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The Midweek Motivator – To The Program Directors

If you missed the NAB you missed a typically strong “Dallas conference;” not simply the official agenda but those off-moments where people find commonality, many recognizing a resurgence of energy and affection for radio’s surprising invincibility (273 million Americans each week-invincible). Across the weeks and months a lot of inspiration crosses our path: at 37,000 feet, in a conference room or during innumerable calls with client program directors quarterbacking multiple formats. From us to you, a few observations intended to kick-start your next talent meeting.

  • There’s specific DNA with the best talent. (1) They want to be bigger than the Stones. (2) They have a curious combination of high self-esteem balanced with a bit of detachment. (3) They are always “on.” (4) They have easily identifiable strengths matched with weaknesses. (5) Most are born “right-brained.” (6) They often possess high sensitivity but aren’t necessarily highly instinctual. (7) The very best possess what we’d class as “pure talent” versus acquired talent. (8) Highly gifted talent can be coached though only marginally “managed.”
  • Kevin Robinson and I have probably been asked a thousand times by radio management, “How do I know when to give up on a talent?” Some of you have heard me remark that while expert minds at Harvard and Wharton author textbooks about personnel management, in radio where we have less time and fewer resources, giving up on a talent should be a hard decision, never easy. Yet in the end given all factors, asked “when should I give up on a talent?” while we can debate it for hours, the purest answer? When belief turns to hope.
  • Recently our colleague and master programmer George Johns quipped, “Even though there’s only one original member still active, the Eagles continue to tour America before sold-out arenas.” Says a lot about the value of personalities and a heritage radio station. Unless of course they lose the heritage part.
  • What are key learnings for radio talent in 2019? (1) Consider the difference between stage acting and film acting. To which category do we belong? (2) Forward momentum = time-spent-listening. (3) What’s the difference between “fun” and “funny?” A lot. Great shows are always fun yet also include “found moments” of funny versus relying on “bits”.
  • It’s a false concept thinking you can make a listener “care.” Looking through the wrong end of the telescope, many radio people look for what we think is interesting as opposed to what’s really relevant to our core fans.
  • When up against the clock, ask yourself if the content you’re about to do trumps the Stones’ song. If it’s not, play the Stones’ song.

 Performing success doesn’t happen by accident or serendipity. You have to do the homework.