Remember the good old days when nothing was explained. People came and went. You might get a couple of calls. A few “I’ll never listen to your station again” letters. Depending on how connected the talent was with clients, you might even lose a little business temporarily. It would all blow over in a moment or two. Just take the nastiness, and wait it out.
Wow, has THAT ever changed. Now social media allows a larger group of people to organize and cause you issues. The PR issue now requires more than telling the receptionist (if you still have one) what to say when the phone rings. There’s good and bad. I want to cover a couple of methods to consider from personal experiences.
Ignore it and it will go away is no longer possible. Think of the issue at United Airlines when it broke a musician’s guitar on the tarmac. The airline practically begged for the video United breaks Guitars to be released. The bad PR United took over that still sticks. It was callousness in the handling of a consumer issue. Whether you have lost a talent, or asked them to leave, there will probably be a PR fall out. Face it head on. Tell your story (as allowed by legal and HR).
Recognize that what is on your Facebook wall is NOT being seen by a large number of people. Facebook estimates 99% of all activity with fan pages is done through the news feed. Chances are good people posting on your wall aren’t getting into news feeds. Its why you don’t see the Chinese spam gibberish posted in a news feed. Its part of the algorithm developed by Facebook.
Act quickly. The longer it takes, the more stories will spread incorrectly.
Have empathy for those involved in the issue. Most radio problems will involve either a contest player who was “wronged” or a popular talent who “disappeared”. Either way you are dealing with people’s lives here. Treat them with the same care you’d want.
Do whatever is needed to keep consumer confidence. This is important in dealing with contest issues. You can take the short term hit to your image and recover. You can lose the trust of your listeners. Don’t lie to them.
Be reachable to clients and the public. That sounds like the LAST thing you’d want to do, but it is the best policy. I answered more than 1000 e-mails and hundreds of phone calls when a popular morning show I had in Phoenix decided to not renew their contract. Understand as a “corporate representative” you are wrong. All you can do is listen and explain. You aren’t going to win.
Stay calm and in control. Man, is THAT tough. I wanted to tell so many people off during that time. You can’t. Its not about you. Its about the frustration people are feeling. Your job is to let them vent and move on.
I hope you never have to face an angry social media throng. Preparing ahead of time for the possible public outcry is the best way of handing your issue.