People who have known me for any length of time know that I would run across a crowded freeway for a bratwurst, I made my first million by creating and trademarking the term “Adult Super Store”, I actively search out and chronicle travel filth, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees with me that “The Rockford Files” was the best damn TV show ever.
In fact, my Freshman year in college was in Los Angeles and on Day One, I borrowed a car from someone in the dorm to drive out to Paradise Cove and see the Rockford trailer. And…it was gone. Filming had cancelled before it was begun because of a contract dispute. I was crushed. Much like Angel when his Caddy, Lucille, was firebombed by the mob.
Oh. Yeah. I had a point.
In the movie “The Great Escape”, James Garner’s role was ‘the scrounger’. The person in the camp who was good at getting you what was needed. Stolen ID’s. Digging tools. Travel documents. He stole or permanently borrowed whatever he could scrounge for the escapers.
Great stations usually have a scrounger. That person on the staff who is so stupidly connected that they can get you whatever you need.
I was just at iHeart in Albany and Lovey from the promo team is that person. You need a body bag for bit tomorrow? She’ll know someone who know’s someone. And you’ll get your bag, but you probably don’t want to ask where she got it.
When I arrived in San Francisco in 1991, I literally knew no one in the market and the learning curve for anything “Bay Area” was ridiculously low for me. But the station was a promotional monster with no money and a morning guy who had lots of brilliant ideas at 6 pm: “I want a forklift and a stripper dressed as a nurse at 7 tomorrow.” Click. He’d hung up.
Fortunately, I’d inherited a scrounger named Mel and he was connected. “Stripper and a fork lift? Why don’t you give me something challenging. They’ll be there by 6:30.”
No other industry is as transient as Radio. If you were 35 and had moved six times, in any other business you’d be a failure. Not in Radio.
So you have a lot of clusters with only a few people in the building who actually grew up there. Having your local connection is even more important in those cases.
At Entercom in San Diego? It’s Chris Turner. He knows everyone in the market. Literally. At one of the stations it’s the owner who is politically involved in the city. You want the competition to be towed from the Maroon 5 show? One call.
When the new owners took over Power 96 in Miami they did what every company that has ever come into that market does, which is to assume that an annual vacation to visit relatives makes them experts on the most unique radio market in the country. And they immediately switched out all of the key promo people with staff from their St. Louis market. And popped their scrounger, Gino. It was not a smooth transition.
Think about who you have in your building, or who you have who are married or living with or connected to someone who can be a scrounger, because they’re invaluable. Like, when we launched a station with an all Christmas format stunt in Grand Forks in August of ’12. It was a quick turnaround. “How can we find 20 high school kids and 20 Santa outfits on 24 hours notice?” Jeff Hoberg? “No problem…” one call.