Whether you’re brand new to TDGA - The Traffic Director’s Guild of America or a longtime member, we’ve prepared this “Guide To Membership” to provide a summary of the features, programs and projects that accrue to all of our members. It’s an overview of what you’ll find on our website at www.tdga.org
TDGA provides two websites. One is for Members Only; the other is for “Non-Members.” The “Members Only” Website is accessed using a member LogIn and password and requires once a year membership dues. One easy annual payment covers everything we’ll discuss in this document. Unlike many businesses, we do not use what’s often called a “nickel ‘n dime” concept (charging extra fees for every item we add to our member resources). By setting the fee and guaranteeing not to keep increase it, new members provide the revenue for added projects and programs. Everyone pays the same dues amount - $37.50 per member for the first year- then an automatic reduction to $30.00 for each year’s renewal thereafter.
By the way, the member dues are for each individual member – not for the entire station’s staff. Should you ever change jobs- the membership goes with you. Membership is an individual benefit, whether you fund it personally or by the station. (Yes, we do have “Group” plans if your company might appreciate the economy of scale by enrolling all traffic-related staff members to the benefits of TDGA. We’re pleased to have several major groups, State Broadcast Associations and even a major traffic software company that participate in these “member alliance” programs.
The Two websites we maintain look nearly identical- but the content is dramatically different. The Member’s Website provides a Home Page that provides headlines, each hyperlinked for easy “point ‘n click” access to detailed articles, downloads, reports, and helpful frequently photographs or graphs to supplement the content. TDGA scans scores of publications to provide Members with credible experts addressing issues of importance to Traffic, Continuity, inner-office and Business Management personnel for both Commercial and Non-Commercial Radio & Television stations and networks. We’ve developed an excellent working relationship with a diverse field of experts including Software suppliers, attorneys specializing in Broadcast Law, FCC officials and a “who’s who” of news sources, both online and printed publications. Just as leading publications reach out to TDGA for opinions and quotes regarding the concerns of our members, we don’t hesitate to seek their expertise when it comes to items of interest to you. Like you, we rely on the very best sources to keep Members “ahead of the curve.”
“Non-Members” or other broadcasters have limited access to services on our “other website. These include our “Links” page, classified job opportunities, Friday Morning Wrap Emails and widely distributed reminders such as Changes in Daylight Times, and occasional alerts when we update our Traffic Digest website.
The TDGA Mission: To foster pride in our unique profession, and to promote the contributions we provide to the Radio and Television Broadcasting Industry. The Traffic Directors Guild seeks to enhance our member careers through information, cooperative services and education.
To clarify our name and goals: The words “Traffic” and “Traffic Directors” used in our name is an excellent starting point. These are all-inclusive titles that covers Traffic Managers, Revenue Managers, Inventory Control Specialists or the more than 30 other terms used to describe those in the profession we refer to as Traffic personnel. We also proudly include closely associated broadcast positions. This would include Continuity, Office, Operations, Business Manager, Controllers, Accounts Receivable/Billing and the other positions inextricably linked to Traffic, whether as Managers, Coordinators, Supervisors, Clerks, Assistants; or any of the other creative work-related job descriptions.
In addition, the word “guild” in our name serves to identify your occupation as being that of a skilled craftsperson or artisan. It should not be interpreted as the alternative definition as an “organized labor Union.” TDGA is not a union, but rather a membership association. It is dedicated to the sole purposes of enhancing, informing, educating and providing a repository of services and reference materials, as outlined in our Mission (above).
TDGA Features, Projects and Programs
Almost everyone is surprised at the impressive list of features, projects and programs offered to TDGA Members, considering the modest annual due payment. The following list is not complete but does provide a quick overview explanation of those most frequently accessed online at our member’s website: www.tdga.org. (Items are listed in Alphabetical Order)
Business Briefs: We developed this sub-section a few years ago to allow vendors and equipment suppliers to “brag” a little about new products or new customers. We do our best to eliminate self-serving adjectives like worlds biggest, world’s best, the only solution provider for… etc. It’s amazing how brief and to the point these news releases can be when you delete the self-praise. You’re getting the basics without too much of the fluff.
Classifieds: We offer Classifieds in several broadcast categories. We attempt to use the titles or positions provided by those submitting the listings, add whether it applies to Radio, Television, Vendors, and then we add the geographical location. Classified listings are free to members. We also assign a Closing Date automatically if one is not stated, the purpose is to eliminate outdated or already filled listings. Our normal Closing date assignment runs about 30-45 days from submission date, unless specified by the station submitting the listing.
Feature Columns – Sometimes, it’s a top expert in her (or his) field, or noted leaders addressing items of interest and almost always some direct bearing on your Department or area of interest. Opinions are included both pro and con. This area includes the cream of the crop in legal counsel, job advice and etiquette, ideas to help broaden our horizons beyond the tedium of our day-to-day routines. If you’re looking for other points of view from credible experts- this is one category to regularly check out.
