Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"In the end I was so micromanaged that they were telling me how to pronounce syllables of words." Bob Edwards

The above from NEWSWEEK'S Brian Braiker - he interviews Bob Edwards here. Bravo Brian, well done. An interesting read, including...

"How many staff do you have? I have eight producers."

"And how many did you have at NPR? A hoard. An army of hundreds. There were 25 people on the staff of "Morning Edition" alone, and that doesn't count the technicians or the reporters."

And folks wonder why public radio is in trouble...NPR and public radio share a common challenge...clearly, it's a leadership problem. From Audience 2010, Interim Report 4: An Historic Loss of Momentum...

"With few exceptions, local programming is generally more expensive to produce than acquired programming of the same caliber. It generally does not serve the station's audience as well. Listeners generally do not consider it as important in their lives as other programming on the station. As a result, it is difficult to do well and sustain financially"

Generally speaking, I find this to be genuine pubcaster consultant gibberish. Moreover, my opinion is their counsel is pure boneheaded nonsense. Public radio has a leadership problem. The best practice of yesterday fails to address the reality of today. This pubcaster crisis began and remains centered at the top; no parsing of Arbitron data nor any resultant graduate level dog-ate-my-homework excuse making, nor delegation of blame will fix things. Pubcasters must face reality as it is, not as it was or as they wish it to be. The first step is to stop doing what they've always done; abandon the unproductive legacy practices, wake up to the simple truth - you're attempting to measure today's problems with yesterday's metrics. This is another case where perspective is critical - as Dr Gary Hamel often says "perspective is worth 10 IQ points." Embrace the paradox - the solution to this complex problem is simple. You may read the Interim Reports via PDF here

My thanks to Mike McVay and his team - Mike is kind enough to feature one of my Great Leaders monographs, A Great Program Director. I admit to being a longtime fan of Mike, not only because he's a smart guy but because he's a mensch as well. (btw, at last count A Great Program Director was translated into twenty-six languages). You'll find Mike's gang on the web here, the monograph is here