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Why Radio Programmers (PDs) Curse Record Reps Out

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So as of late, I’ve gotten several calls, texts, emails as well as seen posts on socials from record reps who have been distressed because they have been cussed out by the program directors of urban radio stations. If they have not been cussed out, they state the PD has gone off on them. This is something that has been happening since the start of the industry but it’s evolved. At one time (50s thru the mid-70s) PDs used to get roughed up when it came to reps. The PD would go home to his wife (or significant other(s)) and say, “Baby, can you brang me dat poke chop out the freeza fo mi eye? I got my ass kicked at work againt on today. Mmm hmm.”

So things were a bit out of control then and while the fantasy of bringing those days back might be appealing to a few reps, we don’t have to go back to that. I can honestly tell you that EVERYONE who has ever done me wrong in my entire career in the industry has paid for it (when I met them after work) NO seriously via karma. Don’t gloat keep rowing YOUR own boat and know it’s NEVER about you, it’s ALWAYS about THEM and their sh.

Understanding the PD’s Position … STRESS!!!!

I had to put myself in all the positions, the PD, the rep and the corporation and I have actually BEEN in all the positions. When I was younger I took a few cussin’ outs on the chin and I mean VERY few … but today? Naaaah.

Urban PDs are under IMMENSE stress. They’ve got a station to run, ratings, jocks to deal with, competitors, limited budgets, massive requests, station events, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and back taxes.

I can’t IMAGINE someone cussing me out. At this age? Well, there ARE exceptions to every rule. A client. Yes, I will readily admit I will allow client bucks to interfere with my integrity and they can cuss me out all day and I will laugh it off while watching Bloomberg and eating a egg sandwich. I’m not bothered by it because I know it’s not about me, its something that THEY are going through. Lord knows I’ve used this site to vent. (I have to make some calls to apologize but I too was stressed out). If you need me to vent that sh on just submit my invoice and I’ll be the therapist you can unleash on. You can tell me ALL your problems and I will be your life coach and not tell a damn soul but only if you are a client. I truly feel for the people who are on the other end of somebody going off.

The Promoter

From the promoter standpoint, I understand they’ve got to eat and they’ve got to do something in a very timely fashion and it’s hard to blame them for breaking the rules to get to the PD. If I call you throughout the week, DURING your hours, and you never return my calls then it is likely that I WILL call you on a Saturday morning or Sunday night. Considering you don’t answer the phone and you’re bombarded by everybody else, you’ll probably be pissed and go off on me … but I got a job to do too and my kids gotta eat too. Let me tell you … I will give your mother a ride to Bible Study and take her to the grocery store to get her Sunday greens if I have to do it to get my music to you. (everybody’s mother has always loved me, they probably said ‘somethin’ is wrong with that child’)

The Corporation

The Corporations position is always not to give a damn about records but I’d like to see the stations survive on jocks alone. However, I get their side too. Business is business, ratings are ratings.

What’s the solution?

I don’t know! I just thought this would be an interesting story to write about because there are rarely any interesting radio news stories anymore and the hottest stories on the site are always about death and people getting fired … Oh, stick to the script? OK.  (clearing throat …)

Honest communication is a good way to start. Just be honest with the rep, I can’t do it and I don’t want to talk about it any damn mo! Don’t string the rep along because he then has to string his client, his spouse, his kids, his car note and his landlord along. The cruelest thing you can do, and this goes beyond the PDs, there are a lot of industry people who do this, the cruelest thing you can do is give someone false hope when you KNOW you are not going to come through. That’s F’d up. I get why you do it. Because if you answer the phone “no” is not going to do, the rep is going to give you every other reason to change your mind and you don’t want to hear it. It’s easier to just ignore the cal altogether, I know but no, you gotta respect other industry people because you may end up needing that person one day. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people treat people like sh then end up needing them in this industry. MANY, many MANY times. Keep in mind that the day will come when YOUR calls are ignored, by everybody except The Living Legends, and you will be talking about how the industry has changed and who you used to be (especially if you are not making plans now). We have to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.

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