I’ve worked in various Asian countries with radio stations that have different types of licenses. Some are community stations; some are commercial. Commercial stations are free to contract with local businesses for advertising revenue, but if you’re a startup the marketing load may have to be shared amongst the few people who work at the station. At one station, on-air presenters were tasked with finding clients to place commercials. Fine so far…but the station manager would only give them a commission on the first contract from that customer—not on recurring contracts. Several staff were offended by such treatment, and decided they would do no more out-of-hours promotion from then on.
To be sure, return business is not so much about the person who first generated the contract. It’s more about having good-quality commercials produced. It’s about the marketing department dealing fairly with the client. And it’s about listeners taking their business in the client’s direction. But a bit more appreciation is surely in order, if an on-air talent has taken the trouble to promote the station during their personal time. Keep your on-air staff happy, and they’ll keep listeners happy.
This whole issue is about the bigger picture—it’s about being fair to all stakeholders. So who are our stakeholders? They’re us…all of the people who have an interest in the station. That includes the on-air talent, the marketing people, and the kid that cleans the lunch-room (or takes out the garbage). It includes the station manager and programme director—so presenters, don’t forget to be fair to them in return. They’re stakeholders just like you and me.
Clients who run commercials on our stations are also stakeholders. And community leaders can be stakeholders—especially if the station has a community license. Needless to say, board members are also stakeholders. They—as we—have an interest in what the station does, and in the wellbeing of both the station itself, and the things that result from our programmes.
And don’t forget the volunteers, if you have any. They’re an oft-overlooked group who help out because they love radio. Such affection needs to be cherished. Volunteers don’t receive money so they should certainly receive thanks. And information. Keep them in the loop. Be loyal to them—and they’ll be loyal back.
Whoever your stakeholders, keep them at the front of your mind—and the front of your plans for your station and its programmes. If your raison d’être is more than just the bottom line (e.g., if you seek to improve the lives of those in your community), then think about how your plans will be of benefit (or detriment) to everyone they affect.