No sector has been left untouched by Covid 19.
Every industry has been stressed in a scenario no one could have planned for.
The Non-Profit/Charity sector is one that needs to be spotlighted so it can be helped.
The pandemic has increased the demand for services that the organizations provide, while along the way damaging their staffs and their finances.
It’s a terrible convergence and the full degree of the impact is hard to predict.
Radio has always played an important role in working to help causes and non-profits over the history of the business.
I think it is worth asking the question “Is Radio doing the best it can to help Non-Profits/Charities at this difficult time.”?
Just as an important reminder on the legal responsibilities of an FCC license owner I asked for clarity from David Oxenford/Partner at Wilkinson/Barker/Knauer in D.C.
David’s industry expertise covers a wide range of topics and he provides important clarity for this discussion.
According to David: “Formal ascertainments have not been required for any broadcaster for about 30 years.
But stations still have to informally determine the needs and interests of their community and address those interests in their programming as reflected each quarter in their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists.”
Maybe one suggestion for the industry is to remove informally and make it FORMALLY for the foreseeable future?
Could radio managers delve deeper into their markets to be certain they are truly determining the community needs as it relates to charities?
Consideration should be given to researching those local needs by tapping station databases for listener feedback.
To get a sense of how Non-Profits are faring I asked Paul Medeiros/CEO of the Massachusetts Chapter of Easter Seals what the impact has been.
According to Paul-“As a community based service Non Profit the biggest impact for Easter Seals has been:
Reduced ability to work with clients in person is the number one impact and issue as we always go to the clients environment to provide the best service. We have had to transition to a lot of remote work.
Constant work to keep our employees and clients safe as the rules and regulations change on an almost daily basis.
Reduced ability to meet donors and volunteers and help them learn about Easter Seals.”
I’m sure there are other areas of concern Paul hasn’t touched on such as reducing staff hours and other “pain point” decisions to help them have economic stability.
I asked Paul how radio could potentially be helpful: “Because Radio is a remote industry, it could help us spread the word on what services we have available.
We provide many free services that are not fully utilized because people don’t know we are here.
Help rally support from the organization from potential volunteers and donors. There are a lot of generous people out there who just want to know there is help needed.
Some of our clients would benefit from exposure for their own businesses that they create after working with Easter Seals and they have compelling stories to tell.”
I also wanted to get a sense on how another great organization is faring during these Covid challenged times.
Home Base is a Non-Profit/Charity benefiting veterans in the Boston area run by The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Their Executive Director is Retired Brigadier General Jack Hammond who has a remarkable record of service to our country spanning operational experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and Paraguay.
According to the General: “This is a very difficult time. As you can imagine many of our fundraising efforts involve events of different types..many grass root community driven. Our largest event-the Run to Home Base held at Fenway Park was initially cancelled, and then it became a virtual race(raising half the projected funds), as was our Veterans Day Gala, and a number of golf tournaments…There has also been a tightening of the spikes from a number of corporate partners, based upon competing demands both covid and social justice related support.
We were effectively able to deal with 2020 budget shortfall of -20% through a number of measures to close out the year above water.
The wounded and injured veterans and military families we still treat still require our care and during this pandemic their issues have become worse-with a 20% increase in military suicide from March to September 2020.”
Now would be an excellent time for radio station managers to sharpen their commitment to Non-Profits and charities.
Radio has always been critical to the successful work of these organizations especially in times of need.
It always matters but it matters especially NOW.
Finding personal satisfaction and a sense of overall happiness can be an incredibly difficult thing.
Even in a non-pandemic moment there are days that pass where this sense of well being is elusive.
As you consider ways for you to personally be in a better space,consider also how happiness factors into your style of leadership management.
What you project defines part of your style and how your message is received.
Even with virtual management being a new normal, when you sign on to your morning stand up with a scowl on your face from a bad night of sleep, there’s no doubt you are sending the wrong message to the troops.
Some months ago I was fortunate to take a course via Coursera called The Science of Well Being taught by Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos.
During the course Laurie brought up the importance of gratitude as one of the cornerstones of happiness and well being and I couldn’t help wonder whether this is a missing link that the leadership of today should consider.
Her view is that happy people are:
Socially connected and they spend time with others.
They prioritize connection.
They also don’t focus on themselves as they are “others oriented”.
They are grateful and they look for good as they have a mindset of gratitude.
They find three to five things they are grateful for everyday.
I started to wonder if some of Laurie’s priorities from the course, especially gratitude were an opportunity for leaders to improve their teams and the entire organization.
In thinking about gratitude at the core of happiness, how can this permeate all employees?
Do you actively keep note of things to be grateful for as a leader?
Certainly your current employer is a good place to start being thankful for.
Times are challenging and the fact they have hung in with you means a lot.
When you consider the employees you manage are you going out of your way being as Laurie put it to be”others oriented” and acknowledge great work?
Do you consider the work of all departments during this difficult time and express appreciation for the good work being done?
This all sounds easy but it really takes individual focus.
As Seth Godin put it on January 10 2017 “entitlement gets us nothing but heartache. It blinds us to what’s possible.
It insulates us from the magic of gratitude.
Gratitude, on the other hand is just as valid a choice. Except that gratitude makes us open to possibility. It brings us closer to others. And it makes us happier.”
Now is a good time to consider adding gratitude to your leadership toolbox.
We are at a moment in time that requires incredible strength, intestinal fortitude and ultimate leadership at the highest level.
