Recently, a station manager brought me aboard to work with a new air talent that had just come to the station. Even though the new guy done a couple of sessions with me a year or two ago, he’s still afraid of being coached. The boss told me the guy’s exact words were that “He doesn’t want someone coming along trying to make him sound like everyone else.”
Well, first of all, that’s not what I do. Yes, I have some basic principles that have been proven to work over the course of coaching over 350 stations in all formats. But a lot of times, a talent will harbor this fear of making changes simply because (1) he didn’t work with a good coach, (2) he thinks he knows all he needs to know, and/or (3) he associates the “bits” he does with BEING his identity.
So in case you’re approached with working with a talent coach (and there are only about three that deserve to be called that), I’m going to lay out my 3 Steps of Coaching over the course of the next few tips.
Step 1: Correcting bad habits, and “weeding the garden.”
Curious how ‘Tis the season to be jolly’ can often bring out the Ebenezer Scrooges in your audience and in your hallways.
What begins as an attempt to reach the largest number of people to celebrate the Christmas season can end up seeming like a gathering of the Trumps and the Clintons.
Here comes another complaint!
When we hear criticism about our station we often react in a way that is absolute. There is a complaint about song and we are tempted to pull it from the playlist. A criticism of an air talent results in a scolding e-mail to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.
A general manager once told me he had so over-reacted to every complaint that his station had little worth listening to anymore.
A very good talent I work with did a contest the other day, and had a great winner, who was really surprised and happy about winning lunch for her office from a local deli.
He did a good job with her in the winner call he played on the air, but at the end, he added a whole bunch of “blah blah blah” about the specific hoops the winner had to jump through to get her prize and, along the way, he mentioned the name of a person in the office that no listener would know or care about.
This is what I sent him in his coaching session recap:
“What’s going to change in the next 10 years?”
Jeff Bezos is one of the world’s richest men, having founded Amazon.com in his Seattle garage two decades ago.
He says people ask him that question a lot.
“I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’
And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection.