"Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln?"-- Robert Coles
The answer lies in this quote from my friend Roy Williams:
"Leadership and management, in my experience, are virtually opposite skill sets. Management requires wisdom, patience and strength. Basically, it's parenting, bringing forward the best of the past, enforcing the status quo. Leadership requires independence, audacity, and courage. It's inherently defiant, questioning the past, challenging the status quo. True leaders require no authority. They think their own thoughts, make their own decisions, carry out their own plans. They say, 'This is what I've decided to do.' And then they do it. Others see them doing it and decide to follow. Leaders lead from the front. Managers manage from behind."
Where are the dashing swashbucklers with swords drawn, engaged in a spirited fight to conquer new lands for radio?
How many people feel secure even suggesting something new or different, let alone taking bold action at their radio station or company?
Every ship needs a captain. Who is determining radio's strategy? Who is leading radio into uncharted territory? Who is boldly speaking out to engage the troops? Though some individual companies have bold, risk-taking captains, there appears to be a void in radio as an industry. We are being led by a committee of managers.
Sadly, words I hear all too frequently are, "When will it be fun again?" And, of course, some self-assured company leader will respond with, "We're not here to have fun, we're here to make a profit."
But if you believe in Raymond Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, you'll understand that radio soldiers who feel they have a bigger purpose and who feel great joy and satisfaction in their work are more likely to make a profit.
Where is the passion?
Where is the emotion?
Where is the excitement?
Where is the communication?
Where is the guiding star?
Yet I am invigorated when I drive into a small town and hear a young, squeaky-voiced talent learning and growing live on the air. It gives me hope, it's authentic, and in my mind it's more listenable than some slick, golden-throated pro talking about "10 in a row" or "The greatest hits." That may be pretty, but it no longer stands out.