A lot of people think that a new decade began in 2020, but the reality is, it’s the last year of the current decade. 2021 begins the next decade.
The 21st Century didn’t begin in 2000, but on January 1, 2001. The new millennium also began in 2001.
I think what may have confused everyone is the angst so many of us felt when the calendar turned from 1999 to 2000. I remember that New Year’s Eve so vividly because I spent it at my cluster of radio stations in Waterloo, Iowa. Why? Because virtually the entire world was anxious that their computer systems might crash at midnight.
Did you forget about the Y2K Bug?
Y2K, short-hand for year two thousand, was a computer flaw — or bug — that was predicted to cause great problems with dates beyond December 31, 1999.
Every company worked feverishly putting in patches that were supposed to fix this problem, but no one really knew for sure if they would.
The fear was that all of our computer systems at the radio stations might not interpret the “00” as 2000 but as 1900.
New Year’s Eve 1999
The CEO of my company’s radio stations commanded that all general managers, operations managers, programmers and engineers be on duty on New Year’s Eve 1999 and be prepared to take the operation LIVE if our computers failed.
I told the staff of my four radio stations what the company plan was, and my director of sales said at that employee meeting, “If you’re going to be here on New Year’s Eve, so are we.” Shelly Routt, then began planning one of the best New Year’s Eve parties I’ve ever enjoyed at our cluster’s headquarters in downtown Waterloo.
December 31, 1999 was a Friday night.
What made this computer bug issue so critical at my radio cluster was, we operated all four radio stations every weekend without a single person on duty. We were fully computer automated.
On a typical Friday afternoon, when the week ended at 5pm, we locked the doors not to return until Monday morning. Think about that, we were running full automation over twenty years ago.
All those jobs that gave new radio people their start in the business, weekends and overnights, were gone.
The talent farm team system was decimated.
25 Dying Professions You Should Avoid
I guess that’s why I wasn’t surprised when a reader of this blog sent me an article from Work+ Money
about 25 professions that were going away, that BROADCASTERS was fifth from the top.
The primary reason cited was that more and more listeners prefer streaming over their local, drive-time disc jockey.
“One in 10 of the nation’s 33,202 radio and television announcers are expected to see their jobs disappear by 2026. Consolidation in the industry, as well as increased use of syndicated content, is fueling the decline. There’s also the explosion of streaming music services.”
As I went through the list of professions in danger, a singular reason reared its ugly head, automation. Robots, artificial intelligence – both newer forms of automation – were replacing many white collar as well as low skill jobs in the workforce.
If your job can be replaced by a mathematical equation, a logarithm if you will, consider your future employment to be at risk.
To be perfectly clear, all broadcasters won’t be disappearing, but the profession of broadcaster will be in a state of decline.
College Degree & Broadcasting
The cost of higher education continues to soar, but the payback of a college degree hasn’t kept pace. While the price of consumer goods has increased by a factor of 4 since the late 1970s, getting a college diploma has increased by a factor of 14, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Sadly, not all degrees offer the same ROI (Return On Investment), but ironically they’re all pretty much priced the same at any college. According to PayScale a college degree in dentistry sees a dental graduate’s median entry-level salary of $118,800 versus a degree in broadcasting where a starting disc jockey or newsperson can expect an entry-level salary of $40,000.
I never went to college to be a broadcaster. Broadcasting, which I started professionally while a freshman in high school, paid for my college education; both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
What did I go to college to learn? To be a teacher.
It wasn’t until I retired from over four decades as a broadcaster that I would begin my career in education as a broadcast professor at a university.
During that time, I would witness extensive broadcast industry deregulation and consolidation and that led us to the state that broadcasting is in today.
The radio industry needs to grow new talent. It’s time for broadcasters to have an apprentice program in place that allows youth to learn and grow as responsible community broadcasters without requiring a college degree at the outset.
Over time, the broadcast industry can provide “just-in-time-learning” programs that will allow these new broadcasters to grow and expand their skills to take on more and more responsibilities leading to senior management and ownership of radio properties.
The new decade begins in less than a year.