As budgets dwindle amid rapid changes within our industry many of you reading this might be asking yourselves why you are currently, or should consider, paying a consultant. After all, there are countless other things that money could go toward, local employees, marketing, investing in technology, etc. Why fork that money over to someone who’s out of market, probably just repackaging the same idea over and over again? First off, I believe a consultant should come into your market a minimum of once per year (I prefer quarterly) and should also localize, or at least regionalize, any idea they suggest. But, the main reason why radio station’s should pay a consultant is simple, we’ve literally seen it all. Rarely do I come across any situation that I haven’t experienced anywhere from once to countless times during my career. It’s that broad experience that makes us valuable, not because we’re the smartest person in the room or we’re coming up with some earth-shattering idea that changes everything.
While I’ve only been officially consulting for four years now, I’ve been coaching and managing talent since I was 19 years old (I’m currently 45) and I began my career in radio at 5 (Sadly not a joke). Over those years I’ve worked with every subset of personality type along with everything from great people who truly wanted what was best for the station they worked for to very troubled people willing to burn the place down while they were in the building. Some of those situations I handled surprisingly well at the time, others I wasn’t yet prepared to handle, but I learned from each and every one of them. My goal as a consultant is to pass along that knowledge to the talent, managers and owners I work with in a manner of fact, honest and non-insulting fashion to help them make more informed decisions.
Most of the time people bring us in to help with one or two specific things, or people, that they’re having trouble with. But, generally the problems they are facing are significantly more challenging than that. They’re just too close to that problem to accurately diagnose it and come up with a cure themselves. The fact that we’re out of market allows us to look at their situations with a new set of eyes, have a 30,000 foot view and be objective since we don’t have the same attachments and emotions any human being, regardless of their own intelligence or experience, would have just based on their proximity to it. One thing I try to do that I believe is somewhat unique to my profession is take a beat, get the lay of the land by going on-site myself, get to know everyone involved (a little) and truly understand all the factors before I jump to conclusions and start throwing out suggestions that can have life-altering implications.
What do you think? What good and bad experiences have you had working with a radio consultant? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.