and grandly state what you will and will not do, UNLESS you are one of the VERY few who is called upon by a corporation for your services… but it’s the time to start from scratch all over again even stepping down to a position that you have not had in 20 years just to stay on board.
Some people can remain in the industry well into their 70s and make millions as long as they are not black (see this is the “humor” NOT humor thing again) but there are certain things that we should pay greater attention to if we want to continue to work in the industry before then.
Since 2001, the music and radio industry has literally been cut in half (some would even say 75%) and for those of us who are fortunate enough to remain an asset or still be able to work in it, there are some things we must always consider.
The industry has always had certain bizarre realities, probably akin to other industries as well, for example, some of us know (at least we do here at Radio Facts ) when someone is about to get canned from a corporate gig we know before they do but other people from other corporations are often privy to is as well. What can we do (and NOT do) to safeguard our positions and continue to thrive (or just stay ALIVE) in our current and future positions? Who knows I am not a wizard but I can certainly point out the signs that there might be a problem.
You’ve been Assigned 10 Jobs and the Corporation Feels You’re Just Not Giving 100%
Your Industry Career is DONE! The three massive strokes coupled with last week’s Heart Attack, 18 hour days, no vacation, Multiple jobs which include: PD, Promotions, Sales, all air shifts, Receptionist, Oddball Engineer, Intern and the guy that washes cars in the parking lot while people work may not suffice because of that annoying oxygen tank that you constantly wheel around the station all day that the company feels is not the reputation they want to present. The corporation feels that you are being selfish and not being a team player and you are taking your jobs seriously. Sorry.
You Don’t Get Invited to Company Meetings … and you’re in Charge of the Department
.. AND they ask you to write the memo and send it to the staff? Could there be a more obvious sign that the company is trying to phase you out? I’ve actually seen this happen.
You’re THRILLED because Patti Labelle is coming for a station visit and you miss the OLD industry
Your Industry Career is DONE! Career suicide. Let’s say that Patti is now on 2-Piece-Snack records owned by The legendary Extra Buttery Biscuit Brothers and their extra crispy sister “Napkins.” Does this sound like a bad Norbit scripts?Patti is basically retired. Talk about a PD being out of touch? If SWV is considered “Old School” then Patti LaBelle would be considered a Cave Woman act by music industry standards. Even Patti would think you’re stupid to get excited about her coming to the station and she’d probably tell you ‘Calm down Shooga, I don’t want to be here anyway chile. Na go and get cho great grandmammy a Philly Cheesesteak with triple meat.’
You’ve Been Lucky Enough to get Programming Gigs in Major Markets but they have all Changed Format or Ceased to Operate during Your Tenure.
Your Industry Career is DONE! “It’s not Fur, it’s just not Fur!” (Remember when Terrell Owens said that? Translated Fur=”Fair” If this is YOU you have NO right to complain about not being able to find a job OR consider yourself a programmer who deserves respect. Just gracefully bow out and do something else like set up a table downtown and play Three Card Molly…(it’s actually 3 Card MONTE but everybody knows it as “Molly”) after all you were able to convince all those stations to hire you with that kind of record? You must be able to convince people very well. You’re only as good as your last gig and in this case your entire CAREER.
This industry is not a playground for failure it’s an Amusement Park for WINNERS! If you can’t win, you can’t play.. stop blaming the station and the changes in the industry because YOU failed… if several companies keep eliminating a position that they hired you for … let’s just say they are REALLY going the extra mile to send a message.
For the Past 5 Years, You’ve had to Call the Labels for Product and you get mad at THEM
Your Industry Career is DONE! If you have to buy music to play on your station from iTunes, something is REALLY wrong, sorry, it’s NOT the label’s fault and I repeatedly hear this complaint. If they don’t want to send you product that’s a pretty good indication of how they feel about your sphere of influence.
You have Pictures from the Jack the Rapper conventions on your office wall nailed into the fake wood wall paneling
Your Industry Career is DONE! Have you ever noticed that those stations that have that old wood paneling from the 70s nailed into the wall have a musty and moldy smell? Jack the Rapper was an industry legend and yes those were the great days and we had a lot of fun and we were fat and happy BUT THEY ARE GONE and for many of us THESE are even GREATER days.
The new industry is HERE and Jack the Rapper is BACK THERE if you want to be here put those pictures away to show your Grandbabies (I HATE that word “Grandbabies”) one day. People currently working and proceeding forth in the industry have moved on. Cathy Hughes is not talking about Jack the Rapper and she has certainly moved on.
You’re 68 and hang out in Clubs with Saggin’ Pants and your Depends Showing…
Your Industry Career is DONE! There is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING more interesting than someone over 30 dressing like a teenager, however, this can be overlooked. But it’s downright hilarious for someone over 40 and an outright PITY for someone slappin’ the piss out of 50 and doing it.
The only people who look great in youthful clothes who are past 40 are those who are in EXCELLENT physical shape, natural or carefully manufactured (easy on the Botox or you will look like Chucky or like someone who is in the process of getting a home depot caulk injection).
Think back to when you were a kid, how would you have taken it if your grandfather dressed like you? You would have been mortified and humiliated. The industry is not going to take you seriously if you do this you’re going backward instead of forwards. Even Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Diddy, T.I. and Ludacris have updated their wardrobes and boxed up the doo rags. It’s OK to be casual just be CURRENT for your age if you want to be taken seriously.
You think you have actual “Friends” in the industry
Your Industry Career is DONE! TRUE industry friends are those who have helped you during your career when you needed it most. TRUE industry friends are the people who support you and believe in what you do and they will take your calls when you are not working and they call you every now and then to check in on you. To that end, I hope that you now finally realize that you have NO industry friends (whew, I kill me).
How many industry people can you say have done that for you? The few that you can remember, THOSE are your TRUE industry friends. Also, keep in mind this is a VERY fast-paced business. People have to forge ahead and make things happen if you are not in-line, online and able to tow the MFin’ line realize there’s an LONGline to replace you. Make the most of it.
Don’t waste time getting mad at those who don’t see the value in dealing with you get even by moving on and being successful doing something else. Sometimes the old man in the room just needs to buy a new house.
You can’t understand why the station can’t add the new Sly Stone single that he recorded in his live-in minivan … as seen on Unsung
Your Industry Career is DONE! OK, this is part of that humor not humor thing again. I need help. There must be a support group for people like me. Make no mistake, Sly is NOT broke, he wrote a lot of his hit music and his songs are in a lot of commercials. He CHOOSES to be reclusive, not to get help for his previous drug problem and to live in the minivan. Besides with the cost of housing in LA, living in your mini van is actually considered savvy.
You’re a Black Programmer with aspirations to Program a CHR Station…
Your Industry Career is DONE! Stop… please… I can’t stop laughing… this is too funny PLEASE STOP, PLEASE I’m begging you!!!! (holding my stomach in agony)…………………………………………………………………… Call us when you are a senior and still trying.
You’re a White Programmer assigned to program an Urban Station,
Your Industry Career is DONE! Grandmother of all creatures big and small… we feel your pain. What the hell have you done so WRONG? We know this a HORRIBLE time in your career…. do you need a place to stay until you get yourself together?