Career 2.0 (R&R Article)

dashboard-radioWhen the worst happens: networking tips, a robust resume, social networking and the Internet, preparing for an interview — and possibly even changing careers.  Check out this article from

By Chuck Taylor

While the January loss of 1,850 jobs in a single swipe at Clear Channel Radio was a mind-numbing blow for the radio industry, the sad truth is that a hailstorm of pink slips have purged the business with startling consistency. CBS Radio, Citadel, Entercom, Greater Media and Sirius XM are among the radio groups that have been draining the ranks of programming, management, sales and talent for several months.

If misery loves company, then there’s not a lot of elbow room left, as the troubling economy continues to prompt record job declines nationwide across a multitude of business sectors. The Department of Labor reported that in December, the jobless tally increased by 632,000 people to 11.1 million, as the unemployment rate rose from 6.8% to 7.2%—the highest in 16 years. In the last four months of 2008, 1.9 million jobs were sheared. And perhaps the most chilling statistic of all: In the final week of January alone, more than 70,000 layoffs were announced, from the likes of Pfizer, Home Depot, Sprint, Boeing, Microsoft, Intel and General Motors.

The radio industry’s own fortunes are just as dismal. In November, overall industry revenue plummeted a staggering 20% compared with November 2007, according to the RAB. BIA Advisory Services forecast that radio revenue would hit a five-year low in 2008 with a negative 7% growth rate. For 2009, total radio revenue is expected to tumble 10% before returning to the positive column in 2010, with a modest 1.5% gain. Such analysts as Wachovia Securities’ Marci Ryvicker have projected even steeper radio revenue losses for this year.

Taking Action
R&R queried a host of career counselors and experts in the field of surviving layoffs to recommend forward steps for out-of-work broadcasters. Their advice covers such essential topics as networking, building a robust résumé, utilizing social networking sites and the Internet, preparing for an interview and—a concept that might have seemed inconceivable a few years ago—changing careers.

They may be onto something. A recent article on points out how the evolution of technology is profoundly impacting specific careers: “Thanks to the advent of technology like computers, automated machines, voice recognition systems and cell phones, many jobs once deemed essential to the work force are on the decline.” Among its top 10 endangered careers is “radio and television announcers” at No. 8: “New technology and advancement of other media sources like satellite radio and syndicated programming means less need for radio and TV announcers.”

Laurie Kahn is the founder of Media Staffing Network and All About Careers. During a Jan. 14 webinar, “Tips for the Media Job Search,” that was hosted by R&R and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women Radio Group, she advised, “Most of us in media are smart and we know a lot of other industries. If you’ve lost your job, don’t narrow your thoughts to being in just one industry. Consider what other industries might benefit from your skills.”

Kahn, who has worked for 20 years hiring and training job seekers and employers, adds, “Maybe this is a blessing. What did you not like about your past job? What would your dream job look like? This is the time to think about what you’re really passionate about. It’s a time to open your mind.”

Mary Jane Murphy, a career counselor and psychotherapist in Atlanta who oversees M J Murphy Counseling Services (, tells R&R that “career advice is tough for clients in industries such as radio, where opportunity is presently declining. Some will want to hunker down and try to remain in the field until they see how it all sorts out. Some will not mind making a major career change. Some will want to look at their skills and decide how they might transfer to another career they would possibly enjoy just as much as radio.”

The key, she says, is “knowing what your skill-set is—what within that skill set you want to promote and use in your next job, and to have a pitch that you can quickly present to anyone that tells them what you are looking for.”

Keith Hatschek—author of “How to Get a Job in the Music Industry” and an associate professor at the University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music in Stockton, Calif.—concurs. “If you have been working in a segment in which the layoffs just keep coming—like the record business and radio—look at other related fields that aren’t being hit so hard with downsizing. For PDs, managers and on-air talent, it’s especially important to think creatively about where your talents in communication, marketing, project management or team-building might be valued.”

Hatschek recommends studying companies that are in a related content business: webcasters, TV and video production or videogames, “and sell them on how your experience can help them become more successful.”

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