Other Duties As Assigned

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I am not actively looking for a full-time radio job, but if I see a job listing that intrigues me, I’ll make the appropriate inquiries. I saw one a few weeks ago for an operations manager gig in a small market. The initial posting made the job sound like the kind of thing a radio veteran such as I might be well-suited for, so I responded to the e-mail address and asked them to send the job description. It follows here, edited to eliminate any potential identifying information. Square brackets are my annotations, parentheses are in the original.

Hosting mornings 6AM-noon Monday thru Saturday [on one station, voice-tracked] plus other fill-ins as needed on [other station in the group] plus remotes and public appearances, including walking in and attending parades

Office hours of 8:30AM-5PM (with some time set aside to voice Monday morning news on Sunday night; no in-studio visit or time required)

News for [other station in the group] at 6AM, 7AM, 8AM, noon, 4PM, and 5PM Monday thru Friday (approximately three stories each with actualities)

Serve as production director for [both stations]

Creative writing and production submission to voice talent

Commercial production and client coaching

Imaging for [one station] and some for [other station in the group] as assigned

Maintaining EAS and public file for [both stations]

Downloading and uploading weekend syndication

[weekly public service program] recording and production

Weekend talent scheduling

Social media postings

Help with [e-mail list maintenance]

Help with website maintenance

Studio and office maintenance (windows/garbage/recycling/vacuum)

Other duties as assigned

Broadcasters wear a wider variety of hats nowadays as ownership groups pare expenses to the bone. It’s not unusual to have multiple duties across multiple stations in a single group. However, as I read this, there’s no way this job gets done in the specified office hours of 8:30 to 5. Even if you assume an operations manager is normally going to work 10-hour days to make it a 50-hour week (which is not unusual, especially in a small market), that’s still not going to be enough time. Between voice-tracking a six-hour show, doing news, and handling production and imaging, this job will require a minimum of three to five hours in a recording studio every single day. Only after that could you start thinking about tackling the rest of your responsibilities—down to emptying the wastebaskets, vacuuming the floors, and washing the fking windows.

And by the way, it’s going to be a seven-day job a lot of the time, because many remotes and public appearances are going to be on Saturdays, and you’re also expected to have “time set aside to voice Monday morning news on Sunday night; no in-studio visit or time required.” It’s nice of them to let you do it from your home studio—if you have one, and you’d damn well better get one. But even if the newscasts are only three stories long, somebody still has to write them and gather the actualities they require, either by making calls to local newsmakers or picking up soundbites from some network news source. Who’s going to be responsible for that every single day?

I think I know who.

In the end, what intrigues me the most is the last bit: “other duties as assigned.” What other duties could there possibly be when you’re already doing the jobs of DJ, operations manager, production director, news director/anchor, and janitor?

Yeah no, I’m not pursuing this gig any further, although I was tempted to play it out just to see what kind of salary they would offer. If they asked my requirements, I’d start at $125,000, since I’d be doing the jobs of three or four people—and $125K would be cheap for what they’d be getting. Hell, asking for an ownership stake wouldn’t be entirely out of line. But one person doing all of it for a single small-market salary—maybe $25K or $30K a year, but maybe less—is something no humane employer should expect, and something nobody with any other employment options should accept.

I’m sure this company will eventually find somebody who doesn’t blanch at this job description—somebody who has no idea how completely insane it is. But at least the poor bastard will get experience doing nearly everything a person on the programming side of a radio station has to do nowadays.

I understand the need for a company to operate as efficiently as possible, but how efficient is it to hire somebody for an impossible gig, burn them out, and have to hire someone else? Because that’s what’s gonna happen here.

4 responses

  1. That’s insane. That job will spit out people every couple of months.

  2. Ah yes, radio in 2018. An unsustainable model. Of course you’re right about your estimate on what it would pay; and as far as “should pay”, $125K would not seem to be unreasonable to start. And, as long as we’re throwing in the boilerplate phrases like “other duties yet to be discovered or as assigned”, let’s add “subject to credit check”, and “successful applicant to be paid 75% of negotiated salary and is not eligible for benefits during the initial 90-day employment trial period.”

  3. That’s been radio since 1996 or so. What a staff of 10 or 20 (not including sales) used to do is now down to 1 person. Let me guess. did they advertise a starting salary of 25,000 a year?

    1. They didn’t advertise a starting salary. Given their location, $25-30K is just my guess. I’d be shocked if it were more than that.

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