A PD in a large market contacted me recently, asking if I’d like to work with their morning team. Since I hadn’t heard it, he was nice enough to send me some audio of the show. He also told me that the lead guy had enjoyed a great deal of success before he came to this station.
But it was pretty typical. Several things all tossed into the air at once. Phone calls about an innocuous subject that didn’t really surprise me. A spate of multiple punch lines to a bit given by two people at breakneck speed (so it couldn’t possibly sound spontaneous). It wasn’t bad, but there just wasn’t anything special about it.
Look, I’ve worked with hundreds of stations in every English-speaking format, coaching many hundreds of air talents, and not being predictable has been a key for all of them. (Consistent = good. Predictable = bad.)
Here’s a first step: Listen to your show yourself, and be honest about whether it would make you come back and listen to it again tomorrow.
Then, weed out anything that sounds typical. Hold your feet to the fire about WHY each thing is done. “This’ll be funny” isn’t nearly as powerful as “This will be something the listener can identify with.” I can hear “topics and phone calls” anywhere nowadays. Get out of the Control Room and meet me in my car. What matters to me (as a listener) supersedes what matters to you.
Oh, and about that team show, I doubt if the PD liked much of what I had to say about it. But I can fix them – if they’ll listen.