Monday, September 28, 2015

Programmers and The Budget

It's probably budget time around your station and the plans for 2016 are being laid out.  Having worked with many different management structures from the owner operators all the way to the big corporations we often see Programmers and Operations managers role varies a lot.

In some cases they have very little input.  Other organizations bring them in for a quick overview and sometimes you see the Programmers and Operations managers very involved.

Of course everyone has their own protocol here but regardless of what level of management Programmers and Operations Managers have in your world working with the budget IS something you should learn.  

Here are some starting points and areas to consider as your stations start building the budget for 2016:

  1. Learn To Use A Spread Sheet - Spread sheets make the budget process easy to visualize and you can instantly see what happens as you spend, save expenses and build revenue.  You can see where the profits and expenses are under the most pressure and where the best months are.  It's not hard to start - just play around.  Take you paycheck and lay out your bills month by month and you'll get the picture.  There's tons of help within the spread sheets and you should be able to lay one out in just a few minutes with a little practice.  
  2. Look at History - Know which months are the most profitable and which are the least.  Know where the expenses are also.  Even if you have no input or control you will still have to manage the team and the programming through the highs and the lows.  You can't prepare if you don't know the lay of the land.  
  3. Set Goals - What do you want to accomplish, or where can you improve in these key areas: 
    1. Staff 
    2. Promotions
    3. Expenses
    4. The Rating Books
While we think of budgets mostly in a 'money sense' there is also a lot of other considerations in a budget.  Seeing the best times or months for opportunities, the times when you also have the biggest challenges to the 'bottom line.'  

We've all seen the Money Ball movie and how Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox used a whole new system of stat collection in the game to help manage the whole team and the whole game to their advantage.  In many ways the budget at your station is a key collection of stats for your Money Ball game.