Friday, January 28, 2011

Questionable Hires

By Frank Absher

Recently there was a flareup of sorts among some in the radio community when a homeless man ended up getting job offers after his plight was publicized. Why, these people wanted to know, were there jobs being offered to this guy and not to qualified, experienced people?

It’s a legitimate question, and I don’t think it’s sour grapes.

There are many qualified radio people on the beach trying to find work. They are being turned down ostensibly because money is tight and management cannot justify paying people the salaries they’re asking. In other words, radio is being done on the cheap.

What should a qualified, experienced, intelligent radio person do?

Find work in another occupation.

These days, many cretin-like radio managers think only in terms of a quick hit. Let’s hire someone who will get us some publicity. So stations hire ex-con politicians instead of law-abiding talent. They hire alcoholics instead of clean people who are equally or better qualified. They hire ditzy folks instead of intelligent talent.

When Bristol Palin was offered a job in radio, my first thought was that it was no different than the folks who offered a job to the homeless guy. It was a move by a desperate station manager who wanted quick bang for his buck. How else can you justify offering a primo radio gig to a 20-year-old with no radio experience and questionable maturity? Why else would anyone fork out that kind of money for, at very best, a marginal talent when there are so many talented people looking for a gig?

Oddly, I haven’t heard the same outcry I heard when the homeless guy got job offers, but the situations have very much in common.

What does this manager think will come of such a dunce-like move? Will women above the age of 20 suddenly tune in to hear the wisdom this pseudo celebrity can impart about life? Better yet, does anyone think a 20-year-old with her life experience will be entertaining or glib?

Then I read a comment from a radio observer whose views I usually respect. He said this hiring of Bristol Palin might “help the image of radio.”


Hiring her is like slapping a new coat of paint on the outside of a condemned house in the hope that it’ll increase the value. Inside it’s still a shabby mess in danger of caving in on itself.

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