The Great Radio Purge of 2020

The Great Radio Purge of 2020

by Tracy Johnson

What a start to 2020. Nearly everyone in the radio industry has either lost a job or knows someone who has. The Great Radio Purge came suddenly and cut deep. And there may be more to come. Major broadcast companies sometimes tend to play follow the leader. But one thing is for sure: Hundreds of good people are wondering what happens next.

Some will get out of the business. Others will fight back. Some will use it as motivation to advance their career. But this is certain:

This event requires action from every single person in radio.

Here’s what to do now.

For Everyone

Planning the future is always a good idea. Think about where you want to be and plot a course to get there.

Identify Goals. Taking the next offer (or any offer) is tempting. But make sure it fits your career goals. Where do you want to end up? Focus on moves that move you closer to that goal. Being downsized is a setback, not a career killer. However, a series of hops from job to job might be. When on the beach, you may not be able to be as selective, but try not to make decisions out of desperation. For those working and worried, develop a plan. Now!

Expand The Possibilities. Identifying goals often uncovers opportunities never considered. Some personalities and programmers think of themselves as a format specialist, but talented people can adapt. This may be just what you need for a major breakthrough. Similarly, smaller companies and markets could be a perfect fit. Or apply skills in new ways. Don’t limit your search to just radio. What else could you do?

Update Your Presentation. Getting a Gig is constantly marketing. How long has it been since the resume, cover letter and audio demo has been updated? It’s time to make it great.

Get Listed In The TJMG Talent Pool. The free service for personalities, programmers, producers and promotions managers is already connecting talent with radio stations. Everyone should be listed. Click here to join. Don’t wait until it’s urgent. Get in there now!

Be grateful. Many are afraid, anxious and worried. That’s natural. Find something to be grateful for each day and make it a priority to keep a strong, positive attitude even if everyone else is freaking out.

Victims of The Great Radio Purge

The biggest problem with mass layoffs is a flood of talent competing for fewer available positions. Realize that finding the next gig may take awhile.

Here are some things to do immediately:

Move Past The Pain. This is hard. It’s human nature to be angry and bitter. I would be, too. But that won’t help Get That Gig. Turn the page and don’t look back. Fill your day with positive thoughts looking forward to a better tomorrow. Don’t let negativity or disappointment affect how the industry and prospective employers view you. If it takes time to “get there”, fake it til you make it!

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Network. Make contact with every colleague and contact as soon as possible. Reach out to everyone you know even if it’s not a close relationship. Be proactive. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. For tips on networking to Get That Gig, go here.

Watch the Get That Gig Webinar. This is a step by step tutorial on how to go after a job in radio. It’s free. Watch it on demand here.

Start New Projects. With time on your hands, increase skills. Launch a new podcast. Build a personal website for marketing your personal brand. Learn new skills.

Free (and Major) Discount Offers For Victims

We feel for you, because we’ve all been there before.

Tracy Johnson Media Group is offering free services for anyone currently on the beach.

Effective immediately:

Insiders Radio Network. Free for 90 days. This is one of the industry’s best resources, loaded with tutorials, seminars on demand and much more. We’ve never done this before and will likely never do it again.

Audience Magnet Course. I’m offering 60 days of my video training course for radio personalities free. This is a $997 value. 60 days should be enough to complete the course, if you work on it each day. At the end of 60 days, the free membership will expire. You can keep it active for a one-time payment of $199. The membership will be for life with access to all updates and new lessons with no additional charge ever.

Air Check Coaching Services. We offer air check coaching and detailed feedback to develop an air check, audition tape and resume. Normal price is $499. Your price is $125.

To take advantage of any or all of these offers, send your name, situation and email address to [email protected]

For Everyone Who Knows a Victim

I was terminated from a PD job in 1988. An hour later, my phone rang. It was Scott Shannon. He told me he had been following my career “since you were a Baby DJ in Lincoln, Nebraska.” Scott told me this would be a good thing  and offered his help. Decades later, that moment remains a career highlight.

Be that person for someone else.

Be compassionate. Reach out. Some folks are reluctant to reach out to you. It’s awkward, even though it’s not their fault. Put yourself in their place. An updated list of victims is available here and here. Know someone on the list? Offer support support to help them through a difficult time.

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The frightening thing is that the circumstances that led to the Great Radio Purge are out of any victim’s control. It’s not because of poor performance or low ratings. The “dislocation” is downsizing, and radio isn’t the only industry affected.

It has happened to Blockbuster Video. Tower Records. Newspapers. Magazines. It’s happened to assembly lines, warehouses and hundreds of other job categories.

Radio is not immune from the reality of economics and efficiencies made possible through technology.

No, I do not think radio is the next Kodak. But anyone believing this is isolated and “now we’ve finally reached the bottom” is naive.

This is a major step toward nationalization/regionalization of radio programming. Most of it is economic. Some is applying their strongest creative skills more effectively. I understand it. Don’t count on those jobs coming back.

Here’s my best advice:

If you love what you do and are great at it, radio is a vibrant career. Just don’t depend on a company to protect or provide for the future.

To those hurting: I’m sorry. I feel for you. Please let me know how I can help.


Seminar on Demand: Get That Gig 

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Get That Gig: Network to Get Work

Constantly Marketing to Get That Gig

Get That Gig: Every Personality Needs a Website

Get That Gig eBook

Starting a Podcast Helps Get That Gig

Get That Gig: Start With A Great Resume’

How to Get That Gig: 16 Do’s and Don’ts To Get The Job You Want

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