As I drive from market to market I hear some really bad radio. Sorry to start off so negative.
No slighting the folks on the air, it’s not your fault. Market size doesn’t matter either, I don’t think anyone is getting consistent coaching anymore.
If this isn’t you, you’re one of the lucky ones. I believe that an unintended consequence of consolidation and the constant cutting of staff has just manifested itself into zero time for management to aircheck talent anymore.
I’m not taking about the subject matter of the content on the air. For the most part what I hear is good. Talent knows what their target is interested in and are talking about at the “water cooler.” What I’m talking about is a lack of these basic fundamentals of air work.
Word economy, proper station identification, and sticking to one thought.
All these are fundamentals that are easily mastered but can be taken for granted when a talent isn’t coached on a consistent basis. And with the amount of folks that voice track, there is no excuse to leave a subpar break just to get through the 10 stations you need to track before hitting the production room to read subpar commercial copy (but that’s another column.)
If you are a talent and you have the desire to be better, critique yourself as you record your tracks. If you’re live on air (lucky you) record and review your show daily.
It’s the little things that can make a big difference.
Spending time on word economy and editing what you want to say in easily digestible small pieces leads to longer TSL because you aren’t wasting the listener’s time. And the one thing that survey after survey shows, time is the most valuable thing to the listener. We need to respect their time at all costs.
Properly identifying the station every time you crack the mic might go against what some say is necessary in a PPM market, but if you want the listener to recall what station was talking an event and act on the “call to action” properly they need to remember where they heard it. The station’s bottom line depends on your listeners showing up to your events, spending money at your advertisers and on your NTR efforts. Time is precious, if they think your competitor is throwing the “Summer Bash” and they go to your competitor’s website instead of yours…they may give up on the search and then you’ve lost a ticket sale. Think about it. How many times has a listener called for a contest only to find out it wasn’t your station doing the giveaway? The same can happen when you want them to be buying tickets to your summer concert or your next bridal fair.
One thought per break seems easy, but I can’t believe what I hear when someone is giving a laundry list of what they did over the weekend. If it was so jam packed with fun, the different things you did might just be worthy of a break talking about each one individually.
If you find yourself in the situation where you aren’t getting feedback of your air work, don’t believe that you as good as you’ll ever get. LeBron James practices his skills with coaches every day and he’s the best at his sport. You can be the best at your profession too with coaching.
Seek out a trusted co-worker and air check each other. Share critiques with former co-workers from out of the market. It’s so easy now with a Dropbox or Google Drive account…you don’t even have to go through the expense of sending tapes through the mail. It’s free!
And you’re free to do it. Embrace the freedom.
Bob Quick has been critiquing air talent for almost 30 years. Contact him for a free assessment of the talent on our station. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-358-9103.