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What You Need to Know About PDs

I’ve been asked a bunch of questions recently about why Program Directors (Brand Managers) do certain things, respond certain ways and what a PD might think about (x). PDs aren’t easy to pin down. So, I’ve come up with this handy list of 10 truths regarding PDs.

1. PDs always hire the very best talent available. Unless they know and trust a lesser talented person. Or, someone is recommended by a trusted peer. Or, they pluck someone from obscurity. Or, they hire a local TV personality. Or, there is a gal who is local, available and under budget.

2. Hires are never made to save money and make budget. Except for when they are.

how-about-never-cartoon-credit-mankoff_custom-b05aa91cbe49bba79d2e41a00d7e0f32f10207963. PDs rarely answer their phone. This is because it’s either a listener complaint, a part-timer calling in sick, a programming note from the GM who was “listening in the shower this morning,” a sales guy with a “great” new sponsored feature he created, a syndicator pitching shows and pretending to be a pal, or an applicant who wants to make sure his demo arrive, but has nothing else to add to the conversation. Most just let it go to voice mail and sort through it later.

4. PDs will always answer the phone when you are in their office. Not sure why.

5. If a PD gives you a fist bump and says, “I loved the show yesterday.” They didn’t hear it.

6. If you ask a PD if they heard a certain segment, she might nod knowingly, but chances are she didn’t. Go ahead and send it to her if you want feedback.

7. The hardest part of a PDs job is finding time to listen attentively. (see #6)

8. PDs are completely autonomous. Except when the parent company, regional SVP, GM, Sales Manager, or top client disagrees.

9. PDs want you to win. If you’re successful, they’re successful.

10. PDs have a box/drawer full of CDs and cassettes that have never been listened to and never will be. Seems a shame. There’s very little logic as to why some people’s demo get put in the player and others get tossed in the box.

There are ten truths about PDs, what would you add?

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  1. April 23, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Cassettes? I love how true this is. The only thing I would add is that we, the non PD’s, know all of this. We love and sympathize with you and your position. We want YOU to be successful too. Unless we hate you and you’re trying to use us as a sacrificial lamb to buy yourself a few more months of employment before the inevitable. To be fair, I’ve only had two of those in my long career (Vince & Doug … yes, that’s you … both out of radio). Larry, you and a few others are a rare breed. Working with people who are true to their vision and trust their gut is an infectious atmosphere to be around. I hope to feel it again one day.

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