Keys to Radio: Good Work Habits and Repetition
January 2, 2013
Being a good jock is difficult - if it wasn't hard, everyone would be doing it. Once you learn the mechanics and start to excel at the art form, you enter a select fraternal order that only a few have entered. There is no one way to enter it, but there are definite ways to put yourself in a position to be successful. You can learn from everyone, both from folks you like and dislike. Learn from others' successes and failures. Like sports, radio is about practice and repetition. A sports reporter once asked baseball pitching great Greg Maddox, "How do you repeat your mechanics", his answer "I throw a lot." It is the same thing for a radio personality; it's a lot of practice.
Getting to the Job Interview Process
The first hurdle is getting through the online application process. Adjust your resume to what the PD is looking for. For example if they are looking for afternoons, then list your on air experience and the music programs you are familiar with; NexGen/Prophet, Media One, etc. Also point out the production software you are familiar with; AudioVAULT, Cool Edit, etc.
Don't list non-radio work experience or skills that do not directly relate to what you are applying for. If you get to an interview, that's where those other skills can be brought up. If you do not have commercial on-air experience, list your college, community radio, or online air work.
Do Not Manufacture
I once had a client who was adamant about making the perfect aircheck. While working with him on show prep, timing, conciseness, and believability, I noticed regardless of his progress, he kept referring to his aircheck. Then it dawned on me; he thought by making the perfect aircheck, he would get the perfect job and life would be sweet.
PD's hire a jock if their air work is a direct reflection of the demo. If the aircheck is a best of all your talk breaks and the PD finds out they hired someone who can't consistently deliver what was on the demo; you will lose the gig.
Years ago during my days on air, the PD hired a newsman based on the demo, the resume, and the fact this guy's dad was a local news legend. Surely the apple could not fall far tree, right? On the guys first day, I tuned him in. What I heard was painful to listen to. The afternoon drive jock said "Maybe this guy was adopted, because he sure doesn't have his dad's talent. It's been like this all afternoon; the GM has been blowing up the hot line. Where did the PD find this guy?" It was the new hire's first and only workday at our station.
The moral of the story, it actually takes work to get it done. Stop worrying about other people, comparisons, or what somebody else has. There are no short cuts, just work, it won't take years, but it will take lots of time and effort. You have the tools, be patient and do not start sending out airchecks until it is time, get a coach or an experienced mentor. Most important, if you are voice tracking or just starting in radio, get to the point you can do things in one take. Practice makes you better not perfect.