What Is Personality Radio?
May 14, 2013
One of my more frequently-asked questions is, "How come the PD won't let me talk more and show my personality?" The key ingredient to the creators of Top 40 and today's contemporary format siblings is concise content. What about personality? I always explain it this way: It's anything you can add that either entertains or informs concisely. Regardless of how restrictive you think your PD is, there is always room for personality within the confines of the format. Personality is little things like artist and title in a backsell, concise music information related to what was just played, or making a silly comment about a song in a backsell and using it as a transitional tie-in to a live liner. It is learning how to make your point in the fewest words possible. Unless directed to do otherwise by your boss, center your music knowledge on either what was just played or about to be played. Oh yeah, do it all with a smile! I have a couple of websites that might be helpful for your show prep, allmusic.com and antimusic.com/news/.
Remember, radio is theater-of-the-mind and air personalities (announcer, jock, DJ or disc jockey) are its actors. To become successful it requires passion, practice, a willingness to learn, the ability to read, an ego in check, writing ability, patience, desire and sacrifice. The institution of radio has a responsibility to entertain and inform. Air personalities anchor the broadcast industry and the microphone is power.
I Hate Reading Liners
Live liners are a part of the business and usually deal with giveaways, promote a feature, and push listeners to a paid or non-paid event. During my jock years, I too thought of liners as a bother. I did not understand the best way to deliver a liner until I was a PD. My morning guy at my first programming job gave me the best explanation I ever heard about doing liners. "They are nothing more than mini-Broadway play or movie scripts. It is our job as actors to use our voice to sell it to the audience as if we wrote it. And do so in a manner that sounds like it is a part of us. Reading a liner should never sound like it is something we have to do. Convince the listener as if your life depended on it."
Being on hold for technical support of any sort can be nerve-racking. The irritating generic instrumental music interspersed with promotional propaganda every 15 seconds can lull you to sleep with your eyes open. Then suddenly a live person is on the line to solve your problem or not. I received a question from a programmer concerning his station's automation system and his tech support.
PD: My daily syndicated show has problems on our end when it is time to switch from local to network. The problem skips around days and we never know when it is going to happen. We think it's an issue with our automation system. Other stations in our cluster do not seem to be having with any problems with their satellite syndication. I have repeatedly been on the line with tech support and keep getting told to read the manual or asked to pay for the updates. What can I do?
Coach: Describe the actual problem.
PD: At the end of my 5p hour, our MediaTouch should hard sink at 59:59 and the next command is the satellite trigger. But sometimes instead, nothing happens and the four or five songs scheduled at the end of the hour all play and we join the show at 10 to 15 minutes into it. It screws up everything.
Coach: Where are your breaks in your last live local hour?
PD: We only take one break, at 12 after.
Coach: Although it sounds like tech support could be nicer and a little more helpful, MediaTouch is not the problem. I spoke with some engineering friends and they suggested checking the MediaTouch format scheduler for entry discrepancies and getting with the traffic department for a look at the daily log template to see if things are consistent. My engineering brain trust also recommend you should try adding an extra sync command at the top of the hour before the satellite trigger and not at the end at 59:59. Good luck.