On last week’s show I reached the Casey Kasem apex counting down the top ten reasons stations aren’t successful. I slaughtered a few sacred cows and received numerous digital high-fives when I revealed what I’ve observed as the top reason:

“When I find the ego in the organization, I’ve found the problem.” Fred Smith

Ego is a result of insecurity. Insecurity ultimately comes from a lack of trust. Trust in one’s self and trust in others.

A general manager doesn’t trust his program director so he dictates music decisions, major promotions, even (e-gad) where jingles play.

A program director doesn’t trust the air talent so he implements talk limits, gives them a list of slogans to read, and burns up the studio hot line.

An air talent doesn’t trust the program director so he tries to sneak in his favorite songs, and clings to the same ole bits from a previous station.

Bud Paxson remains one of the greatest influences in my broadcast carer. You likely remember him as the founder of Home Shopping Network and PAX-TV. One of Bud’s greatest leadership traits was summed up in the words “Bring me the bad news!” He believed in dealing with problems head on. He believed he couldn’t do anything about a problem if he didn’t know about it. His attitude set the tone for a culture of candor among his closest advisors. The truth would often tramped on sensitive areas, but the organization thrived!


Program directors, do you trust your GM enough to tell him the truth, without fear of retribution?

Managers, do you trust your program director enough to let him make the programming decisions, and support him publicly even when you disagree?

Air talent, do you trust your program director enough to be open to their coaching even if it means using new muscles and thinking new thoughts?

Trust doesn’t just happen. Trust is a result of true leadership.

“Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the seniormost levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them.

You see, if the conditions are wrong, we are forced to expend our own time and energy to protect ourselves from each other, and that inherently weakens the organization. When we feel safe inside the organization, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities.” Simon Sinek

See How Does Trust Happen in Music?