When I’m evaluating an on-air personality or show, regardless of the daypart, one of the main two things I’m listening for is the amount of content they brought to the show that day and what they added to that content. Then I group the talent/show into one of three categories, 1) deliver little to no content (Just segueing records on a music station or simply relaying info on talk stations), 2) delivering content but not adding anything to make it their own, 3) delivering content only they can do by adding their own unique take or angle on it. Sadly, most on air talent and shows fall into the first two categories (especially outside of mornings). However, that just makes the few personalities and shows that fall into the third category that much more valuable. That’s because content driven shows have something to tease to and drive TSL, something for the listener to engage with making them interactive, something to post to the web and social about to potentially go viral and drive new cume, and ultimately something MUCH more likely to stick with the listener and get them to A) come back and B) tell others. So, why aren’t more talent/shows content driven and why do so many fall into those first two categories?
There are a handful of reasons why on-air personalities, and even team shows, fall into the ‘little to no content’ category. Often they’ve been coached to tighten up so much that they’ve resorted to just intros/outros and hitting a quick station liner. To be clear, I fully understand pushing pacing on certain formats. But, well coached talent can deliver content and a one liner to personalize, localize and entertain in fifteen to thirty seconds (Team and morning shows can do the same in two to four minutes). Other times they’re simply stretched too thin to put the amount of time and effort into the show prep process necessary to identify content that’s likely to be interesting/relevant to their audience. In my experience it takes roughly thirty minutes of prep time for every hour we’re on the air if we really want to do a show that moves the needle (Regardless of whether we’re live or tracked). However that time can be broken up so it’s not all day of prior to the show, it’s all about finding the off air process that works for us. Another trick is to learn how to engage/interact and carry over content, and bring things back later with a different angle, so we can do more with less.
The second group, shows/talent that do deliver content but aren’t adding anything to make it their own, are usually just a couple coaching sessions away from beginning to move into that coveted upper tier. They’ve at least past the first bar of identifying content their audience is likely to be interested in and hopefully those few things their audience is going to be discussing with their coworkers/friends/family that day. But, they’re really just passing on that information without adding anything to make it unique/their own. Usually that’s because they either have no idea what to add or they haven’t developed their on-air persona enough to personalize it and aren’t knowledgeable enough about the local market to localize it. However, in some cases, they are creative enough to come up with their own take or spin to add to the content but they’re holding back out of fear that they’ll say something that doesn’t fit the format, offends someone, tell a joke that doesn’t land or just makes them sound silly. In that circumstance I would always say it’s better to swing and miss than never swing at all. We should OF COURSE know where the line is within our format, demo and market, but no on-air personality has ever gotten to that upper tier by consistently holding back.
Regardless of where talent fall within these three groups, and how long they’ve been in the business, they are ALL coachable and can learn how to create content driven shows. The difference is, depending on personality type and attitude, how long that coaching will take, which approach will be necessary to get them there and whether or not they have a high enough ceiling to make that time and effort (and money if you hire me) worth spending. One of the things I do as a consultant is help assess the talent, coach some of them directly and simultaneously coach the coaches on which strategies to use to get the most out of their on-air staffs. If you’re interested in chatting with me about it click on the schedule meeting link and let’s talk.
What do you think? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.
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