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Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:34 am
by morganize
I cut my top 40 radio teeth along side some of the most notable people in our industry. Despite the fact that I was often the youngest guy on the staff, things turned out well for me. There wasn't a moment when I gave any thought to "age discrimination". (Fast forward 4 decades...) I now have a very impressive track record in sales as well as programming. One of America's leading broadcast organizations gets my resume and wants to see me immediately. (No mention of age in that resume, just experience and major market stations.) Following the visit, the response is, "There won't be a job for you here and, don't contact us again!") It's pretty hard to prove age discrimination, but it's ugly when it happens. When does a company become so big that they can ignore the law?

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:43 am
by daver
That certainly seems like a pretty over the top to anyone who would apply at any company in any business. The answer to your question is a RESOUNDING YES!! But good luck proving it. And if you would pursue legal action, expect many broadcast companies to blackball you. Unfortunate, but true.

I'd just move on.

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:39 pm
by ReelRadio
Daver is right. It's wrong, and it's a shame, but the station hasn't done anything that can be proven illegal. I'm surprised that it happened in sales; I thought it was just an on-air jock thing. And the blackballing part makes it even worse. So much for the freedoms we have in this country.

I don't know what company you applied with, but keep in mind: The FCC Deregulation Act of 1996 was never for the workers. It was solely for creating larger corporations that can pad the pockets of Washington. The larger the corporation, the more money for political parties. Another sad but true tale.

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:53 pm
by morganize
Maybe, when I started this thread, I was wrong to suggest that what I experienced could have been "age discrimination". Whatever it was, it was a genuine "eye opener".

There's a bit more to the story. When the local sales manager told me not to contact the station again, I immediately contacted him by E-mail and asked for an explanation. I felt I deserved one. His response? "You're pushy". That's why I said, "Make no further contact with the station." I was baffled. What was the "pushy" move I had made? He explained that during the interview, I told him that the proposed beginning salary of $2,500 a month, draw against commission, wasn't sufficient. I felt that I deserved more in consideration of many years of documented sales successes, combined with references from industry leaders who were eager to confirm my level of sales skill. But he didn't tell me not to contact the station again at the end of the interview. He asked that I provide him with references by E-mail the next morning so he could contact each by phone. When I sent the list of references, I reminded him that I would require more than what he had proposed in our initial conversation. That apparently was when he decided that I should have no further contact with the station.
He went on to explain that he trains his salespeople to respect "No" from the client. When a client says, "No", you should move on; walk away. I told him that I had closed many successful sales following an initial, "No" from the prospect and that I felt, "No" often simply meant I hadn't done all I could to demonstrate the value of the proposal. I told him that I felt there was value in our re-opening a door that he had apparently closed.

The final word came from the General Manager who wrote me and said, "We won't be moving forward with you, move on!" I decided he was right...time to "move on".

Remember, this is a major station in a top 2 market. I'm willing to concede that my presentation may have been perceived as "pushy", but, "DON'T CONTACT US AGAIN!" still seems mighty harsh.

I recognize that things have changed in our industry, but I truly hope this situation isn't indicative of where we are headed. I've invested a number of years and dollars to hone my skills in a business that I love. I hope that age, experience and manners haven't gone out of style.

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:51 am
by CarterManGod
What I've been seeing over the past two years or so- would be discrimination against anyone of healthy, educated, working years. Like 25 to 55. Most of the job openings, posted here anyway, seem to be "perfect for college grads &/or retired jocks." The reason being, you don't have to pay them much. Of course, there are jobs that require 5 or more years exp (Now we're talkin') BUT they seem to fall under a headlne like: 'Morning Show Host/PD/Sales God/Engineer/Webmaster/Receptionist & Janitor Needed!'

It wasn't age discrimination EXACTLY that cost you the gig. It was too much experience that they'd have to pay for- and who on Earth wants to pay for a talented, educated, experienced employee when a monkey in a chair is so much cheaper?

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:33 am
by seabass
The Cartman is absolutely correct. I also love the 'no pay' jobs sometimes offered. :lol: "but it looks good on your resume". it doesn't :oops: . Working for free in Central America for the Peace Corp looks good, 8-) working for free at a tight wad radio station does NOT. :( Please note the difference. :shock:

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:14 pm
by mlbarbee
I think that our industry is unfortunately designed for the young (and cheap). The more experienced you become, the more you must be paid. Hell, you have the house, kids and cars now! I came into the business as the youngest person in the building. Somehow while I wasn't looking, I became the oldest person in the building. I wondered what had happened to my comrades. I learned some things that I can share with the youth:
1. Don't stay at the same place. Move from time to time, it expands your knowledge base.
2. Climb as high as you can as fast as you can, then go do your own thing or buy your own station.
3. Be very good at everything you do. A good reputation will make life after "radio employee" wonderful.
4. If you wait for the industry to continue to provide a space for you, you will be severely disappointed. You will be too old and too expensive. They'd rather train a person half your age for a quarter of the money and take their chances with the one person who is still around to show them the ropes (who by the way has already had three heart attacks from the stress of having to be in that position).

It's a great ride!!! Just know when to get off.

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:11 am
by CarterManGod
The Industry is not made for the young! It WAS made by people who had lived, and were enjoying the benefits of being in the business. Now, there's no benefits, and fewer and fewer RELATABLE personalities. If you're just a liner-jock, great, be 19. If you're tasked with Hosting a real show, then a 19 year old simply doesn't have enough life under their belt to relate to and translate their audience. It is a job that deserves payment. How do you 'train' a young person to relate to an older audience? How do you 'train' a young person to have 'a unique personality'? Ect. All you can train them to do is push the right buttons. The job is much, much more than that. You get cheap help, you get a cheap product and the audience and advertisers go away.

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:21 pm
by mlbarbee
CarterManGod, I agree with you. That's the way it used to be. It's not that way anymore. It breaks my heart. I think this practice is one of the largest contributors to the decline of quality radio. I've seen many attempt to save money by using cheap inexperienced people at the cost of more expensive experienced people (which will ultimately cost them money through the loss of advertisers - but they'll "cross that bridge when they come to it"). It's sad. Radio deserves better. Radio used to be like a luxury car industry - now it's run like a skateboard business. The standards have been lowered. CHEAP IS NOT OK!

Re: Age discrimination - does it exist in our industry?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:51 am
by successfulhost
The company didn't bring a guy with 40 years of experience in for an interview thinking he'd be a 25 year old. Sounds like there was something else they didn't like. Radio is no worse than any other business when it comes to age discrimination.