Well, it’s time to blow off some steam. Maybe not steam, but this idea has been bouncing around in my head for quite a while now. Time to clear the air.

I realize in this industry, radio, records, and the like, we all have jobs to do. And I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone on the other team, i.e. the labels and promoters, could write a rebuttal to this piece.

But….I’ve noticed a considerable change, which I thought I might just be my imagination, in courtesy from labels and promoters as opposed to just a couple of years ago. At least for me, I’d like these simple, telephonic courtesy rules to be in effect. I know this is a touchy subject. But I am certain after talking with other radio folks that they feel similar, some of them even more adamant and less likely to be diplomatic here.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We’re all in this together. So let’s compromise.

1. I’ve programmed 5 stations in one building for years, and always programmed more than one. I set my time aside for each format I report and take music calls on. Please understand that when you call on a day set aside for someone else, I may not be available, or may not have sufficient time to give you the attention you deserve. And also remember the phone rings alot, A LOT…..on Monday. If you get voicemail, and it’s not imperative you talk with me, leave your wishes on the machine. E-mails work, too. I know there are PD’s and MD’s who have only had one station to concentrate on, mainly in bigger markets than mine, for years. But I see that changing as I write this, with PD’s doing “double-duty”…..it’s not easy.

2. Let us finish a sentence before you start with the next one. When someone asks “how are you”, I try to answer…..more often than not, I’m not out with half a sentence before I hear the words, “can we go over some music?” On the other hand, that’s why you’re calling…..so let’s not waste each other’s time with “the joke of the day” or by telling me how cold/hot/miserable/beautiful it is where you are. No matter what it is outside…..I’m inside. And our weather is usually either really cold and windy or really hot and miserable, with little in between. Nothing personal. It just puts others on the voicemail, which they refuse to use to their advantage, and I just don’t have time to return everybody’s call, as much as I would like to. Domino effect type of thing.

3. Don’t assume we will swap one title for another, please. I know some of you have singles, use them up, and release a new one while the old one may still be on my chart and simply ask me to replace it. IF I haven’t heard it yet, how can I tell you a definitive answer? Chances are very good that I may add it….but it may not be that week. I always know when you want an add, but hardly ever know when you are coming off of a record as a promoter or an artist.

4. There are some songs, many times “geographical hits”, I may spike early because for whatever reason, our listeners warm up to that song quickly and request it much earlier than others. I know it hurts your record if I don’t keep it in heavy if I spike it early. At the same time, smaller markets like ours get ZERO credit on helping to make an underdog a hit. It’s usually some R&R station that gets the print…and we’ve been on it for, like, 7 weeks. Conversely, if we drop it early, it hurts you, the label or promoter. It’s our job to get it noticed…..but keeping a song in heavy rotation for upwards of 12 weeks because others on the panel didn’t “get it” at the beginning puts stations like ours in a weird position. If we don’t spike it, it may never be noticed at all. If we do, we’re expected to keep it there. Tough decision. It makes reporting more of a chore than it needs to be.

I know this might sound like I’m going through a male enhanced version of PMS, but I’m not the only programmer that feels this way. There are others that may not agree with it. Everybody’s list is different, everybody has a different texture, sound, and appeal with their on air product. What might be heavy rotation for some would be medium for us. Some stations only report 30 songs a week. Again, I try to take all calls during the time I’ve promised to do so, and will try to add something if I say I’ll do my best.

But to be fair for both of us, please accept no as a word you might hear once in a while, and understand our jobs are as tough as yours are. We both want to remain employed. So there. It’s my wish list, and I don’t expect anything more than just the courtesy of reading it and understanding the radio side of the story.