No matter what business you are in, the margin of error can be the difference between success and failure.
Rishad Tobaccowala knows what is necessary to push not only ourselves but our organizations to greatness.
He is a Senior Advisor to the Publicis Groupe and he is the author of “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data”.
His spirit of marketing innovation along with his direct but gentle style makes him the business buddha of our time.
His session “Re-inventing Leadership with Heart and Soul” at the Radio Show produced tremendous insights to take back to your various teams and put into action.
One of the points in his speech that I was drawn to was his comment that as things have changed you should embark on an exercise with your teams that does a SWOT(Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities/Threats)analysis of your team, your competitors and of yourself.
What would a personal SWOT look like?
Great leaders know that they can rely on their strengths as an important backbone to success.
What characteristics of your strength give you a unique selling point and a competitive advantage?
It is worth pausing to truly think about this.
When you go beyond processes and systems and get to the core of strengths, there are many questions that you should ask about yourself to consider where you rank versus peers.
Just like a competitive SWOT or a full team SWOT you need the “ice in the veins” approach to get to the honest evaluation of your personal SWOT.
Where does appreciation of excellence fit into your view of yourself?
Those leaders that have an appreciation for excellence in the moment and value the beauty of tremendous performance, both in the present and the past serve their teams at a higher level.
Courage and tenacity is critical in your personal SWOT analysis because if these factors show up as weaknesses or threats than you and your organization will shrink when a challenge creeps up.
We must consider how organizations value innovation as part of their core philosophy and curiosity plays an important role in that process.
Curiosity may be placed in your personal SWOT in the strength category but it also can be a high value opportunity as well.
Many times when we consider how we “carry” ourselves in a business setting an important trait that hopefully stacks up as a strength in your SWOT is your social intelligence.
This is the important dynamic of knowing what makes people tick, essentially reading the room.
Take this aspect of your SWOT very seriously as it can easily be an opportunity for improvement or a threat to your personal brand as well.
When personal weaknesses are considered in your SWOT there are many backbones of success that can need long term work to turn around.
For example: your reputation is everything and at it’s core are elements such as: honesty and authenticity that are pillars of leadership characteristics.
Perspective is an important trait that hopefully is one of your core strengths as you can see that the individual that possesses this is the person who gives their team wise counsel.
As these are difficult times the leader who has humor as a strength in their personal SWOT can be an incredible asset to their organization.
I strongly consider you follow Rishad’s advise and find some quiet time in the day and conduct your personal SWOT.
This week at the Radio Show 2020 presented by the NAB and the RAB I delivered a presentation called “How Programming and Sales need a makeover”.
In the presentation, I discussed that today’s internal Programming and Sales teams should strive to re-set the internal culture as a first step to maximizing monetization in these challenging times.
Great collaborative efforts are producing tremendous results all over the country, but as the difficult task of budgeting for 2021 is beginning we have to ramp up our efforts of excellence to have a better chance at getting our fair share of revenue.
The internal teams need to improve their culture by being diligent about documenting success and building upon internal pride.
I discussed how there must be an obsession with our advertisers built upon understanding client “hot buttons” as a path to better client “partnerships” and the “next generation of NTR.”
One of the pieces of the process of preparing for 2021 that I discussed in the presentation was an internal planning meeting with all key stakeholders called a “Promotional Monetization Analysis” where each available station asset is discussed to ensure that it was monetized most effectively.
Also, part of the discovery process for the meeting involved getting specific client feedback regarding promotions they loved, what could have been improved and in general how the client partnership relationship can be maximized.
This reminded me of my late friend, former Beasley VP of Sales Bob McCurdy who in one of his last blogs in Radio Ink back on July 5th titled “What Got us here won’t keep us here” wrote:
“Enhance Relationship with key decision makers. Dig in with agency planning groups to understand how they view and go about choosing media. This knowledge would enable me to better “position” my media assets.”
I went to a select group of great thought leaders who like Bob McCurdy have supported our medium for years and asked the question: “What can radio do better when it comes to presenting creative solutions for agencies to get the best share of the marketplace.?”
Lauren Russo is the EVP Managing Partner, Audio Investments and Promotions at Horizon Media and she has been a long- time supporter of our business.
According to Lauren: “Radio Broadcasters need to provide holistic solutions utilizing all of their assets across broadcast and digital while leveraging their 1st party data to inform sales proposals to align with brand objectives. Measurement and attribution on the backend to prove the effectiveness and value against a brand’s KPI’s are critical in today’s data- driven environment.”
Going down a similar path to the question is Bruce Mittman, President and CEO Mittcom. Bruce sits at a unique vantage point because in addition to owning his agency, he is also the owner of radio stations (Community Broadcasters).
According to Bruce: “Deliver to the advertiser an attribution model with all schedule’s which measures and demonstrates ROI! Provide the agency with a clear rationale of radio’s contribution to the overall media strategy. Demonstrate radio’s unique creative audience engagement potential and cost efficiencies.”
Lastly, I asked the question to Glenn Rosenberg, the owner of Power Media in Jericho, NY and he said:
“Radio pushes their salespeople to develop new business but puts almost no effort to retain the business. Most of the time, when one of our radio campaigns ends, we don’t hear from the rep to ask how the campaign did or even if we’d like to renew.”
I hope if you saw the presentation you found actionable items and I hope in the spirit of Bob McCurdy’s comments you will seek feedback from key decision makers as a path to incremental improvement.