Down The Nubbins

My stations are not alone in this predicament. We’ve downsized….essentially not replacing folks when they’ve chosen to leave…..and we’re running on a bare bones staff right now. I don’t anticipate that it will change anytime soon. I do believe that it will get better, but that said….there will probably never be a time that we’ll be back to where we were even 5 years ago with personnel. It’s created a logjam here of sorts. Some folks, including one currently on staff, have evidently found better employment. Or so they thought. With the three people that have left us in the past two years indicating a “better opportunity” awaited them somewhere else….all three have since contacted me asking if we had anything. All have said that they didn’t realize how bad it is out there. And that, it “really was a pretty good place to work”. Don’t fool yourself. It is bad. As bad as I’ve ever seen it. And, we are a good place to work. We’re lucky, as many markets are that are much bigger than ours, to have a stable full of ex-radio people that still want to have the fun without the headaches and heartbreak that comes with radio pay and potential lay-offs. I have one person that works about 30 hours a week part-time, another 25, and yet another 20….and all have years and years of on-air experience. We really haven’t laid anybody off, and the work isn’t much more difficult than it was when we were fully staffed. It just seems like it is. The pressure is felt when a sick day occurs, or full-timers take vacation. Radio gigs are few and far between. A quick check of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters help wanted section found about 6 pages of openings for TV and radio combined, including engineering and sales. The looking for work ads from individuals seeking employment: 21 pages. One would think that somewhere in there, we could find the perfect fit. But it isn’t as easy as it seems. Many of those on the beach have been in the industry a long time and found themselves out in the cold without a blanket due to corporate downsizing and/or sales of their stations. They’re more times over qualified for a position than anything else, and the few calls I have made to potential folks have been met with the traditional, “thanks, but I need more than that to survive” attitude. Others get into a conversation about how the market might not fit their lifestyle…..they don’t want to give up a personal preference as to where they will live as opposed to getting back behind the mic and doing what it is they do best. That’s perhaps the most frustrating part for me. If I weren’t working, and couldn’t find a gig in radio, I’d find something….anything….because that’s just me. I don’t want to sit and rot and let my unemployment benefits start to fade only to scramble to find work. I’m lucky in that regard….in radio for 35 years and have never filed an unemployment claim. And if I did find a radio gig, if unemployed….even if it meant being a board operator somewhere to get my foot in the door in North Dakota in January, I would strongly consider it. It’s a job. It’s in radio. So, if you’re looking and want to get back into the game….shoot me an MP3. I really wish our production director well as she says she’s moving to Oklahoma to support her husband’s choice to take a job there, and to return to school. Will my phone will ring or not in a few months asking if we have anything from her on the other end? The odds so far lean that direction.