Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden has influenced people in all walks of life. On the surface, I guess it’s easy to think that this may not include Radio, but there are things he preached that we can adopt to our benefit—and the listeners’ benefit.
Re-examining his “Pyramid of Success” today, I saw two items of significance:
“Success travels in the company of very hard work. There is no trick; no easy way.”
Above that, on the next level of the pyramid, is Alertness:
“Constantly be aware and observing. Always seek to improve yourself and the team.”
What this means to those of us in radio is that talent is not enough. We’ve all known jocks (or Program Directors or General Managers) that had amazing skills, but didn’t keep working at getting better. Back in the Dark Ages when I first worked in Dallas for radio pioneer Gordon McLendon, we had a guy who did weekends and occasional all-nights named Nick Alexander. Nick was the low man on the KNUS totem pole. (That staff had more people inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame than any other.)
We did group aircheck sessions regularly, where all the jocks listened to a tape, and gave their observations—some pointing out good things, and some pretty blunt assessments of what didn’t work. Nick got beaten up pretty badly in a couple of those sessions, but he took the whippings like a man. He worked hard to become a better air talent, and eventually became a fine jock, then went on to become an extremely successful Voice Actor, heard on hundreds and hundreds of commercials, and making about ten times more money than I will ever make.
…and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. He deserved every break he got, because he understood what Industriousness and Alertness were all about.
I’m sure Coach Wooden would have liked him.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.