I Want To Show My Personality
October 9, 2013
Sometimes young jocks are like babies playing with their fingers and toes, trying to figure out how it all works. Inexperienced air personalities go through their own discovery phase. In radio, there are ways to do things and even better ways to master them. Self-discovery through the experience of others is the best way I know to learn. But you have to want the knowledge and listen to those who have gone before you. Your OM or PD is responsible for your growth and the stations; some instruction might not make sense or feel awkward, but give it time to work. Apparently the air personality who sent me this e-mail is in quest of radio enlightenment, but needs to include his ears and an open mind during his quest.
Jock: I work at a Rhythmic Top 40 station and do the afternoons. My boss thinks I talk too much when I do interviews with artists. He also wants me to not play back all of my interviews. He keeps saying to edit them and use them during my show. If I do not talk during the interview, how am I going to be able to show my personality? I do not understand his obsession with editing my stuff and not playing the whole thing. I think he is out of touch with today's listeners and what they expect. How should I go about telling him that I know what my audience wants to hear?
Coach: I think you are misinterpreting what your PD is trying to have you accomplish. Go to him or her and ask calmly and exactly what they mean about the talking during interviews and editing them for use during your show. However, I am going to take an educated guess on both topics. Whenever you do an interview, it should be about the interviewee and never about you. Never become a part of the interview; your job is to be the average listener and ask questions they might ask. And what you ask will depend on the purpose of the interview; do they have a new CD, are they coming to town to perform, have they accomplished something on the humanitarian front, or are they just plain famous. In any of the cases, ask questions accordingly and do not ask things off focus. The most important thing is to listen and ask follow-up questions. Listeners do not want to hear how you feel or think; they want to hear what your interviewee has to say. The better you become at doing interviews, the more your audience will perceive you as a personality.
Now on the editing of your interviews; music stations usually do short-form interviews, two to three minutes in length. I think your boss wants you to edit what you have into 15 or 20=second sound bites and air the different segments throughout the show. He wants you to create appointment listening by promoting when the next segment will air. For example, "WXXX, this is Bill Bum talking with Kendrick Lamar and coming up in less than 20 minutes we will continue our conversation." If the interview is handled in this manner it will increase the possibility for listeners to tune in at the announced time for each pre-announced interview sound bite. It makes for good radio. Does any this make sense to you? Tell the truth: Did your PD try and explain any of this to you and instead of listening you tuned him or her out?
Jock: Well, he has had conversations with me and meetings with all of us on what he wants us to do.
Coach: It's just what I thought; your brain was present but you chose to pick through and only hear what you wanted to. The next time you discuss this with your boss, actually pay attention. You may disagree with him off the air, but do not do it on the air by not following his or her directions. However, if your OM or PD make it a habit to rarely explain the meaning behind directives or procedures, I suggest to do as you're told, but find a mentor or someone who can help you understand.