September 30, 2016

What qualities does a station and/or cluster need to possess to foster a positive, productive and inclusive culture among its employees “inside the building?”
Rick Cummings, Emmis Communications: I think the key leaders in an inclusive cluster naturally understand that involving their teams in shaping strategy and making decisions leads to very strong buy-in.  Inclusiveness seems to feed on itself. The staff sees managers doing it and they do it too. Ultimately, someone is responsible for the decision. But when many feel “heard,” that decision always goes down better. I’ve never seen that be a bad thing!

Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: The key is mutual respect for what each department does. Whenever you have an environment where content, sales, promotions and engineering all respect each other's roles, the group usually thrives. I've seen so many toxic environments where programming is treated as a "necessary evil" and talent is treated as if they don't matter, and those operations almost always fail.

Kobi, WNRW/WLGX: Loyalty, honesty, teamwork and that killer instinct to win!

Brian Mack, WXXL: It’s all Linda Byrd here. She fosters creative competition, opportunity for descent and a stake where you have responsibility for your thoughts and actions, and on top of all that I believe she genuinely cares about every single one of us.

Paul “Cubby” Bryant, WKTU: The key word for fostering a positive work environment is that employers need to be "inclusive.” All too often certain personalities or shows are singled out internally when not all stations may have the same budgets or objectives. By focusing on highlighting the strengths of all talent within the cluster and giving the lesser known shows and talents a chance to shine, it not only improves morale, but can also bring to the forefront other strengths that talent may possess which can be beneficial to the employer.

Matt “MJ” Johnson, KUDD: Honesty.

Fish Boy, WKRZ: There has to be an equivalent balance. You have to commend people for doing a great job, but it can’t be all praise all the time. You also have to offer constructive criticism when needed. You have to emphasize the concept of team work. Everyone gets stressed out and they all need to know we’re all in this together.

Mike “OD” O’Donnell, WKRZ: You have to have camaraderie among all the employees, and all the employees need to have a sense that they have a voice in what goes on because we want them to feel like they have a stake in what goes on in the building. I’ve always been a big believer that when big decisions come down I like to get input from everybody, and not just dictate decisions.

Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: It all starts with the local Market President and local Programming Head (some companies call them OMs; we call them local SVPPs). They should be clear about company goals and expectations, ensure that all departments understand what everyone does, encourage strong and meaningful communication, lead by example with love and trust versus fear and doubt, hold the team accountable but give the team all the credit when successful.

Eric Chase, WVKS: You can have all the pizza and holiday parties you want. A gaming system in the green room, healthy food and drink options in the vending area but none of those type of things happen without quality leadership from the person at the top 'in the building.' Everything falls at their feet. I'm fortunate to have that person in our building. Our market president Kellie Holeman has fostered as positive an environment as I've ever been a part of in a work place. And that's extremely challenging in today's analytical and often ruthless work culture that has far too manager managers and not enough leaders. The kind of person you want to work for, even though they make it feel like you're working WITH them.  

Bill Tanner, SummitMedia: I believe that managers should set the standard of a group of talented people working together to create a better living for themselves, their families and their associates. Both sales and programming talent should be coached and encouraged for both productivity and professional fulfillment.

Kobe, WWHT: Communication is key as well as having long term vision to grow and nurture local talent.

Matt Talluto, WBYR: Offer incentives, acknowledgement, and honesty.  The rest will take care of itself.

Jason Squires, KFRR: Have multiple brands and GM’s, like wrestling.
Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia: Inclusive collaborative clusters knock down the walls, figuratively and literally.  Think of it like the open floor concept that has dominated home architecture for years.  If folks are stuck in offices and crowded cubes, it’s more difficult to openly communicate.  Then mentally, I believe you have to find a balance between an individual station’s staff driving to win at all costs, with a parallel goal of growing cluster share.  Different for clusters with similar formatted stations but we’ve been performing in these scenarios for years.  Fun, competitive challenges between stations and personalities can be fun while similarly celebrating the wins regardless of where they come from.

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: It starts at the top, and the word “positive” is so important.  Leaders of the station/cluster should be positive.  Ask questions instead of dictating answers.  Be open to new ideas, no matter who or where they come from.  The words “You’re wrong” or “We can’t” should never come out of a leader’s mouth.  Fostering a productive culture starts with allowing everyone to feel like they’re a part of the vision.  If they’re invested in that vision, everything else falls into place.

Jared Banks, KUDD: Honesty is paramount! Honest with your co-workers! Honest with your listeners! Honest with yourself and your skill set! Without honesty things fall apart quickly! 

Mike Miller, WHKF: An unwavering belief in the product always demonstrates naturally strong leadership in helping to get the job done.

Jimmy Steal, Power 106: Bringing out the best in every individual at your station brings out the best in your station.

Reid, KZZP: Enjoy and cultivate friendships around the office and also having that comradery outside of work always helps to foster creativity.

Heather Deluca, WSJO: Everyone, from sales to digital to promotions to programming, need to have the same understanding of overall goals. Essentially, we all need to be rowing the same boat. If one person is rowing in the wrong direction it could impede success.

Kevin Kash, WWEG:  Check egos at the door. Hire and keep people with a positive mindset that becomes infectious to the rest of the cluster in a good way. 
Next Week's Question Of The Week:
If you could swap jobs with anyone in the radio/music industries for a short term, whose gig would you like to do for a month?
e-Mail your responses to: or


          Question Of
           The Week


FMQB Member Login

Not a member yet?
Sign up Now!
Sign Up for Breaking News!
Enter FMQB E-Tracking!