How to Get Along With Every Jerk, Moron, and Idiot You Work With

by John Pellegrini

For a long time now, I've seen the raging complaints over the war between production and sales here in the pages of Radio And Production. This war has been fought for centuries. Indeed, many historians believe that it originated between Gutenberg and his advance man. Regardless, it's always the same. The prod guy gets no respect or cooperation from the sales guy, and the sales guy is tired of the prod guy not appreciating the hard work he or she puts into getting clients on the air.

Both sides are right; both sides are wrong. As always, when examining arguments over personality clashes, the cause of the argument has been overlooked. It all comes down to one word: Professionalism. There is a major lack of professionalism in radio. We are encouraged from the very beginning to be creative, to be wacky. We thrive on spontaneity and the craziness that the entertainment industry causes, but what gets us in trouble is when we confuse creativity with immaturity.

Never forget that this is a business. You were hired to do a job. You get a paycheck just like the guy on the line at General Motors, or the UPS truck driver. The owners of the station have their names on a large note at the bank which allowed them to buy the station. You were selected by them, or their representative (your PD or GM) because they felt you had qualifications and abilities that would help them produce profits to pay off that note, for which you are compensated with paychecks. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Professionalism is the ability to realize this, and to understand that while you may not agree with all of the corporate policies, it's still up to you to do your best, if for no other reason than to have a killer tape to get a job somewhere else.

I'm not saying that you should have your shorts permanently lined with K-Y Jelly. But, I do think that a lot of the complaints from both production and sales are unwarranted. For the most part, the sales side's arguments and complaints about our side come from a lack of knowledge about how we do our job. So, instead of getting pissed off, why not have a production room "open house" day? Give the folks a little tour of your world. Then, as a follow up, encourage the sales folk to work closer with you -- maybe not by standing right behind you during the recording session, but by sitting down and discussing copy ideas with you in advance. Explain to them how you translate the printed words into the aural image that goes on the air.

You can also accuse the production side of the same fault; i.e. not understanding how the sales side does its job. Sit down with the Sales Manager of your station. Tell him or her that you'd like to get a better look at how the sales staff does its job so you can offer a better working relationship with them. Chances are, the Sales Manager will want to hug you. You may even be given a day off from production so you can join some of the salespeople on a few sales calls just to observe. Now what's wrong with that? A Production Director with a good working knowledge of how the sales staff does its job is worth his or her weight in gold. Talk about job security! Make your "enemies" your best allies.