Friday Morning Wrap: We know other Departments claim to be very busy in your Radio or TV Stations, but we also know no one is quite as busy as the Traffic & Continuity Departments. To help you make the most of your day, week and month, we scan the leading trade papers, business journals and publications dealing with our industry to capture top stories you should be aware of… if you only had the time.Friday Morning Wrap is an Email feature that sends you a teaser list of the stories we’ve added to the website over the past week. We do the scanning so you’ll have time to zero-in on the articles that sound interesting when you do have time to check them out.
Links Page: Just as you might expect, we make it easy to contact hundreds of organizations via the TDGA Links Page. You can access the Links Page by clicking on the tab marked Links, which takes you to sub-categories such as Traffic Software Suppliers, State Broadcaster Associations, National Broadcast Organizations, etc. For many of our members, it’s the quick, easy way to find the key websites. It’s easier than “Google-ing” because we pre-categorize the listings. Looking for Traffic Software? One click shows you 20 or more possible contacts. Feel free to check out all the tabs on the TDGA website to see for yourself just how many areas of interest wait!
(The) Mailbag: As the name implies, this is a feature that publishes Questions, comments on almost any topic; and usually includes a TDGA Response if we can assist in providing direction or guidance. This is frequently similar to our Q&A Series (described below), except if there is a definite law, rule, regulation or straightforward answer- we save the Members time by attempting to provide it quickly. By publishing a copy of our e-mail exchange, it allows us to reach thousands with the answer in a single feature. Submit any Mailbag items to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and just insert the word “Mailbag” in the subject line.
Member Log In: At the very top of our Home Page, it’s a handy tab to help you with almost all of your membership needs.Want to check your current profile data, expiration date for membership, extend your membership, check for forgotten password? It’s all waiting for you in the tab marked “Joining TDGA >> Member LogIn
Q&A’s: You’ll find our very popular series of Member’s Questions & Answers in the Resource Library section. Q&A is a service inviting all members to send us Emails asking for guidance, clarification or just advice to see how others handle problems or concerns. We send those Questions to “Members Only” and ask for replies for the Inquirer, and create articles quoting our “panel of expert” responders. Archived, they become a treasure chest for Traffic personnel as they browse through multiple topics submitted over the years. As you might imagine, the creativity of the problem solvers provides for some highly effective solutions.
Radio-TV Headlines: Found on our Members Home Page, you can access headlines, executive summaries and URL links to in-depth articles covering all the top news items of the day affecting Radio and/or Television Broadcasting. The Home page lists the top current headlines, but allows you to click on expanded pages frequently numbering to nearly 100 recent stories. Think of the Headlines as the “Readers Digest” version of the expanded News Articles that are just a point ‘n click away.
Radio-TV Terms & Definitions: How many times do you hear terms in our business but need a credible source to fully understand? With over 1,000 terms and acronyms, our TDGA Broadcast Glossary has become our Industry’s standard for pinpointing definitions. You’ll know the “biz” from snipes to Cumes, from Windows to Windows to Windows. (Yes, there are several different definitions of Windows and our glossary has them all. It’s updated every singe month as new items come into common usage. Find it under the top row tab marked “Terms & Definitions.”
Resource Library - Another of the tabs along the top of your TDGA Website Screen, This is your personal library to anything and everything dealing with Traffic, FCC Law, Rules, Regulations and a wealth of useful resources like Broadcast Calendars, Arbitron and Nelsen Research Aids and many features available only to TDGA Members. There are literally over 100 hyperlinks, articles, tools and forms for your use. Inside the Member’s Resource Library, you’ll find the following categories, each with scores of helpful files:
TDGA Annual Salary Survey (for Traffic-related Departments): This uniquely aimed service for the traffic professions segment of the Radio & TV Industry is undertaken once each year, beginning in October-November and targeted for release in mid-January of each year. We admit Owners used to ask us not to do it. “Everyone” will realize there are major differences from Station to Station. It’s true; pay scales do fluctuate dramatically between Radio-TV, Public, Standalones and Networks. Of course, market-size plays a big role, too.
But now, Managers are among the biggest users of these Reports to be certain they’re remaining competitive and can hopefully retain the Traffic personnel that have developed into one of the highest priority key employees in many a Station office place. (27.3% of all requests about salary scales come from GM’s HR or Business Managers.)
Confidential and very in-depth as far as sampling size, we frequently end up pooling data from several thousand participants, telling us the answers we need to spot trends, workloads and satisfaction. It’s an excellent barometer and free to all TDGA Members in bother Overviews and individual State Breakout Reports. Non-Members can get the Overview only if they participate and fully complete the online survey. The full reports, of course, are for members only! The only irritating thing is how often we’ll remind you to fill out your confidential survey as each year draws to a close. (Better to be asked several times, than not at all—we believe.)
Radio Traffic–101: Where does someone go to learn the basics of Traffic, as it relates to Radio? Even after a “Google” search, you’d have to admit, there are no Colleges or Courses that provide the equivalent of a “primer” In our profession. The first edition we created in 2001 quickly became outdated by the Digital age; and just this past year we updated this mini crash course of an Introduction to Radio Traffic. Based on its acceptance, many stations now make reading it a requirement of all new employees that have little or no experience in Radio. We provide it in PDF format free to all members in our Resource Library (Members Log-In). Its authors include a cross section of Radio Traffic personnel that helped us put it together over a one-year rewrite process.
