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What Are Your Radio Resolutions?

Managers need to have some honest conversations in order to improve in 2017

New Year’s Eve is magical, New Year’s Day is hopeful, and on Jan. 2, we put the old behind us and march forward into the new world. Are you prepared?

While we have a few weeks remaining in 2016, please take the time to count your blessings — both personal and professional — and determine what you can do to bring greater success and happiness next year.

Here’s a checklist to get you started.

How did your radio station make a difference in your local community over the last 12 months? If your answer is that you did nothing but play songs back to back, take a hard look in the mirror and make a promise that you’ll do better starting in January.

Do not use the “I have such a small staff” excuse to rationalize your behavior.

How about a drive to collect coats for those who are cold? I’ve executed this promotion several times with just a few phone calls to a non-profit who will help and a retailer willing to serve as a collection center. No staff required.

February has “Thank a Mailman Day.” It wouldn’t be tough for you to get audio of local people thanking their mail carriers by name and talking about some of the nice things they do in the community.

The truth is, there is something that you can do every month — it doesn’t have to be large — to make your city or town a better place to live. Incentivize your talent to join volunteer organizations for their good and yours.

How did you treat your employees last year and how can you improve your internal communication and staff morale? Don’t let the worst of your staff make you into a curmudgeon with everyone else.

If you can’t help someone improve, do them and yourself a favor and move on. Confrontation is difficult, but without it, things do not change.

Simple rewards such as praise (when valid) — and the occasional extra day off — truly motivate people.

When you plan staff events, try not to kid yourself about how much fun they are for your staff. Making people go out to dinner can be a drag when they really just want to be with their families. If your staff has a few kids among them, consider offering babysitting at your next group function so those parents who work for you can easily enjoy themselves. Your staff is — or should be — a bit like extended family, and it’s important to show you care.

Live more in the moment! This next year, could you have greater self-awareness of how much you use your phone when the people you’re speaking with are directly in front of you?

Leaders are too often clueless as to how they make subordinates feel when their phone appears more interesting than their employees. In meetings, consider leaving your phone in your pocket. That text message can wait a few minutes.

Listen to other radio stations. It’s never been easier to monitor stations in your format in cities around the globe. If you work in rock and you’ve never listened to the BBC’s 6 Music, you’re missing the boat.

Do you work in a big market and never listen to a small-market station? I’ve got news for ya: Country Radio WFLS in Fredericksburg, Va., will make you smile and remind you why you got in the business. Find personalities who can help your talent simply by suggesting that they listen and model.

How can you improve on last year’s marketing and how can you convince the boss that advertising is vital to growth?

Do you have an advertising plan on highly targeted social media platforms? If so, are you creating ads that work without sound? Have you finally admitted that organic reach on social media is dead on Facebook and Instagram, and that others will soon follow? Do you ask enough questions of people in other fields about social media, or do you just follow others in the radio industry?

Vacation is important. When you don’t take vacation, you get burned out. Fresh ideas don’t come as easily.

You’ve also made your staff uneasy about taking their own vacations because you don’t take yours — and when you finally do, you’re answering emails within 10 minutes. Learn how to disconnect and then model that behavior for others.

When I’m having a bad day, I think about how precious our time on earth is to all of us. Tim McGraw once wrote a song about a guy who found out he had cancer and suddenly became a nicer person. We don’t have to wait for that kind of seismic shift in order to change. Be healthy. Be fun. Be nicer to more people — and to yourself — in 2017.

The author is president of Lapidus Media.

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