Well, the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the N.B.A. playoffs. Oh, and they got a new owner this year.
Are these two facts connected? Yup.
On March 1st, mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert bought the Cavs for $375 million. At the time, the team’s record was 31-24 and it was on the way to the postseason, led by young superstar Lebron James and a capable “supporting cast.”
Just three weeks later, Gilbert fired the team’s respected head coach — Paul Silas. A couple of weeks later, the rumor was that he would shortly fire General Manager Jim Paxson within the next 48 hours. That didn’t happen, but Silas’s firing and the Paxson rumors created turmoil on the team. The young Cavs fell apart, ended up 42-40, and will watch the playoffs on on their plasma TV’s.
Now, what the hell does this have to do with radio???
Someone once told me: “Radio General Managers are to logos as dogs are to trees.” In other words, some new G.M.’s come in, and right away have to put their “imprint” on a station, no matter how successful it is. They have to make changes. They have to change format. They have to bring “their” people in. At least, they have to change the logo!
Program Directors can fall into the same trap. As a consultant friend said to me just a week ago: “They have to change the voice guy. Or buy a new jingle package.”
Dan Gilbert just couldn’t wait to fire a playoff-bound Paul Silas. And yesterday, he finally dumped Jim Paxson. “We felt the team had made progress in the past two years,” Gilbert said. “But to get to a championship level, we felt we needed to bring our own people in.”
Detroit Pistons’ President Joe Dumars did it differently. He retired from playing after the ’99 season, moved into management, and promptly did…nothing major! He observed, he thought, he learned. Then he patiently set in motion a plan that led to a World Championship in 2004.
When you take over a new position as G.M. or P.D., you may not have the luxury of merely “observing.” Some situations do require immediate change. But don’t change a station merely for the sake of change…to put your stamp on it! If you possibly can, take a minute, look around, size things up. Develop a coherent strategic plan based on reality, not ego.
Don’t pee on that logo.