Wednesday Feb 19

When Managers Attack or Why We Sack DJ's

Eve Radio News

Every once in a while I get asked a variety of questions from listeners who want to know why DJ's can be on the broadcast schedule one day and gone then next. They also tend to ask me things like "Why is such and such Dj being moved from one slot to another?" or "how come DJ blah blah has to talk about Eve so much in his slot instead of playing loads of music I like?".

I've decided I'm too busy to answer these questions individually over and over so instead I'm writing a few short articles so that you can all be universally informed as to the process whereby management types do what they do.

Today we'll kick off with a listener favorite, DJ discipline and sackings!

First off, we try to run a tight ship here at Eve Radio. This means we expect everyone to be disciplined, work to a certain standard and basically follow the rules outlined in the recruitment process or introduced afterwards.

These rules are designed to make sure that when a DJ broadcasts on Eve Radio, they are bringing a certain level of quality to the thousands of listeners that tune into us each week. They are also designed to make sure that when they are on air in their assigned slot the listeners will know what (more or less) to expect from them music and Eve content wise.

From time to time, DJ's may fail to live upto expectations or run into difficulties which prevent them from being able to consistently deliver a quality broadcast. When this happens, management types try to work with the DJ's in an effort to resolve difficulties. Where it's a matter of technical problems we do our best to assist the DJ in resolving the problem so they can quickly return to air and get on with it. Where the issue lies with difficulties in the real world, we tend to be sympathetic (to a point) and allow the DJ some leeway to sort their situation out. Where the issue is broadcast quality or some sort of "misunderstanding" relating to our documented rules of conduct we again try to work with the DJ in order to resolve it in an acceptable manner. We've just recently appointed Blacklight as a second Eve Radio assistant manager (to backup Wiggles and Manager QGazQ) in order to help with this as a matter of fact.

Anyway, despite our best efforts some solutions to problems can't be found or acceptably corrected.

When this happens we have to look long and hard at the situation and determine whether or not it would be better to release the DJ from our ranks or simply put up with the difficulties.

In the past we tended to make the mistake of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring certain problems on account those DJ's who were problematic (for one reason or another) were also our chums. It's hard telling your friends they can't continue being DJ's because their problems are too disruptive or they are too unreliable. It's even harder when those same DJ's have been around for so long they are practically part of the furniture. So in a lot of cases, it just got ignored instead of being dealt with properly.

This of course would eventually lead to other problems. For one, once it's been deemed "okay" to not be bringing your best to Eve Radio folks begin to get complacent and drift deeper and deeper into trouble. It also sends a poor message to other DJ's, especially newer ones who will eventually begin to pick up bad habits like the problematic vets and cry foul when they are pulled up for their own difficulties when the old skool lot are conveniently ignored.

Obviously this is not conducive to running a large broadcast organization and as a result standards and listener numbers across the board began to drop.

These days we don't let the mistakes of the past hold back our progress.

If a DJ continues to have difficulties or fails to broadcast to an acceptable standard, they are removed from the lineup. Sometimes they are retained as staff while they work on their issues, other times they are immediately dismissed.

Of course, we don't discuss the reasons for removals or dismissals in public which can lead to all sorts of difficulties when angry listeners discover their favorite DJ has been sacked. In some situations, former DJ's who feel they have been wronged go out of their way to air their discontent to anyone who will listen and try to stir up trouble for good old Eve Radio. Sometimes this makes me question our non disclosure policy but overall we prefer to keep these things internal. We don't want to bullet point an individual DJ's failings which led to their termination and make it public. Good or bad, every DJ spent time and effort to broadcast on Eve Radio and they (usually) deserve to bow out without curious listeners finding out exactly why they got the boot.

In some peoples eyes our non disclosure of the reasons for staff sackings combined with the hushed one sided explanations with grumpy former DJ's can paint us as complete monsters totally devoid of compassion or reason. While that's an appealing image for some, it's generally not one we would want to foster given the choice, however, we again run into that pesky non disclosure policy.

Catch-22 be damned, I say.

Instead of discussing individual DJ's failings that resulted in their removal, lets just outline the conditions whereby a DJ may be removed. That way should a favorite DJ of yours no longer appear on the schedule you can look through this list and mentally calculate whether or not any one or more of these conditions may apply.

