Back when I was the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting, just before Thanksgiving we’d have a management conference every year. In attendance at these suit and tie affairs (most of us waited until then to buy are new duds for the year) were our GMs, SMs, PDs, Promotion people, and the Engineers.
These annual conferences were very futuristic, and Jim Hilliard who ran them dwelled mostly on where things were going and how we could best take advantage of the situation by being there waiting for the future to arrive. In fact, when the economy was at its worst, we had our best year because we’d planned for it.
On the sales side, here’s how it worked. At some point, Jim Hilliard would hand the Sales Managers of each station a folded piece of paper on which he had written what he expected them to bill the following year. When Jerry Bobo of KVIL in Dallas saw his number, I vividly remember him saying,”JESUS CHRIST” very loudly, followed by Dick Yancey of WIBC who said, “But Jim what if we don’t get the ratings,” to which Hilliard responded with, “Well that may make it a little tougher Dick.” (Jerry, by the way, hit his number less than three quarters the way through the year)
On the programming side, it went like this. A couple of weeks before the meetings, I would call the various PD’s and say, “Tomorrow’s your day in the box baby, tape your station all day and make the best presentation tape you possibly can. Bring it with you to the conference and good luck; you’ll be playing it for a tough crowd.”
(Below is how KVIL sounded during their first year with Fairbanks. It features Ron Chapman HOF, Ben Laurie HOF, Bill Gardner, Jack Schell HOF, Mike Selden HOF, and Major Tom Lewis.)
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