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Broadcast Personnel Management

Job Planning


Every station should do a long-range overview of its own marketplace: community standards, average wage, supply and demand, and forecast for population and economic growth over a period of years. Stations, as risky as the practice is, should also develop an overview of the competitive structure in the market from varying forms of media, including new technologies, and how such stations will be so affected as new media become more embedded in American society.

The primary purpose for stations in developing such analyses is to position their own competitive strategy for the future. Stations, as in any other business, will be under the pressure to operate as lean as possible, but job analyses help managers determine what the changing marketplace will do to change their personnel requirements.

Workload Analysis

Every year, top managers should be required to develop a workload analysis. The annual review should look at several aspects of in-house personnel operations, in order to determine and plan trends and needs for the future.

Among the key items in a workload analysis:

Total hours worked - Number of hours paid in a given year in relation to total work output gives an employer an overall look at company efficiency.

Overtime hours - This analysis gives employers targets of where in the station the heaviest overtime is worked and provides a starting point for considering whether management is operating at full efficiency, or whether an additional employee is needed to reduce the total overtime.

Compensatory time - This further gives an employer an overview of whether managers are controlling personnel costs by reducing expensive overtime through reducing hours during a specific pay period.

Job Specifications

Once an employer has determined specific job needs, the next step in personnel planning is to develop job specifications. Among the items significant to job specifications are: 1) minimum qualifications, 2) education required, 3) previous experience required, 4) conduct restrictions, and 5) salary level desired.

Job Description

Once the workload overview and job specifications are developed, quality managers will write specific job descriptions to govern the performance of each specific employee. The job description will cover the following items: 1) specific nature of the job and general responsibilities required; 2) hours required for the job performance; 3) whether the job will be salaried or paid on an hourly basis; 4) time of report for work; 5) the employee's reporting supervisor; 6) specifics unique to the individual job; and 7) barometers for employee review, reward, and discipline.

Job Selection

Seeking Candidates

Job candidates are solicited by broadcast managers from a variety of sources. The on-air personality is usually obtained from the audition tape. Tapes are usually solicited from advertising in a variety of locales: 1) national trade magazines; 2) local newspapers; 3) college placement offices; 4) in-house bulletin boards and publications; 5) job consultants (headhunters); and 6) online services. The difficulty encountered by managers is in narrowing the candidate base.

Narrowing the Candidates

No specific art can be drawn for narrowing what is often a large pool of candidates for broadcast jobs. Employers draw on several cut systems, often depending on region and market size.

One step employers typically take off the top is to look at the quality of resumes and the professionalism of cover letters and immediately eliminate those deemed reflecting a standard look and tone. Particularly for the on-air personality, employers look for someone who will stand out from the pack.

A second step is to evaluate salary history and experience level. Particularly for a non-entry level job, managers will look for candidates who can fit the station's specific salary budget and who have a track record of quality performance in a smaller (or, sometimes, larger market).

A third step (except in the thirty largest markets) is to look at the current home base of the candidates. Many managers eliminate candidates who are not from within a 200-250 mile radius of the station. The prevailing argument is a prospective employee who hails from an area within a four-to-five hour driving distance of the station is more than likely to remain with the company for a longer period of time than one who has no ties to the region.

Ultimately, a station will narrow the candidates to approximately two dozen, for whom resume videotapes or audiotapes will be viewed or heard. Of that pool, managers will reduce the field to approximately three to five, who will be pre-interviewed via telephone. The goal is to narrow the field further to two to three candidates, preferably three, who will be brought in at the station's expense, for in-person interviews.

More to Come on Personnel 2

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