Evolving Today’s Air Personalities
Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media
Due to present day social media impact, everything has changed for the radio industry. For a handful it represents a threat, while for others it’s an opportunity to re-engage with its listeners. When you examine it, it is the most amazing rebirth of our lifetime. We happen to be lucky enough to be here and be a witness of it.
One of the key characteristics of developing any radio station is the air talent you hire and the method you train them in the area of social media. Countless stations are far-off in this area and must pay attention as their listeners are being informed and entertained by other sources too numerous to mention. The internet contains immense influence and power. The opportunities are unceasing.
Each successful radio station is defined by their personalities. Their successful because their compelling to listen to. If you skip a show, you will miss something that your friends will be talking about. And you’ll be left-out!
From my experience as a radio programming consultant, good air talents possess these qualities. They are unique, perilous, topical, local and most of all engage their listeners to participate. Today, radio is challenged to find new talents that will keep their appeal high and ratings strong. Radio is not searching for DJ’s anymore.
Today’s radio is challenging social media content such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for TSL. Radio seriously needs to adopt and adapt to the wave of new media smartly and integrate social media into the mix to relate with their listeners or face being left behind and totally irrelevant.
Numerous radio stations have no social media strategy. NOW is the time to get one! For whatever reason, Program Directors haven’t thought about how to integrate social media into their programming mix. I’ve noticed that many on-air talents are using social media without one hint of a plan. How much is too much? How do you go about weaving Twitter and Facebook into your show? What’s your exposure and liability? At what point is it a tune out and terminate the mood that your music and show is trying to create?
YouTube has surpassed TV in viewership. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are appealing to consumers on an enormous scale. Radio must lift its game and discover an improved method to be part of the new media landscape or be left in the dust.
Talent Instructions for the New Millennium
Search for air talents that possess a creative curiosity about life and have the ability to discuss it. Urge them to go out and experience the local flavor of the market. Air talents that do nothing more than hang around the radio station all day are normally negated of any real experiences to discuss on-the-air. For God’s sake, DON’T hire DJ’s. Employ creative people who will inform and entertain with focus and purpose.
Make sure every air talent you work with has a smart phone. No exceptions! It is a tool they cannot afford not to possess. I ask my air talents to use their videos on their smart phones to capture real moments. Then I tell them to practice describing what they saw. This is a great technique to get them to improve their storytelling skills. Ask yourself one question. When you attend a party, who do you hang out with? I’ll bet it’s with the most interesting and funniest person in the room. The problem with most radio personalities is they have allowed their formatics to get in the way of their creativity.
This is the fault of the Program Director. It’s their job to coach talents while developing some new thinking and approaches to their show. Having said that, there are some terrific Program Director’s that aid talent to prepare better and much more engaging shows. Outside Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn there’s Tunein Radio which allows you to hear any station in the world via the internet and hear it in real-time.
Program Director’s need to meet with their air talent every day to help them focus their show. It’s critical that the air talent identify with their audience. For some reason (most likely bad talent coaching), most talents tend to be oblivious to that and miss making the connection with the listener. Make sure the talent is provided with a show prep sheet so they may prepare for their show properly. Many radio syndicators produce and provide prep sheets, some for free.