Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Catch Up with Sean Ross from Radio-Info

(Bleep) My GM Says

Anybody in radio has acquired a collection of quotes from their general managers over the years. If they were handed down by a great GM, they remain inspiring or motivating throughout a career. And even if they’re not any of those, they still probably provide some ongoing amusement.

We asked PDs in the “25+” audience for the best “stuff their GMs said”—positive or negative, quotes that inspired a staff to perform or just inspired a staff to start job hunting. In many cases here, the GMs are anonymous, for obvious reasons, but it’s safe to assume that any less-than-inspiring quotes come from previous PDs. And, in some cases, the PDs are anonymous as well. Any attribution here is "as recalled by" the PD who submitted the story.

 “Have a commitment to excellence—every time you open the mic, every time you go on a sales call, every time you greet somebody.” – Morgan Prue, APD/MD WLTW (Lite 106.7) New York remembers her WYNF Tampa, Fla., GM Shawn Portmann.

“When discussing strategy, my GM, Jim Principi, always says ‘well, ready, fire, aim. What I’d do is ___.’ I love this phrase and now I use it all the time as well.” – Brad Savage WCNR, Charlottesville, Va.

“This too shall pass.” – Barb Richards, WAJI (Majic 95.1) Fort Wayne, Ind., recounts Lee Tobin's advice for tough times.

“First we’ll be best. Then we’ll be first.” – Former Pamal/Albany regional VP of programming, Kevin Callahan, now the newly named PD of KSON San Diego

“Work off [of] people’s strengths.” – Leslie Fram, WRXP New York, recalling “the late great Bill Phippen at WAPW (Power 99) Atlanta and a mantra that holds true for current GM Alex Cameron as well.

“You can’t teach give a s---t.” – R.W. Smith, recalling GM Dale Weber at WIXY Champaign, Ill.

“Truth is you never know, so why not try?” – Kevin Callahan

“The fall book starts today. Don’t f--- it up.” – Jon Zellner, Senior VP/Programming, Clear Channel

“Any monkey can do what you do.” – Anonymous PD who was told this on taking their station to No. 1 25-54. The PD did have the presence of mind to come back with, “Maybe so, but how come I’m the only monkey who’s done it?”

“I would normally never ask this, but I promise you it’s a one-time deal and I’ll never ask this for another client.” – Clear Channel/Akron, Ohio, PD Keith Kennedy, who attributes this to “every GM I’ve ever worked for.”

“Do you have any good ideals for this promotion.” “It’s veryflustrating isn’t it?” – Anonymous

“I’m the best programming General Manager in the business.” – Anonymous

“Really? My wife loves that song.” – Dave Symonds, Clear Channel/Richmond, Va.

“Why are we playing sleepers like Boyz II Men or Luther Vandross at the top of the hour where we should be playing an uptempo burner?” – Rick Thomas, Director of Programming, Ohana Broadcasting/Honolulu recalls a former GM

“We must stop playing the song where they are killing a horse.” – Rick Thomas, remembering another former GM’s response to what turned out to be House Of Pain’s “Jump Around.”

"We shouldn't be playing that song about 'going down to do Ms. Walker." -- Former WDAF Kansas City morning host Darren Wilhite remembers the GM who objected to the Kentucky Headhunters' "Dumas Walker."

“Why? Why? Why does your morning show hurt me every day.” – Jon Zellner

“Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?” – Anonymous PD

“If you want sympathy, it’s between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” – Callahan, whose GM’s “quit your complaining” speech was even more direct.

“Once you put someone in the bastard column, never take them out of the bastard column.” -- Anonymous

“If we’re not Top 5 25-54, I’ll cut your d--- off and use it for a doorstop.” – An PD who decided to take it as an anatomical compliment that his GM would see this as physically plausible.

“Money in the door cures all ills.” – Steve Clem

“What do you want? You’re already making more money than me.” – Brian Carter

“That’s a money spending idea. Somebody bring me a money-making idea.” – Anonymous

“The more money you make, the bigger the target on your head come budget time.” – Anonymous, whose GM was only thinking of his PD’s well-being by not paying more.

“You are an important part of this show. You are the parsley beside a big steak dinner.” – Anonymous, whose boss was trying to explain why his raise would be proportionate to that of a garnish.

“Great job this week! Write down half your hours.” -- Anonymous

“I deserve this raise!” – A PD recalls a GM banging their fist on the table during a budget meeting on why that company-wide spending freeze shouldn’t apply. “I was excused from the meeting shortly thereafter,” the PD recalls.

“I don’t want a people stealing Band-Aids.” – PD whose GM was explaining why there was no first-aid kit, even though an employee had been injured on the way to work.

“Disc jockeys are worth minimum wage and all the records they can steal.” – Bill Clary

“If the jocks can’t eat it or f---- it, they’ll break it.” – Anonymous

How about (bleep) that your GM said? Comment here or e-mail

About the Writer

DisplaySean Ross, one of the radio and music industry’s most widely respected writers and programming analysts, is the author of the newsletter Ross On Radio, an extension of his long-running column of the same name. Ross is a veteran trade journalist, whose background includesBillboardRadio & RecordsAirplay Monitor, and M Street Journal. Since 2003, he has been VP of music and programming at Edison Research, a leading radio industry vendor, and has continued in that capacity since joining in 2009. He has also programmed R&B Oldies WGCI-AM Chicago, written many liner notes for Oldies compilation projects, and is a consultant to the radio and music industries.

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