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The Checklist For Hiring a New On-Air Personality

Jason Barrett



Many things stay the same in sports media. Especially when it involves a brand’s weekday lineup.

If you look around the sports radio format today, you’ll find the majority of radio stations feature the same on-air personalities in a weekday position for a lengthy period of time. That happens because most listeners prefer consistency, and companies are less likely to break up a show that is satisfying the demand of its audience and advertisers.

But if there’s one thing most executives will be forced to deal with at some point during their career, it’s a change to their roster. For every Mike Francesa who works for the same station for over twenty five years, there are many others who change companies multiple times.

A manager may have to part ways with an individual who’s not getting the job done. They may lose an employee because they’ve landed a bigger opportunity elsewhere. A worker could discover a passion to do a different line of work, or the company could downsize if business suffers. In each case, the manager is left to fill a void.

If you work in a management role in this industry for an extended period of time, you’ll not only experience this yourself, but you too will be placed in position to have to overcome a short term setback and create a long-term solution.

So who do you call when the problem pops up? Where do you look? What’s your process for ensuring that your brand won’t miss a beat and will continue to get better?

There is no blueprint for how to handle these situations. Each market, station, and individual operates differently. But as someone who’s gone through a few of these challenges in multiple cities and has experienced the good and the bad, I thought I’d share a few tips to help others who find themselves wrestling with uncertainty, and the difficulty of keeping a brand stable and in position to enjoy larger success.

keyfindKnow What It Is You’re Seeking: Before you start sifting through resumes, airchecks, and exploring industry professionals who work for other brands, think about what it is that you want out of the next person you hire.

I know an executive or two who have taken the approach of “I don’t know exactly what it is I’m looking for but I’m sure it’ll stand out as the process unfolds“. In my opinion that’s a flawed strategy. It illustrates a lack of vision.

Do you think George Lucas just entered a studio and said “put a few actors on camera in costumes, give them a few weapons and play a few cool sound effects, and I’m sure good shit will happen” when he created Star Wars? It started in his head. Then he started the process to find the right people to help bring his vision to life.

When you’re looking to add someone to your roster, you should have a clear idea of what the audience expects from your brand and its on-air people. You should also know what qualities are necessary on-air and behind the scenes to make the fit right for all involved. Whether it’s an ability to deliver explosive opinions, produce consistent laughter, provide creative content, being active in the community, etc.

You should also have a regular list of talent in your market or outside of it who you think highly of. When a situation pops up and you’ve got a hole to fill, you can’t wait to then start figuring out who might be able to help. As the great Vince Lombardi once said, “The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win“.

Understand that as you go through this process, you may not be able to immediately detect whether or not someone is a good teammate or if they have a strong work ethic, but you should be able to get an immediate read on how they sound and present themselves. That will play a key role in determining how they fit your brand and vision.

homeworkResearch Each Legitimate Candidate Thoroughly: Many have the skills to sell a ketchup popsicle to an executive wearing white gloves on the telephone. That doesn’t mean though that they’ll win big for you on the air or be the right fit inside your workplace.

Before you engage in deeper discussions, listen to their work and ask around. Ask the candidate to email you their best material. This allows you to get a sense of their judgment. If they’re on the air someplace else, drop in unannounced. Otherwise you may receive a great edited sample but not a true reflection of what they deliver each day on the air.

The next part of the process is talking to people who know the candidate. Talk to folks who think favorably of them, but also to their critics. If an individual tells you they have no former bosses or colleagues who aren’t positive about them, your bullshit detector should immediately go up.

Let’s be honest, sports radio is full of passionate people with strong opinions. I don’t care which city or building you’re in, there are always one or two people in it who aren’t going to like or agree with your style, personality or the way you conduct yourself. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Talented and competitive people usually create mixed reactions.

The next phase is digging into their social media profiles, and running a Google search to see what pops up. Does the person live their life differently on social media? Do they make decisions on-air or off of it which could negatively impact your employer? Are they interactive with the audience? Do they possess other skills beyond hosting on the air (writing, video, podcasts, etc.)?

In the past this wasn’t necessary, but in 2016, we’re faced with different realities.

One thing I highly recommend is having the individual step foot into your building before any job is to be presented. In most big markets that’s common, but in some smaller cities it’s not always possible. That said, I believe there’s great value in seeing the body language of your staff and the individual when they come in contact with one another.

Furthermore, if I’m the individual and I’m considering joining your team, there’s risk for me too. I want to know who I’m working for and how the operation works. That’s even more important if it’s a relocation opportunity. Most talented people don’t move from one city to another without an idea of what they’re walking into.

deadlineDon’t Create An Artificial Deadline: The second an opening pops up inside your operation, people will ask “Now what?” “Who are you going to hire?” and “When will they start“? You may even hear that a slow response may hurt the station with its advertisers.

If you buckle under pressure, you may find yourself fixing the same problem a few months later. Nobody likes uncertainty, but you’re better off taking your time and working through the process to make a good decision, rather than rushing your judgement. That’s how you end up doing more damage to the business.

