Re-thinking The Role of the Program Director

by theaudioprof on July 7, 2011

Hello from my vacation in the Pacific Northwest…my home state of Washington.  I return here almost every summer to get away from the day-to-day of work in the office and to visit my parents/in-laws/friends.

I can’t ever completely forget about work, of course.  So shoot me.  I love my job and the media is everywhere so I find hard to not be thinking about it.  This is also a common time for me to re-think and redesign many of my courses and websites for the upcoming year (which is why I’m finally blogging after months away).

One of the courses I teach every Fall semester is T344–Electronic Media Programming Strategies.  I started teaching this in 1998 and, although I have fiddled with it an added new things every time, the basic organization and “bones” have remained essentially the same.

Much of that is due to sheer laziness.  It takes a lot to revamp a class.  But the time is now because the role of the Program Director is drastically different than it was 13 years ago.  Not only are selection, scheduling, promotion, and evaluation important aspects of the role…but distribution is more important than ever before.  You have to make sure that an audience can get your program…through whatever platform they want it.

Mark Ramsey of MRM

Another great thing about vacation is that I get a chance to read things I wouldn’t have time for normally.  Like blog posts from others.  Mark Ramsey is the President of MRM and blogs here.  In a recent post he summed up my thinking quite well:

The other day I was listening to Public Radio’s Fresh Air, and I noticed that the program director at WHYY, Christine Dempsey, is not a program director at all but a “Chief Content Officer.”  The implication is clear:  ”Content” is about all platforms, and not just the one over the air.  This is much more than a semantic difference.  This is a difference of purpose.  This is a different job description with different incentives, different expectations, and different outcomes. This is a different organization structure, and it’s foreign to the average broadcaster.

I encourage you to read Ramsey’s blog often.  Great insights on how radio can become better.  And I’ll be back with more on how my re-thinking the role of the Program Director is changing my approach to T344.

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