What Qualifications Do You Have Eric?

I think the biggest one is that of experiencing life. There’s no greater degree than that.The issue I have with many qualifications is they are often of no value unless you can apply them.

I mean let’s take radio training – how on earth can you train a Howard Stern, Alan Freeman, Wolfman, Chris Moyles – they are born to be radio DJs. Anyone who thinks they can train people to be as these guys on radio is totally stupid.

The best business, radio, TV, media tool I’ve ever been given is the word S.P.I.N. It works in all areas:

S – Situation

P – Problem

I – Implication

N – Need

And that is followed up with my “So What” test. If you can place “SO WHAT” behind a sentence then it has no value.

The above two tips are better than any qualifications. Sure it was nice to go to the IBM business school and take a course in finance up to Finance Director level – my children have the certificate somewhere.

Being able to place FInstSMM, Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management, behind your name on a business card I guess is OK, but surely what you are doing now TODAY is of higher value. So I don’t bother with the initials even though I have a piece of paper that claims I can.

In the UK we have all sorts of qualifications and the names are a little different to those used in other countries – the ones I have more of are City & Guilds, taken when I worked for B.T.

My late Father would often be heard saying they will help you in later life and he was right, Dad’s often are.

Having seven City & Guilds is again fun, but if you don’t apply them it’s pointless taking them, they mean nothing.

I’ll share another good thing to do with certificates, DITCH THEM! By all mean take the glory on the day you receive them and afterwards HIDE THEM. Don’t place them all over your office and become a “WHEN I” person – meaning the sentence ‘ When I did this in……..”.

Your future isn’t based on certificates, its based on what you do next and how you do it!

Returning to the media, my present Chairman, tells me he has taken a big lesson from radio 🙂

He claims that accountants should never be in charge of radio. No comment from me. However, I do believe the following:

1. Do technicians make radio? No.

2. Do accountancts make radio? No

3. Do DJs make radio? No

4. Do sponsors make radio? No

5. Do listeners make radio? No

6. Do sales people make radio? No

There are many more ‘no’ answers I could give. However, the truth is it is a team effort. The clever people in radio are team players, they also understand the phrase which is ‘Be Everyone’s Servant’.

Also if you are going into radio, or any media for that matter, because you think it gives you position – FORGET IT!

If you ever get to the position of thinking you control a media outlet – LEAVE QUICKLY! You don’t. I’ve watched many people suffer after getting into the control freak position.

I guess another thing I would advise is that you study the media in the real world before trying to work within it. Again a quote from a friend. He says “This ruddy business is full of smoke and mirrors”. And to some degree that is true, after all it is show business.

Unlike many business areas there is one major thing in radio you simple cannot hide and that’s what the listener hears – I mean you can show a picture of a property you are building and people can buy from that; if you have a new piece of software under development you can pre-sell it because of that which it can do; if you are a lawyer you can explain which areas you specialise in and advertise; get the point?

The media isn’t a black-art. However it does have it’s own way of working. Even taking in all of Europe it is still only a small business – make a mistake in one corner of Europe and people in the opposite area will know in seconds. And the media business isn’t forgiving like many other business sectors.

Returning to the original question, sort of, – if you want to work within a media group first go out and research the industry you want to work in. Then question, question and question again everything you are told. Gain as much knowledge you can from the experienced people in the industry and then QUESTION THAT! Some will claim to be experts and are nothing more than guys/gals who can write pretty business books.

Also, if you want to be a ‘TOP OF THE POPS’ player you MUST be able to get your hands dirty and do anything asked of you within the industry. How on earth can you decide if a DJ is qualified unless you can do his/her job – you won’t know if he has good techniques or is just full of ………

If you don’t understand sales how do you know if the sales people are telling you the truth? If you don’t understand what your financial support team are telling you then you’ll have huge problems. If you don’t understand the legal framework, you’ll have MAJOR problems. And if ever there was a place of Smoke and Mirrors it will be within the transmission areas. There are hundreds of so-called experts in Europe that I would probably narrow down to 20.

Still want to work in radio – well get off your backside and go out into the real world. Put on a thick skin and remember radio only works if people (LOTS OF THEM) can hear the programmes they want to hear – NOT what you want to hear as the boss of a station, well not unless you several million pounds, sterling, in the bank that you want to throw away.

OK lecture over for now

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