Just the other day, I heard from a young man who said he does a Talk show, and wanted some coaching. He described his show as “focusing on politics, current events, and whatever else comes out of my head, with my main influences being Imus, Limbaugh, Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Wolfman Jack, etc.”
I felt like I was on the old TV show “Lost in Space”, with the robot saying “Danger, Will Robinson!” First of all, that’s a pretty diverse list of influences. Wolfman Jack? I loved the Wolfman, but for a talk show host? That’s like wanting your hair to look like Moe of the 3 Stooges.
Anyway, as with every inquiry, I asked him to send an aircheck, so I could see where he was in his skillset and then determine if I could help him. (I don’t take on clients just because they want to pay me. I live for making radio great.)
Turns out, he was a college kid, working on a college station—which, of course, was horrible. (No repercussions, meaning ratings = no learning.) And his show was just disjointed rants, screaming at the listener to make his points, and pretending to talk to (read that “lecture”) political candidates like Hillary Clinton in this case (who, of course, is not listening to you).
However, I really couldn’t blame him. He was just parroting back his version of his role models, without really understanding that (1) just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you, and (2) those influences may not even be valid in today’s hummingbird-attention-span era.
I did try to help him, giving him a free coaching session, but the operative part of this is realizing that you are a role model, whether you want to be or not. Someone is listening to you, then trying to imitate you, as a first step toward finding himself.
So today, ask yourself “Am I a good role model?” I’ll tell you right now the biggest single factor in becoming one: don’t sit on your can thinking you’ve got it down and you don’t really have anything left to learn or to prove. Because the last thing you should ever want is to be cited as a role model for someone who doesn’t sound good.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.
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