How to Hire a Producer

I was talking with a client this week, Dr. Anne Hallward who produces Safe Space Radio in Maine. Anne is recruiting a producer to work with her, and she and I discussed what qualities a producer should have: We made quite a list:

  • A broad education
  • Grant writing experience
  • Smart and intuitive
  • A good feel for the subject matter of the show
  • Specific radio skills
  • Journalistic experience and judgment
  • Good writer
  • Prolific with ideas
  • Maturity
  • Creativity
  • Pragmatic, not flakey
  • Reliable
  • Understands and listens to public radio
  • Passionate
  • Good contacts and booking ability
  • Shows evidence of having done homework and listening to your show
  • Interest in the job and comfort with the salary
  • Articulate
  • Curious
  • Energetic
  • A team player
  • Knows the region or territory
  • Experience supervising staff and freelancers

I am sure you could add to this list. In the meantime, though, I suggested a device I have used before – a matrix with the most important qualities, each weighted in terms of importance to the show. Something that looks like this.

PS: Here’s an alternative approaching to hiring! From an ad for a support position at BuzzFeed:

“Instead of a cover letter, please send us instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Text, images, video… the format for your PB&J tutorial is up to you, as long following your instructions results in a really delicious sandwich.”

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