Granted, nothing in life is guaranteed. You could go through a lengthy process and still hire the wrong person. In that case, you’ll look worse inside the building. But, I find that more times than not, executives who do their homework and focus on a strong long-term solution instead of a quick alternative, end up making smart decisions.

The message to your internal team is simple, “we are working to identify someone who fits the culture of our brand, and possesses the talent to help us make a long-term impact. The goal is to hire them as soon as possible, but we will exhaust all options. I will keep you posted on the process and notify you as soon as we’ve found the right fit“.

Obviously your bosses aren’t going to give you a year to look at every person walking the planet, but if you’re bringing in candidates for conversations, and they hear and see some positive qualities out of the people you’re talking to, they’ll stand by your side, and trust that when the smoke clears you’ll have the brand in position to have even larger success.

In the end, nobody remembers how quickly you finalized a process, only who you hired. Make the right call, not a rushed call.

realityManage Internal Short-Term and Long-Term Expectations: Once you’ve hired someone to join your team, it’s your job to outline what success will look like moving forward. This requires meeting with key members of your brand, and setting realistic expectations for both the short-term and long-term. Too often brands look to reverse course if things don’t happen quickly, but the reality is that it often takes time to build a winner. Just ask the Chicago Cubs.

The first step is laying out your vision for your corporate bosses, and the person you report to inside your operation. Make sure you identify your brand’s current standing, and explain what you believe is possible in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and beyond.

One thing I’ve learned in my experiences is to always be candid. If you expect a short-term step backwards in the ratings, express it. If you anticipate a higher volume of negative emails to your management team or advertisers, say it. Nobody wants to be surprised and hear about it afterwards, especially when they gave you the floor to address them beforehand.

Be prepared to provide additional insight on why you feel confident about the expectations you’ve laid out, and don’t be surprised when you’re put in position to have to defend your plan. If you want the company to allow you to shop for the groceries, you have to be able to prepare a great meal and get them excited to come to the dinner table. If they get to the table and the meal isn’t good, they’re going to wonder if they have the right chef.

Once everyone is in agreement of the game plan, then it’s time to sell it internally to the programming and sales teams. This includes sitting down with the individual you’ve hired, and making sure they (and anyone else involved with their show) understand your expectations and how you plan to help them reach the level of success that you’re aiming for.

Once all parts of the operation are able to wrap their arms around your strategy, then it becomes a matter of executing it, and getting the audience and advertisers on board. Be sure to keep the high ranking officials in your company aware of your progress, and how the brand’s performance is matching up with the goals you set for it prior to making changes.

thatsallConclusion: When you’re tasked with making decisions on behalf of a company, you’re going to feel pressure to be perfect anytime you hire someone. But you won’t be. You will swing and miss. When you do, be accountable, learn from the situation, and do everything in your power to avoid making the same mistake twice.

In baseball, if a hitter gets a hit 3 times out of 10, and does it for a sustained period of time, they have a chance to one day enter the hall of fame. In the sports media business, 3 out of 10 effective hires will earn you a pink slip. However, if you nail 8 or 9 out of 10 key decisions, and the brand continues improving its ratings and revenue, the group will continue to support you.

Each situation and company may be different, but I find that a few traits are necessary in anyone you consider hiring. If a person is competitive, coachable, curious, and professional, and possesses a strong work ethic, more times than not you’ll end up in a good place. That’s assuming of course they’re talented too.

The one challenge that can make things harder is when you identify a difference maker but they come with baggage. Then you have to trust your gut and the information you’ve gathered to determine if the risk is worth the reward. For example, Howard Stern came with a ton of red flags, but any smart executive would’ve put their career on the line to have him occupy their airwaves.

But not every host is Stern.

If you don’t passionately believe in someone enough to risk your own professional standing, then you should take a pass. You don’t hire an edgy host who stirs things up and then ask them to play nice and be someone else. If you’re going to dance with the devil, remember who you’ve asked to dance.

If you’re a personality, the one thing to understand is that it’s not always about who’s the most talented. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (the PD/executive) and you wouldn’t be under consideration for an opening if you weren’t highly skilled. The way you fit the brand, its staff, and the hiring manager makes a bigger difference. If you don’t check all three boxes better than the others who are up for the job, you’ll be on the outside looking in, no matter how gifted of a performer you are.

For the person in the hiring chair, remember that the choices you make are a reflection of your decision making as a leader. The results will either make you look smart and earn the respect of your peers, or you’ll become the focus of daily gossip and carry an invisible bullseye on your back. You can’t be afraid to fail or be criticized, and you shouldn’t invest much energy in earning a pat on the back.

Instead, focus on making solid choices to grow your business. If you take that approach, people will know they’re in capable hands, even if they don’t take the time to tell you.

When employees feel good about the situations they’re in, receive regular feedback, and value the way they’re compensated and treated, they tend to go above and beyond to maintain that status. That’s how you end up on the winning side, instead of packing up your office and scheduling a future date at the unemployment office.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett



It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett



To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett



I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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