Its my personal belief that those who are in a position of any kind, owe it to the future of whatever industry they are in, to help people get into their particular industry.
I blog about radio and audio, so lets get specific- if you work in radio or audio now, what are you doing to help new entrants come in? An old boss of mine used to say- train your replacement and make them better than you. I honestly don’t know where my belief came from- it might be something of an ember of a once held desire to go into teaching I suppose. When I worked daily in radio, I used to do a lot of coaching, and also get involved in student radio– helping and finding ways to bring on the future of the industry. I would frequently present session at SRACon and training days etc and found it extremely rewarding.
I’ve spent some time analysing why it was so enjoyable. There was the ‘giving back’ element- training the future which I’ll come onto shortly, but I also found it personally helpful. Having an interested engaged person ASK you for a rationale about why something happens, or how something comes about is really helpful in ensuring that you don’t take things for granted. You re-learn and remember the reasons why you do something because you have the explain it to someone else. I have been asked questions which I wouldn’t have predicted beforehand and had to analyse and think through the processes there and then, thinking on your feet. It keeps you smart and it keeps you sharp.
Giving back. Its more than that. There is a conveyor belt, a take off ramp into the industry and without the next people stepping onto it we have a problem. About 9-10 months ago I was in the need for another music scheduler. The pool of potential for a role like that is very shallow. Now, its a job which requires a level of expertise and understanding but its more than that. There are actually very few music schedulers in the radio industry because of shared playlists, networking etc and as a result the opportunity to learn the skills required has also shrunk. Who is training up the future?
The path I took to a career in radio doesn’t exist anymore. The path that many of the people I helped into the industry over the years also doesn’t exist anymore. Thats natural and a byproduct of the evolution of the medium- no complaints or criticism. The issue is one of where the new path and the new skill share is developed, both geographically and metaphorically. Its vital that the industry invests in training the future talent, allowing them the time and space to develop, grow and shape their skills.
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