Traffic Director’s Guild of America’s CEO Larry Keene, in an open letter to Group executives, General & Sales Managers and Business Managers this week, called attention to Traffic Director’s Day on Monday, November 2nd. (the date coincides with the first commercial broadcast on KDKA on November 2, 1922.)
In 2009, one of the most frequently buzzword phrases for Broadcasters might have been “3 a.m. problems,” meaning all those things that wake us up in the middle of the night and get the mind going. In the Traffic Department at most Radio & TV Stations, those “3 a.m. problems” tend to occur late each afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m.
Good examples are Orders that “must” get on the log for tomorrow (or sooner), last minute News Conferences that require clearing log Inventory, makegoods to clear for billing within the current broadcast month and an increasing request for last minute revised copy instruction changes. These were examples used by the
While Broadcasting’s inherent strength is its ability to respond with immediacy, the combination of consolidation, traffic hubs, downsizing and increased workloads for Traffic-related personnel is taking its toll on what may well be Radio and Televisions most unique (and misunderstood) professions.
2009 has seen an explosion of added duties for Traffic. Streaming Logs, HDTV, HD Radio sub-channels and multiple stations being handled under one “traffic umbrella.” is under-recognized by some Management levels; and praised by others. “Modern Traffic software has become an extraordinary tool for these artisan’s of the Inventory,” said Keene. “But the high tech skills required to operate the complex systems cries out for an occasional “time out” to hear from colleagues within the profession.
As TDGA expressed it this week: “Traffic Director’s Day,” is a day set aside to recognize and say “Thank You” to the unsung heroes of the so-called back office staff that funnels all the station’s efforts onto the logs, through automation playback units, then reconciled log audits and off to Billing. In some stations, that involves several key professionals; and in others it’s just one or two people handing the end-result efforts of your entire Administrative, Sales, Programming and Technical staff. In either situation- they are primary links in the Revenue Management chain.
Keene suggested in his letter: “please allow me to add just one more item to consider for next Monday. Take a moment to say thank you, either with a quick visit to their office or cubicle area, or a phone call… or if possible something modest to express the appreciation of all the internal people they serve year round. Maybe some Danish or Donuts, Flowers, or treat Traffic to lunch. (If you can join them, it would be even more appreciated, of course). Certainly dinner from a trade account is always most appreciated. We’re sure Hallmark doesn’t have a card created for the occasion, but some gesture from you, their colleagues at the Station or Group, would say far more than you might imagine.
TDGA summed up their message by saying: Traffic Director’s Day applies to all phases of the inner-office from Continuity, Production, Billing, Business Office, etc. It’s one day a year to do something that shows you appreciate that without you (and without Traffic) there would be no bottom line. On Traffic Day, we hope you’ll take the initiative and be a part of it.