To be totally cliché about it, where did the summer go?
Even though most of us have several weeks of nice weather to look forward to (and our thoughts are with Florida and the eastern seaboard), you can already feel a chill in the air here in the Midwest.
Fall is coming.
So, this coming three-day weekend is well-named. It's about our labor – our work, our professions, our craft. For many of you, it's a labor of love. I certainly feel that way, and hope that despite the pressure, the intensity, and the challenge of it all, you share my joy in what so many of us do – especially during these turbulent times.
And I'm not referring to our political world, our climate, our tribalism, or our relationships with one another. I'm referring to the hot mess the media world is enduring, and all of us who work in it.
I'm convinced many of us will look back at these times as being significant, not just personally but professionally. The disruption we're all feeling isn't just in the air. It's in the walls, it's everywhere. We are adapting ourselves, our careers, and our brands, and our workforces all at the same time.
As I'm writing this at 35,000 feet over the Michigan/Ohio border, I'm thinking about the Public Radio Program Directors Content Conference I attended this week in Minneapolis.
Many of these smart programmers and content creators are feeling the change in the air. They can sense it. Many have worked in this system for years, and even decades. They're intuitive, and they know change when they sense it.
The conference's opening keynote was Nancy Lyons, Founder and CEO of a Twin Cities-based company called Clockwork. She set the tone for the entire conference when she reminded attendees that before they are able to transform their brands and organizations digitally, they must first attend to the task of transforming their analog cultures – that is, the people who work in our operations, the rank and file.
It's not just about identifying the “next big digital thing” – podcasting, voice, mobile, 5G – it's about preparing the staff for these changes, getting their buy-in, and collaborating with them to help them make the leap.
Nancy admitted she knows precious little about the radio business. What she does know about is the culture of teams, personalities, and co-workers, and the difficult adjustments we're all facing in our personal and professional lives.
That's because transformation isn't just about software, code, data, and gadgetry. It's about people, process, and culture. Radio won't be successful at the one without the other.
My other takeaway from the PRPD Conference – especially for those who work for news organizations – is just how fatigued everyone seems to be. That's because the phrase “slow news day” has not been uttered by any journalist in America for 3+ years now. The breathtaking pace of the news, coupled with the disruption that is all around us, can be exhausting.
And I know those who work on the music side of the street have equally challenging tasks ahead of them, especially when the rest of the world is taking long weekends. For PDs, that often means special programming to set up, or at best, scheduling four days worth of logs – per station – before they can walk out the door to enjoy this weekend. While so many other staff members will start disappearing around lunch time today, most program directors have a long day ahead of them. I salute you all.
That's why this Labor Day Weekend is so important. Whether you're going to be spending time at the lake, hanging with family, going to the fair, or napping incessantly, I hope this 3-day break is beneficial to you as we embark on what's left of 2019.
As someone who's been known to run at a fast pace, I'm looking forward to a little “down time,” where I can recharge those batteries, catch my breath, and steel myself for what's to come the rest of this year.
We'll be back with a fresh blog post on Tuesday.
Until then, take the rest of the weekend off!
On Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 2pm ET, it's our free webinar – the top-line results from AQ2, our second annual talent-on-talent survey. If you're on the air or you manage and guide people who do, it's can't miss information that will help you maximize your talent. Registration here.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.