It seems the only folks who can legally take Payola anymore are the politicians who stepped in to clean up radio. Of course, they don’t call it Payola. They call it “campaign contributions”.
By the way: what’s the difference between a seedy record promoter and a lobbyist? You can trust the seedy record promoter.
There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch
Anyway, back to the Program Director. Besides directing programming and maybe overseeing music, the PD has to go out to lunch everyday – usually with the guy who does the afternoon show. It is usually embarrassing when the bill arrives because the PD is never sure whether to offer to pay the bill with another station trade or let the afternoon DJ pay with the money he made by illegally selling station t-shirts on eBay.
As you can see, being a PD is a day full of hard decisions.
Sometime in the afternoon, the Program Director might have to do face time at a meeting. He will bring in a yellow legal pad and pen but seldom write anything down. This is because anyone with ideas will usually offer to “forward” the info to the PD. Email has been a boon to the art of program directing. Plus, Program Directors agree they can delete more listener complaints faster now thanks to broadband.
At the end of the day, the Program Director hangs around just long enough to make sure the General Manager leaves before he does. This paints the Program Director in a very positive light and suggests that he’s working himself to the bone. (This tactic also works in other professions.)
Other things you should know about the Program Director:
Sometimes he has to wear a third hat and “jock” on-the-air. He will often use a pseudonym because the last thing the PD wants is for listeners to know that the idiot on the air is also the idiot who is doing the program directing.
Most Program Directors have offices with signed memorabilia from rock stars. Nothing says success like a framed jock strap with Kid Rock’s signature on it.
Program Directors do not look like Andy Travis from the old TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. They look more like Les Nessman from WKRP in Cincinnati.