I don't remember a period of time since I've been involved with broadcast radio where there's been more tumult among the rank-and-file in radio. The iHeartMedia layoffs – or “dislocations” – earlier this month rocked the world of radio, following so-called “reductions in force” by a number of other companies.
I speak to many, many people in the business, representing programming, sales, digital, and other departments inside radio stations. And I don't ever recall a period where there's been more angst and hand-wringing in radio circles than these past few months.
While the most highly visible “dislocations” have revolved around personalities and shows, make no mistake that many of these terminations have involved all positions inside radio stations – programmers, sales managers, and others – deemed to be non-essential to future operations.
Many who are still gainfully employed are nervously waiting for more shoes to drop. But history shows that those who are prepared and well-networked have the best chance of landing on their feet with minimal down time.
It's interesting that pre-2000, these types of “reductions in force” in radio basically didn't exist. Yes, people were fired, left and right. But few positions were eliminated.
One of the industry's seminal trade publications, Radio & Records, used to publish notes each week in a below-the-fold section called “Pros On The Loose” at the very bottom of their “Newsbreakers” page, highlighting people who had just lost their jobs. It simply wasn't that big a deal – sort of “oh, by the way” information. Most people did not have much trouble finding their next gig.
If R&R existed today, it would need an entire issue dedicated to publicizing the hundreds – or perhaps 1,000 or more – of those who have recently become unemployed.
One of the hard parts for many in the business – the “dislocated” and those seeking to hire talented, qualified people – is to know the extent and the details of these moves. Understandably, companies don't publish lists of those who have lost their jobs. Instead, the news slowly leaks out to the industry trades. We may not know the full extent of this industry-wide downsizing for months.
But we can do something about it.
We can help those who are dislocated – and who wish to stay in radio – find their next opportunity to shine.
And we can help companies that are hiring find qualified, motivated employees ready to get back to work.
Sadly, we've been here before. Back when the Great Recession reshaped the radio industry – and from which it has not recovered – we launched a placement program called “Ready To Rock.” Back then, our business was more focused on Rock Radio, hence the name. “Ready To Rock” was announced 11 years ago yesterday.
The purpose of that effort was to provide a lifeline to hundreds and hundreds of dedicated radio pros who were looking for work. And here we are again.
So today, we're launching an industry directory for the “dislocated” and those who wish to hire them. There is no charge, no time limit – nothing. We just want to help people find their next job. Job-seekers can choose their format and job preferences, as well as upload a resume, photo, audio file, and social media links. In this way, we hope employers will have sufficient information on the front end to begin the process.
We will spend the next couple weeks collecting submissions from those looking for a job. Then we'll open the “Find Talent” section to help employers connect with them.
If you've been “dislocated,” the link is here.
If you know of people who are looking, we're here to help. Please forward this post and/or the link to them. We have a much more robust Internet in 2020 – it should not be difficult to get the word out to those who wish to work in radio – and those interested in hiring them.
The radio community has proved to be resilient, supportive, and empathetic. We all know people who have been impacted by these changes in the industry. We know broadcasters will step up once again.
We'll keep you posted. As always, comments are welcome below.
Thanks to Seth Resler for his work on this project.
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