Sleep my way to the top?
A long time ago when I was an aspiring classical musician a friend gave me some advice that stuck with me. He said, “get a boyfriend who is successful in the field you want to succeed in” The basic concept is you are who you hang out with, the “boyfriend” issue regardless, and updated for the 21st century. Time went by, I made the decisions I made, I got into radio. Now the internet has completely changed the work I do.
Back in the old days kids
When I was hired at KPIG (the second time) there were no MP3’s, we were just starting to use digital editing to make commercials. The disc jockeys were playing mostly CD’s and still used tape carts to play commercials that looked like 8 track tapes. They used two track tape that would play in a special tape machine and stop and re cue the tape to play again.. I worked at KTOM in the 80’s and the entire library was on tape cart. Specialty shows usually arrived on vinyl. We sliced tape with a razor blade to edit.
No love from the radio world for KPIG
Ironically KPIG was open to newer technology long before many “real” radio stations. to explain the difference between “real” radio and KPIG is that radio had a culture that was extremely dogmatic. DJ’s took pride in how tightly they ran their shows, even a fraction of a second of dead air was unacceptable. Radio people were the stars of their towns, stations had a news department, there were rules, some unspoken. KPIG’s success was a slap in the face to the people who worked hard to make slick radio. Laura Ellen, the program director, didnt always get the love she deserved with her peers.
Unfortunately, those early years of digitizing KPIG were pretty rough. Staff correctly feared that putting the station in the hands of computers would mean an end to DJ shifts, tighten up the flow, and kill what made the station different. Professional broadcasting equipment took a couple of years to come around, and in the interim we had some failed experiments and bad consumer grade solutions or were beta testing software and hardware.
KPIG now runs on state of the art automation that is easy to administer, schedule, make tasty segues, (even a KPIG disk jockey likes that) and is incredibly expensive. While the company is shoving it’s employees out the door, KPIG has actually managed to add some live shifts back in. Which brings me full circle back to American business and it’s approach to middle management.
Where did America’s talent go?
With the lay off at KPIG and in the months after the company lost both production directors for five FM’s and an AM, the VP of operations quit, they reduced most air talent and some administrative help to part time situations. People said, “how can a radio station run without somebody to manage production of commercials?’
and then it got bad
The program director for KPIG, Laura Ellen Hopper made a speedy conversion to the next plain which is full of pretty horses and yodeling cowboys in 2007. They did not replace her. Not that is would have been simple to find somebody to fill her shoes.
Running a radio station without a program director Is like running a Rite Aid store and letting the employees decide what products to sell. Laura had been spent 60 hours a week for 40 years making KPIG sound free form and un formatted. If she was here now she’d point a claw like finger bent with RA at you and shrilly inform you of how hard it was to keep the suits from farggin the place up. Whether you asked or not.
So there we are.
American companies have laid off, outsourced, neglected, underpaid the people who know how to run them. People with degrees and experience are delivering pizzas. Who’s left to make creative business decisions?
You can’t write comedy like this
My Brother is a network administrator for a international cell phone company serving 52 million customers world wide. He works in a giant telephone hub in the central valley. Keeping some of the most powerful phone servicing equipment on the planet going. It took me a few minutes the other night to absorb when he said they’d had no phone service in the building for several days. It’s not that they don’t know how to solve their phone problems, it’s that they cant decide who’s job it is. He also told me that they decided to use AT&T to handle business DSL for the building. Im sure asking a competitor to put in internet service makes business sense. I could be wrong. Maybe the executives dont know what their big expensive machines do. He has also told me stories about fed exing printer paper to another office because the office misjudged it’s needs and had no budget for more. Do the math on the price of paper and the price of fed ex.
So now I have my own company
Such as it is. and going to school to learn some new stuff. and selling wine cause the money is good. I was in the computer lab at Cabrillo last night and being the accomplished eves dropper I am, was listening to a lady lecture a younger person on graphics. I couldnt figure out who was tutoring who until it became apparent she is a client. She has gone to the college to get a student to do work for her marketing business. She kicking this poor kid around and telling him every few minutes how she is doing him a favor. The other day I saw an audio job that somebody posted that said: “we recorded our program on a headset, your job is to make it sound better.” nope, not for me.
measure twice, cut once
Let’s do this stuff right the first time and make it sound good! and pay me at least minimum wage for the top knotch advanced editing mixing, formatiing I do. Isnt it interesting I have to add “at least minimum wage” into my lofty standards? This is because people post jobs saying, “I have 90 minutes of audio from a seminar where the volume changes up and down,there are some dead spots, buzzing and coughing. It’s a simple job that should take only a few minutes, I’ll pay you $10 to fix it.” . This is like everything else in the world that creates your marketing brand. Spending more energy on it pays off. which reminds me, It’s way past time for a new hair do.
Speaking of appearances
My Friend Rose took me out to dinner the other night. I arrived at her house and she spread out gift certificates to some of the most hoity toity places in Aptos She and Neil dine out a lot, so she had bid on and won dining opportunities at the Aptos chamber fund raiser. Dang! I picked out a certificate for Ma Masion on Soquel Drive. I’ve met the owners several times in ad production, nice people. Pricey but worth it. Try the Smoked salmon salad. I also had scallops, Rose had Duck. The restaurant is pretty. I’d do it again. I like hanging out with Rose because she and I have some great things to talk about and similar family experiences, came from similar rural western environments, and we get along well. Rose and Neil are good examples of doing things well, I need this influence, Im meeting more and more people that are real, and a good influence on me.
The world moves on
When I worked at KPIG It was easy to hide in the production room, blast off to the next thing my children needed. The commute was killing me, and sorry to say I wasnt producing awesome stuff. My best work would be on the air for less time than it took for me to create it.
There were times when the tools were so poor it didnt even matter. It is not likely I would find a radio job in a town I’d like to live in with state of the art equipment, an ad design team that would work hard on designing effective commercials for it’s clients. In my brief foray into print, they actually tried harder. And even then I wouldnt say the advertising was a great deal for the client.
Oh, my Boyfriend? He has a degree from UCSC. Helped design the GPS system in its infancy, and worked in the travel industry for many years. He is an extremely hard worker and a great employee. He works at Orchard Supply Hardware.