Radio Steps Up: But What Have You Done Lately?

Posted on December 21, 2011


There is a nice item in today’s Taylor On Radio-Info email about the charity events that stations are doing all across the country. Tom writes, “Jocks are broadcasting from malls, supermarket parking lots, 18-wheelers and everywhere else a promotion director can think of.”

He goes on to say that, “Emmis’ Hot 97/WQHT, New York just staged ‘the first-ever hip-hop Hanukkah concert.'” which I think is just a blatant rip-off of a promotion I did at X-treme Radio in Las Vegas called Ska-nukkah,  a charity show featuring a number of ska bands, but I digress.

I think it’s great that radio is out getting it’s charity groove on. However, I think every host — and all the Grinch-like program directors and Scrooge-like general managers — should consider dedicating some of their personal time to volunteering.

Ska-nukkah aside, the stations I programmed did plenty of charity work. But it wasn’t until I was unemployed after Radio & Records folded that I actually got out and volunteered for the first time.

No station van. No listeners to consider. No desk to run back to. No authority or control of the situation.

I just went to the local food bank once a week  and did whatever they needed me to do. I hauled heavy boxes of Gatorade from one side of the warehouse to the other (and sometimes back again), I cleaned out giant freezers, broke down boxes and handed food to people who needed it.

Not only does it feel good, it’s a very different perspective that can help you realize that, in spite of whatever hardships you may be facing, life is pretty good.

If you need a selfish reason it’s also good networking. You’ll be surprised who you meet and get to talk to when you volunteer. People with all sorts of unique backgrounds and stories to tell.

It doesn’t have to be now when you’re “busy” with the holidays; often it’s the non-holiday times when charities need volunteers the most.

I will commit right here that — based on my current schedule which is work filled until mid-February after which a well-deserved vacation will occur — in March of 2012 I will work volunteering back into my schedule in some form or fashion and whether it’s once-a-week or once-a-month I hope you do the same.