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The Wacky World of Radio - Program Directors

Today’s Lesson: The Program Director or PD (Humor/Satire)


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Wacky World of Radio Logo

Graphic Credit: © Corey Deitz
The Man Who Makes it All Good

The “Program Director” is the person at a radio station responsible for “directing programming”. Program directing usually begins at 10 a.m. when the “PD” (as he’s affectionately called) strolls in with a steaming Grande Mocha Cappuccino Latte which he actually got free through a station trade with a local Starbucks.

Radio stations sometimes “trade” advertising for products or services. In this case, the PD is taking advantage of some coffee trade a former account executive set up a year ago. At this point, the station probably owes Starbucks $2800 dollars in ads because the PD has been wrongly mooching on the trade and since the account executive that set up the deal was fired 6 months ago - nobody is keeping track.

“It’s all good,” says the PD.

Beware of Program Directors who use that phrase. Nothing is ever “all good” when somebody tells you it is – especially at a radio station. When a PD tells you “It’s all good,” he is really saying, “I’m ignoring the bad stuff because my latte is getting cold.”

The PD is Like a Boat that Wears Many Hats

Program Directors hire and fire the people on-the-air. Just like boats, the best day and worst day in a deejays life is the day he gets a new job from his Program Director and the day the DJ is canned and finally gets rid of the loon who hired him. Most Program Directors can spot great talent. They have a nose for that. Unfortunately, once the talent is hired, most PDs also have another aptitude: annoying the crap out of talents over stupid, picky, meaningless issues which eventually force these generally unstable talents to fantasize about a murder-suicide involving the Program Director.

Sometimes the Program Director is also the Music Director. That’s called wearing two hats. Unfortunately, no one can afford two hats in this economy which is where the record companies come in. Record companies provide gifts to PDs like hats and other promotional materials including concert tickets, trips for listeners, CDs, t-shirts, etc. (It used to be cash, cocaine, and hookers but the F.C.C. screwed that up. Thanks a lot you bunch of killjoys!) Everything a Program Director receives has to be accounted for and disclosed. Why? Because the PD’s boss, the General Manager, wants to make sure he gets his cut.

I’m kidding. Disclosure occurs because the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t want the radio station doing any back room deals and promising to play crappy songs in return for anything of value.

Well, at least unless the public knows. In the good old days, radio had Payola (See “cash, cocaine, and hookers” above). That was great because the DJs and Program Directors were able to make a decent living by taking bribes and playing the record company’s crappy songs.

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