Source: Sherman Publications

Cable board debates hiring headhunter to find new station mgr.

by CJ Carnacchio

January 25, 2012

Before a new station manager can be found to run Oxford Community Television (OCTV), local officials must decide if they wish to conduct the search themselves or hire a professional employment recruiter to do it for them.

Opinions on the subject were mixed at the Jan. 16 meeting of the Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission.

Some officials felt the commission could do it without the aid of a recruiter, commonly known as a headhunter.

“I have no objection to the commission engaging in a search for a station manager and that means that I believe the commission can do it and that we need not pay for a headhunter,” said Commissioner Dave Bailey, who represents Oxford Village. “I have no objection to our going that route.”

Others felt a headhunter was definitely the way to go.

“I don’t think anybody on this board knows (what qualifications are needed for a station manager),” said Commissioner Sue Bossardet, who also represents Oxford Village. “That’s why I think it’s worth spending the money on a headhunter to do that. They would have the resources and they would be able to come up with that (list).”

“I don’t think any of you have been a broadcasting manager,” said Commissioner Helen Barwig, who represents Oxford Township as an alternate. “I don’t think you’ve really gone through that studio to see what . . . anybody else in that studio does . . . Most of the headhunters do know what they’re doing and (who) they’re looking for. That’s why they get paid big bucks.”

Commissioner Wayne Hodges, who represents Addison Township, informed the board that headhunters are typically paid 25 percent of the annual compensation package for the position they’re helping to fill.

“So, if it’s a $45,000 annual package, which is what we would consider it to be, then you’re going to pay him 25 percent of that,” he said.

Under that scenario, the headhunter would be paid $11,250 for his or her services.

Some balked at paying such a hefty sum of money.

“That’s the price of a good camera or (other) piece of equipment,” said Jim Hughes, longtime program director for OCTV. “I think it’s money ill-spent at this time.”

Hughes favored having the commission conduct its own search and suggested calling places like Specs Howard School of Media Arts and television stations in Flint to get an idea of the qualifications necessary for a station manager position.

“They might be able to point you in the right direction,” he said.

“I think we have to know what we’re looking for before we go to a headhunter or do it ourselves,” noted Commissioner Char Sutherby, who represents Leonard Village.

Sutherby indicated she would be okay with the commission conducting its own search “if we have in place what it is we want and somebody has the time to spend (doing it).”

Although he stated he was in favor of the commission doing its own search, Commission Chairman Melvin (Buck) Cryderman noted he understood the potential advantage of using a headhunter.

“If we get a perfect fit for us – somebody (who) really does help us out and do what we need them to do – I’m not sure $12,000 is a lot of money in that respect,” said Cryderman, who represents Oxford Township. “If we had the proper guy, paying a little bit of money might not be a bad thing. But unfortunately, you don’t know about that until after you meet him.”

Hodges noted however the commission chooses to proceed with the station manager search is going to largely depend on the funding situation, which is currently in limbo.

Oxford Township, which contributes approximately 77 percent of OCTV’s funding, is currently withholding its portion of the station’s budget for 2012 until an interlocal agreement is completed and approved for the cable commission along with an update of the body’s bylaws.

“I don’t have a clue if I’m talking about a $250,000-a-year (station) budget or a $75,000-a-year budget going forward, if you want to know the truth,” Hodges said.

Bossardet asked Hodges, who serves as the commission’s treasurer, how much money the station has in its reserves. It was indicated there is roughly $400,000.

“It’ll take us about a year-and-a-half to spend it at our current spending rate,” Hodges noted.

Ultimately, the cable commission voted to set aside the station manager issue until the board members find out how the municipalities they each represent wish to proceed.