Self Improvement Features, Columns and Articles: Each month, we include several columns from experts in their fields about Human Relations items. This can range from Time Management, Overcoming Stress, Getting along with fellow employees, Writing a Better Resume, How to gain inner-office respect, etc. We’re delighted to include nationally syndicated contributors like Joan Lloyd and Dr. Donald Wetmore, as well as special guest contributors. We accept the fact – no one likes the category of Self Improvement, but the facts are these are visited faithfully as we all attempt to relate with those we come in contact with on a daily or regular basis.
Side Bars: TDGA doesn’t have a full staff of journalists, nor do we believe we are competing with many well-prepared trade papers that cover the entire aspects of our Broadcast Industry. We use this feature (TDGA’s Side Bars) to offer links to articles developed by the news services you may want to read. These are updated on a daily basis. Nearly all are copyrighted and we claim no rights other than to suggest these are stories worth knowing about.
Software Satisfaction Survey – TDGA maintains a neutral stance when it comes to recommending one competitive product over another. Nearly all known Traffic Software suppliers are members of TDGA, and each supports the profession we serve. However, we continue to be asked where or how to find a good software system. So, as a means of maintaining our “no endorsement stance” and still trying to offer fair guidelines to potential software purchasers, we regularly provide online surveys wherein actual users of the products provide “their” views on support, meeting needs, and suitability of the systems they use.
We publish the findings semi-annually with the understanding the participants must be users of the product they are scoring; and all responses are confidential. No vendor knows who has participated. We purposely withhold all scoring of any product until a minimum number of completed surveys are submitted. That provides for the elimination of skewed results from relying on two or three handpicked users.The questions used are identical in every software product studied and we lease as many individual URL addresses as needed to include all products requested.
When we ask you to participate in our semi-annual satisfaction surveys, we’re not prying. We’re just adding another exceptional tool for our members to rely upon if and when they find themselves shopping for a new traffic software provider. Results are published (minus identity of participants) in our Resource Library for Members.
Special Reports – We strive for some In-depth research each month on timely topics. It might be something involving logs, EDI, changes in notarization or centralization of Traffic centers. It’s always a topic of top interest and covered from several perspectives, including direct input from our own “panel of experts”, (our term for your colleagues in the legal or government sector, traffic, continuity, or the business office). By the way, all Special Reports are also archived in our Library for quick, easy retrieval in PDF formats
Traffic Directors Legal Calendar: When do we need to file, prepare Reports, submit NCSA, ASCAP, BMI forms? When does our State’s political Window begin for LUC/LUR in the Primaries, Caucuses, or General Elections? Do you know when the RAB, TVB or NAB Conventions are being held and where? We honestly believe our TDGA Traffic Directors Calendar (including Legal & Political dates and deadlines) is tops among the publications going for Traffic personnel, Office Managers, Business Managers, etc. It’s downloadable in PDF format; but we want to warn you- we update it at least once a month as events are scheduled or made known by States, other trades and the FCC. It’s a great tool, and it’s free in the Members Log-In section under the Booklets & Brochures category.
Username & Passwords: We ask you to select your own Username and Password in the hope you will select one easily remembered. All Usernames & Passwords are case-sensitive! Consequently, if you Capitalized or used Upper Case letters when you selected it originally- that’s the way our software knows you.
Website – www.tdga.org available 24/7, here’s your instant access to news, features, reports, downloadable archived articles, sample forms, classifieds, references, broadcast calendars, powerful information research from TDGA itself, plus RAB, TVB, Arbitron, Nielsen, OSHA and a growing list of valuable sources. Updated on a daily basis, there’s always something relevant to the traffic profession and the broadcasting industry.
TDGA Background Information:
TDGA was formed in June 2000 with the purpose of providing a focal point for one of the few broadcast professions not taught in schools, colleges or communication institutions. Initially, it was devoted to Radio traffic personnel.
By 2003, it was obvious the concepts, goals and benefits were just as applicable to Television traffic functions. It didn’t require too much study to realize that there were differences between the two media and the roles of Traffic personnel in each. But it was also just as apparent that there were far more areas of commonality than individuality.
From scores of members, we grew rapidly to hundreds of members and then the count jumped to thousands. Radio, Public Radio, Television, Public Television, Cable networks and traffic software vendors all found the benefit of participation. To say “the rest is history” may be slightly premature after only 10 years, but the future points to a growing list of accomplishments on behalf of “our unique profession.”
Today, your TDGA is a much relied upon resource to trade news publications and other associations that focus on non-traffic perspectives. TDGA finds itself uniquely non-competitive and thus mutually beneficial to all of the broadcaster associations that primarily serve Management, Sales, Engineering, Programming or legislative efforts. We focus on Traffic, Continuity and directly associated fields in internal broadcast office operations.