Well, if Amaka of the amakamedia.com fame thinks I went in hard on my Hard Truths about being in/on Radio, maybe this will jolt her just as much…
It’s an article from Corey Deitz one of a few American Broacasters I sponge off. This is funny and totally relatable if you’ve ever worked on or still work on radio.
Beware the Vacation
So, why exactly are these things called “vacations” so dangerous? Because they give other people a chance to do your job better. Let’s say you’re doing a midday shift at some station in Bonklick, Ohio. You go on your annual July getaway with your wife and kids to your mother-in-law’s condo in Florida where you don’t have to pay rent. That sneaky part-timer who has been hanging around the Program Director’s office for months has just been assigned to fill-in for you. Little do you know Miss SmartyHost is an absolute talent! What’s worse is she gets five whole days on the air, four hours-a-day, to show your boss just how clever she is! My friend, you are screwed!
All that has to happen at this point is for one person to say something positive about her filling in for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s the General Manager or the night custodian. Once your Program Director begins to think about it he probably says to himself, “Ya know what? Vacation boy was starting to sound a little tired and lame. This new girl is – well – fresh and bright – and she listens to me. I like her. Plus, I’m sure I could get her for half the cost of Vacation boy.”
This is why nobody in radio ever wants to leave their place in line. And don’t doubt me on this. Everybody who is on-the-air is just holding their place in line. The part-timers, the wannabes, the eager novices…they all want to cut in line. The only way you can successfully keep that from happening is never leave the line! A better strategy is to conveniently forget about your vacation time and leverage your sick days. When you take a sick day off, nobody has time to notice how good your fill-in might be. If you’re smart you’ll take a lot of three-day weekends with a Friday or Monday as a sick day.
Why Management Really Likes “Vacation”
This idea that vacations are career killers is not only something employees kid about with each other (then silently obsess about). Employers cleverly offer “vacation time” disguised as a “benefit” to employee knowing full well that the next easiest thing to firing somebody on a Friday is firing someone when they are out of the building. Hundreds if not thousands of radio hosts have been canned while sunbathing in the sand at a cheap hotel where Spanish is spoken and the margaritas are watered down. No, not Mexico – Miami.
That also might be the reason why the slang word for being out of a job in radio is “on the beach.”
That’s actually true.
Most people have the erroneous idea that people with jobs on the radio (those poor slobs who never use up their vacation time) only work four hours-a-day. But, you have to give radio props because few businesses can make even unemployment sound ridiculously cool.
“You bet, kid. I’ve been on the beach for a couple of months now.”
That’s why I love this business. Only radio folks could turn despair into a kick-ass time that anyone would want to be part of.