Right now, today, there are five easy things you can do that can make your radio stations sound better, and improve employee morale. Of course, many of you may do all of these things, and to you, kudos. You’re doing many of the right things to make you a winner. But, most PD’s that multi-task (have more than one station to program) can sometimes forget that even ONE station is important enough to keep it on and critique it. Though we’ll never be able to listen with “listener’s ears”, here are some great, simple ideas that can help you. 1. LISTEN TO……YOUR COMPETITOR. Though there is truth in paying attention to what you do on the air and that it indeed dwarfs anything the other guys might be doing in importance, just what are they doing that sounds good? EVERY station has its strengths. Did they recently start to play more currents, talk less, maybe put a jingle package in? Have they gutted their playlist? You won’t know the answer to those two basic questions unless you make it a habit to listen to them, objectively, once or twice a week for awhile. Maybe you’ll always believe that your station sounds better, and you have better talent, but you should never tune away thinking they simply don’t do ANYTHING right. Respect your competition, but never fear them or react to a major on-air move they’ve made by a knee-jerk reaction. PROACTIVE programming ALWAYS beats anything done in a reactive mode. 2. LISTEN TO…..THE ON-AIR SIGNAL. Truthfully speaking, if you’re both solid with the audio chain from studio to processing to STL to transmitter, most listeners will not notice the difference. But you, as a PD and radio fanatic, do notice subtle differences. Louder doesn’t always mean better! Consider the format, listener fatigue, and always try to be technologically better than your closest competitor. It does make a difference in the long run. 3. COMPLIMENT YOUR PEOPLE. Many stations are too busy in the course of everyday business to thank their clients, but just as importantly, they forget that each employee is as important as the next. Part-timers need to know they’re appreciated too. It doesn’t have to be a big scene, but simply an appreciative comment can go a long way next time you need a jock in a pinch to do something out of the ordinary day to day routine. If they know they’re appreciated, they’ll show you that respect in return. 4. KEEP AN OPEN MIND. No idea is a bad idea; some are simply better than others. When a co-worker, or a listener, comes up with an off the wall idea that you may not implement in 100 years, thank them for thinking of it, and if you do brush it aside, make mention to that person WHY it won’t work in that situation. I’ve had some incredibly goofy ideas thrown at me from some employees, but even one good one out of a hundred that you can implement is better than none. And give credit where credit is due to that person. I once worked for PD who nay-sayed all ideas from all of us, only to implement them in a couple of weeks and took full credit for it. 5. IMPROVE AND MAINTAIN YOUR WEBSITE. Yep, it’s another “non-traditional” radio task but a big necessity. I am amazed how many stations haven’t updated their website in months, with bios of talent long gone. Some have even flipped formats. The listener’s main connection in the 1970’s and 1980’s was the telephone to your station(s). Now, it’s your website. And if you can’t afford a webmaster or a vendor, keeping it simple is just fine, but make it neat, and CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. Remember, we’re in the communications industry. You may have all of these bases covered, or have people in place and THINK that these areas are covered. If you’re the PD/OM, though, it’s ultimately your head if these areas fail miserably, not necessarily the one you’ve assigned tasks to (engineering, production, promotions). A little follow through will go a long way.