I was in the checkout line at a vegetarian restaurant in San Diego, the kind of bohemian place I don't get to enjoy often enough.
At the checkout was a hand-written sign that noted two price schemes: One for cash, a higher one for credit cards.
I looked at the sign, puzzled. "Is that legal?" I asked the heavily tattooed server behind the register.
"I don't know," she shrugged. "I just do whatever my manager tells me."
I just do whatever my manager tells me.
The question of what's legal and what isn't wasn't of interest to her (for the record, my wife – who sells items at retail in her yoga studio – says it's not). It's somebody else's problem. There's nothing she wants to do about it. She doesn't care.
How much like the radio industry is this?
How much do we criticize the efforts – or lack thereof – of top management in our companies while failing to do anything about those efforts ourselves?
If the civil rights effort proved anything it's that sweeping change can come from the groundswell.
This is why, for example, I have no interest in reading trash talk aimed at radio. Reveling in that kind of crap is bad for the spirit and does nothing to produce a different outcome.
Yet different outcomes are exactly what our industry needs. And those outcomes are much more likely to bubble up from down under than to trickle down from above.
While it's not likely that senior management will throw open their arms to greet your novel ideas, it's still your responsibility to push those ideas up the ladder.
That's what this blog is all about. That's what my career is all about.
What about yours?
In my view there are too many folks in radio who are doing whatever their manager tells them and not nearly enough doing what's best for their future and the future of what their industry is evolving into.
The stability of employment by a broadcaster is a myth. Your only stability is to see the future as it is and to meet it on its terms, not yours.
And not those of the "Radio industry establishment."