A station I’ve worked with for years now faces a huge challenge. Their longtime morning man and PD is leaving the station after many years of exemplary service and success. At the same time, they’re being pressured by a relatively new GM to get ratings and revenue up, and part of that is to reduce expenses by going to fewer air talents being employed (doubling up on a jock by putting him or her on two different stations in the cluster) and going to more voice-tracked shows on the weekends.
So I want to speak into that as a bonus for any PD or GM reading this, while at the same time focusing on what will help any talent under the gun from his boss to do better.
First, if you live by math (ratings statistics and projections) as your starting place to the extent that you think more voice-tracked shifts are an answer, that’s not gonna fly. In radio today, both in the short and the long run, Talent doesn’t DELIVER the product, talent IS the product.
If you go to more voice-tracked shows with no compelling Content, you’re just another playlist. People remember what PEOPLE SAY, not where they heard a song. Songs are everywhere – Spotify, Pandora, iTunes music, Amazon music, terrestrial radio, etc. Memorable STATIONS create memorable MOMENTS, and it takes talent to come up with those.
Look at professional Sports as an example. Spend the money; get the players. You can’t win with bargain basement rosters. And no talent likes doing a second shift after pouring everything he/she has into the primary one.
Now, as an air talent, here’s your challenge: Deliver memorable moments. Not everything has to be some fantastic production or be knee-slapping funny; but the listener deserves having you be PRESENT in every moment you’re on the air, because a lot can be said with your inflection, your mood, even your silence. But when you’re on autopilot, we can ALL TELL.
Radio isn’t just about Sales; it’s about creating something saleable.
And Talent isn’t just about walking through a shift; it’s about creating a SHOW.