I work in a profession that can be not only enviable, but bitter — on the inside and on the outside. People clamor to get in, yet hardly ever clamor to get out, even when they are unhappy in this environment. When they are shown the door, they rarely understand. When you console them after their firing, they sputter through their anger and tears, “Don’t worry, there will be more firings; you could be next.” They have such a difficult time believing that maybe, just maybe they no longer have what it takes. Their egos write checks that their talent — and, as noted above, people skills — cannot cash. Or perhaps they still have what it takes, but layoffs were enforced and they simply didn’t make the cut.
The bitter on the outside can come from not only radio castaways, but from listeners — even more so, in fact. Social media has made it more convenient to express one’s displeasure. Every radio station has a website; there, things like station info, contests, announcements and an opportunity to Listen Live are kept contained and managed by website administrators within the company.
Facebook, on the other hand, is a whole different animal. Every station has a page, and it is there that anyone and everyone can comment on any postings from station personnel. Most of the time comments from listeners are positive and supportive. But it is the negative, biting and cruel comments from listeners and such that can whittle down the esteem of even the most confident air talent.
One of the stations I work for has a brand new morning show. The Program Director and other management hunted high and low, locally and internationally, to find the perfect fit for that time slot. They found it in a young, married mother of three, and a homosexual, engaged-to-be-married man. They have worked as a team for six years. They uprooted their lives from Long Island, New York to come here and do good radio. They were invited, and for good reason. We got a taste of their talents through a hilarious video, then when they were introduced to us at a company meeting, they dazzled us with their humor, energy and warmth.
I’m imagining that this team’s emotions run the gamut from exuberant to scared shitless. The fact that they landed a gig that hundreds were hoping for (not to mention thousands who could only dream) can only go so far in imbuing their self-confidence. Although I know the feeling somewhat, as a traffic reporter I have never had to deal with the task of coming up with new material daily, numerous other responsibilities that make a show function, and most of all, ratings.
Something else this morning show has to deal with is criticism. Naysayers. Bitterness. Negativity. Haters. It has already started, and it was only their first day. Here this morning show team has been given the opportunity to entertain San Diego, and already they are being met with contempt and skepticism; people who want them to fail. People who compare them to the previous morning show or the British guy who did the show in the interim. The station’s Facebook page was peppered with everything from “Horrible! I just couldn’t listen,” to “They need to go back to Long Island,” to “I thought the previous morning show was bad….”
These comments made me sad and yes, somewhat angry. Look how bold people can be in the safe confines of social media. Some don’t even use their real names. These same people are hell-bent on not giving this new morning show a chance.
I often wonder if these types of haters are simply bitter because they aren’t doing what they would truly like to do for a living; perhaps they despise their jobs, or maybe they’re unemployed. There could be numerous reasons for such vitriol, but of this I am certain: happy people don’t fire upon others without giving them a chance. It is the frustrated and dissatisfied that desperately need their opinions known, and it is usually at the expense of the more fortunate, the more talented and the more willing to take risks.
I feel fortunate that I not only work at a job I enjoy, but around people I love. This is a family unit that has welcomed in two new members; a family that will protect, nurture and hone the already-awesome skills of this new morning show, all the while functioning to keep the whole machine running smoothly. I am hoping the new morning show already feels the love and support here, and that any vicious viral attacks soon won’t matter.
The haters will keep on hating. They’re not humble enough to delve deep enough inside of themselves to figure out why; it’s so much easier to lash out and cast their acridity upon those who try — and succeed.