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.”
A lot of things that people are taught nowadays are wrong because the person telling them they’re good heard the copy of the copy of the copy of the original, and have no idea what the Strategy behind certain techniques actually was at the point of origin.
For example, I heard dozens of stations try to copy KVIL in Dallas when morning man Ron Chapman was King of the Hill, but what worked for KVIL wouldn’t work anywhere else because they were aimed at a specific target audience unique to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
So we start with what Strategy is, as opposed to just Tactics. And as a natural offshoot of that, I remove all the typical deejay “crutches” that most talents don’t even realize they have, like always saying “the basics” in the same order, doing the ridiculous double time checks, ending with your name or the station’s name into commercials, always starting Content breaks by talking about yourself first, etc. etc. etc.
This takes a while, just like an actor with a briefcase full of great reviews from when he played Hamlet at the “Grazing Trough Dinner Theater” needs a little time to put that stuff aside when he gets into the Actors Studio.
Step 2 next week.
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