Reliability :-

DJ's may be deemed unreliable for a number of reasons, some of which are detailed below.

  • Failure to be present and active in the staff channel 30 minutes prior to the start of their show for the purposes of testing their connections.
  • DJ's failing to hold the stream consistently. Three stream drops in any given show will result in that slot being assigned to a cover DJ or Jukebox for the remainder of the slot.
  • Two or more shows in a row with stream drops and/or other technical difficulties will flag the DJ as being unreliable in varying degrees dependent on previous broadcast history.
  • Technical difficulties of any sort which impedes the quality of the show which demonstrates a lack of testing and preparation on the DJ's part.
  • Number of cover requests made exceed the current rotations allowed maximum. (1 per 5 weeks)
  • Number of emergency cover requests exceed the current rotations allowed maximum. (1 per 8 weeks)
  • Failure to properly document any covers within acceptable time limits. (Covers require 2 days minimum notice, emergency covers require phone contact with a manager)
  • Failure to turn up for a show. (Usually results in dismissal if a suitable explanation is not given within a maximum of 2 days)

There are more rules (Being an active member of the community as an example) but the above are the most relevant and account for 90% of serving staff infractions. They are also the most immediately obvious for disrupting the listening experience.

In certain situations the rules regarding cover requests are more flexible due to mitigating circumstances or detailed explanations given to management staff. However, habitual covers regardless of reason will still be considered as being unacceptably unreliable. While we can sympathize with people who have trouble beyond their ability to control, too many of these demonstrates that at this stage in the DJ's life they cannot consistently broadcast and as such will be replaced with someone who can. Typically DJ's in these positions will be allowed to reapply when things settle down again. They will not, however, be allowed to return to their previous slot even if it is still available.

In addition to the above we have recently begun using a DJ Karma system which automatically tracks a number of rules violations. While most single instances of a rule violations will not overly penalize a DJ when combined with others it can lead to suspension or dismissal. The karma system assigns a point value to each infraction and when that total reaches a certain limit, sanctions are immediately applied. To balance this, the karma system also awards DJ's who do more than what is required of them. As an example, DJ's who pick up cover slots will receive positive Karma as will those who work in one of the Eve Radio departments (recruitment as an example). Positive or negative, karma point awards do have an upper and lower limit depending on the infraction concerned, so you won't get DJ's racking up a huge pool of positive karma for being stream whores so they can get away will deliberately skiving off when the mood suits them. It doesn't work like that.

So there you have it.

We like to think we're pretty fair at Eve Radio and don't ask too much of our DJ's. At it's simplest, we only expect them to do the jobs they signed up for and not a lot else. We think it's reasonable to expect all staff to be fully upto date with any internal news, discussions or policy changes and not struggle with their primary responsibilities of being a DJ. For the most part, we have this and what we don't have now, we will have in the near future. If not, well, some familiar faces may not be around much longer. If that's the case you can always check back here and see if you can work out for yourselves why that may be the case.

Bottom line, we're not bad guys for removing unreliable DJ's. You don't have real world companies keeping staff on who don't do their job and neither do we here. Volunteers or not, standards are important. If people can't maintain them then we can't retain them.

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Comments (2)add comment

SARGE said:

it's a love/hate thing ..
the management teams around here are all awesome to listen and help all dj's, new and old.

i remember this one time, where .. oh, right .. cant tell ya .. lets move on in good TEMPY, shall we..

seriously though, we could use some help around here ..

as you may have noticed, this january has been somewhat busy for myself.
even though i got vacation during the month, i was quite busy helping out with covers here on the good old radio, but now that my vacation is coming to a end and work soon will resume, i obviously cant be around to play covers all the time and thats where you lot come in.

anywho, i hope i'll see some of you in staff channel soon, and trust me, it's a experience you wont forget ....

peace out y'all

January 25, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

Sizzly said:

Sounds Harsh, eh?
Blades, Gaz, and the rest of the ER management are actually really tender and merciful to us poor DJ's. Don't be fooled: Whilst a quality show is the goal they're all about working with us to make it happen, cap'n.

There's tons of slots open so I highly recommend anyone who wants to show that they're hard enough should give it a shot.

Except for seeing my sweetie in her birthday suit, doing Disasterpiece Theater on ER is the highlight of my week!

Truth, goslings.
January 24, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

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