Becoming a Personality on a Music Intensive Radio Station

Becoming a Personality on a Music Intensive Radio Station
By
Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media

You need radio personalities for audience connection, just as you need forward momentum for audience preservation. It’s not easy to dodge the fact that listeners perceive your personality talking as an interruption. I have some thoughts on how to integrate speech breaks in your music playlist.
Music radio listeners don’t like sudden changes, when music ends and talk (minus background music) commences. Consider using a talk over bed. It will keep your station in the flow, while increasing TSL. You’ll create an affirmative music aura for your brand if you preserve a coherent impression of nonstop music.

Talking over intros is a way to construct music flow. Allow your Creative Services Director or Imaging Director to produce intros for songs that don’t have one initially while requesting record labels for instrumental versions, so you may use an appropriate piece for your tailor-made radio edit. This will also aid with increased Time Spent Listening.
Operating a talk bed or jingle ramp is another way to uphold music drive. Your station imaging will also keep the energy level of your personality breaks, as announcers naturally regulate their rhythm of speaking to the mood of the music. Sporadically it can be useful to discard background music to get listeners full attention or just because it’s appropriate.

It’s crucial to build consistent rhythm and flow. A talk break can be a wonderful way to aid in building an impressive music image. When you design your program clock appropriately, you’ll teach listeners that on your station, talk is followed by a great deal of music. They will learn this after repeated listening. You also want to use a consistent music and talk ratio, such as 1 song, short talk, 2 songs, and longer talk. This rhythm is another familiar design. It sounds minimal, but these things add up to make your station sound comprehensive while being unlike the competition. Even if you play exactly the same format.

One half of radio programming is science while the other is human art. If you find yourself on a music intensive station, try making your breaks interesting and engaging by talking less while saying more. It’s not how much you say, but what you say that brings listeners to your station. Become more than just a liner jock. If you combine creative imagination with editorial skills (less is more), you’ll be combining science and art.
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“Be The Morale Boosting GM”

“Be the Morale-Boosting GM.” Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media

Most of today’s best radio managers have literally had to manage people by trial and error. There’s no training process for radio management. While it may not be specifically outlined in your duties, you’re also overseer of the station’s morale. Managing the morale has usually not been one of the main criteria for becoming Program Director or General Manager. Yet, these two positions often dictate the station’s management style and the morale that results.

As a consultant, I’ve noticed the importance of maintaining the staff’s confidence as a leader. You can’t lead if those following aren’t convinced you’re the one for the job. You’ve got to rise above your own personal feelings and let your immediate emotional response pass before you determine how to respond in a conflict.

The basic element in managing and creating positive morale is the art of honest communication. People don’t execute what they don’t understand. Good communication is a priority of the highest level. People best accomplish that which they embrace, or at the very least understand the importance of.

Taking responsibility for one’s actions is another key element in effectively managing people. Owning up to “doing the right thing” at all times is a masterful way to demonstrate integrity while gaining respect of the staff. Whether you caused a problem or not, take the responsibility to bring it to the attention of management so it may be addressed. You have to respect the person who admits to mistakes, asks for help or guidance to correct it, and then does what’s necessary to make things work.

How do you best describe your management style? Are you hands-on, laid back, or some place in between? Is it important to “park your ego at the door” in managing people? Each manager has different ways of managing morale. You must hire the best people who can understand and are willing to conform to your standards of excellence. Provide them with the best tools your budget allows. Involve them in all aspects pertaining to department and individual goals, and then establish a system of meetings and reports which allows you to track their progress without interfering with their day-to-day endeavors.

Once a GM or PD has mastered his or her own style, creating a management mission statement for your station or group is an effective way of enlisting your staff and encouraging them to work toward the same goals. Asking them to participate in the process increases morale while creating ownership in the principles important to the collective group.

The ultimate mission statement which I use as a “way of life” is if you believe your station or group is the best place in the state or country to work, ultimately the best people will want to work here.

Defining Your Radio Stations Unique Listening Proposition

Ask yourself: why should a listener in your target audience listen to YOUR Radio Station at any given moment vs the competition? You can extend that by saying vs anything else? Including turning off the radio.
List everything done on your Radio Station on a daily basis (on the air). I mean everything!

• We solicit phone calls
• We talk to listeners
• We sweep our quarter hours
• We ask trivia questions

Don’t just list features…Catalogue the things you do on your Radio Station performed repeatedly.

• We tease across all breaks
• We tease upcoming newscasts
• We provide weather checks
• We pound our station name into listeners heads
• We talk about the music
• We perform dedications
• We give showbiz news
• We plug the Radio Station website often
• We inform listeners how to contact the station
• We provide contest details
• We solicit listener criticism
• We mention the names of contest winners
• We inquire as to what listeners are doing
• We try to stump the sports or newscaster with sports trivia
• We provide artist information
• We mention listener birthdays
• We mention celebrity birthdays

When you “brainstorm” the answers come at the end of the session. It’s not the material on-top but the substance you must push for. Now, we’re going to examine the ways to take what you wrote down and proceed to make them larger than life for your audience.

If you start answering your on-air phone calls by saying—“Hi, who’s this?” This is NOT a unique listening proposition. It could be coming from any Radio Station in town. You must discover a way to answer your on-air phone calls that brands it as your Radio Station.

“Hi, what do your friends call you?” Sounds more like a private club. Brand it so it sounds original, real and relatable. Doesn’t need to be brilliant if it’s original, real and relatable. Just original!
How do you end your phone calls? Do you end them the same way as every other personality at the station, or did you create a unique and interesting method? NEVER DO—“What’s your favorite Radio Station?”

Time Checks—When you give the time, can you create a way that listeners know they’re listening to YOUR Radio Station? Can you whisper the calls? Work with a child to record your call letters. With all the big-balls imaging out there, what do you think will stand out?

If you give showbiz news, call it “Tabloid Trash.” Brand it on your own terms. Do custom jingles mentioning outskirt towns. Rotate them. Appears as if you’re including everybody. Obligate a staff member to compile a list of local pubs and bars. When someone calls, ask the caller “How’s everyone down at_______tonight or this afternoon?” Makes you sound “plugged-in.” This might be better used during an afternoon drive or evening show.

Have a list of area High School mascots in your listening area. This takes a lot more prep on the personalities part but how powerful is it when someone calls and asks, “Hey, how are the Cougars doing?” Your response can be “The Cougars are playing the Wildcats tonight. Who are you rooting for?”

Remember, preparing is caring. You’ll sound as if you know everything about your listeners. Understand what your audience does. When you promote the Radio Station website, give your listeners a reason to go see it. “To sign up for our contest “Beat the Toaster,” you must sign up on our website. “When we call your name at 7:20 every weekday morning, you’ll have ten minutes to call us back. We put the toast in and you must come up with the answer to our trivia question, before the toast pops up.” “Answer correctly and receive a $500 dollar gas card.”

It’s very relatable, fun, different. You listeners know what a toaster is. Extremely visual and completely ridiculous. If another station in your market plays “Beat the Toaster,” they’ll seem pretty foolish. To hear “Beat the Toaster” you can only be listening to ___________________.” It must seize the attention of your listeners. The more you can make a feature your own (Branding), the more you stand out from the crowd.
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