Personality Radio Is In The Presentation
May 20, 2014
One of the best lessons I ever learned about being on the air was how to hook a song to highlight it and the artist in such a way the listener would remember it. The ironic thing was that I learned it from a PD I did not care for. The second best lesson was that you don't have to like the teacher to learn; just be objective and recognize a valuable lesson regardless of your personal feelings. The third lesson was learning what not to do. The morale of the story: Listen to everyone and determine the merits of their advice.
To Say Or Not To Say
Saying just enough on the air is an art form which is easy to learn -- if you are willing to learn. Over the weekend, I had a PD ask me what I thought he could do to help motivate a couple of his jocks. The truth of the matter it's all about self-motivation and being open to learning how to work on your ability to effectively communicate, entertain, and or inform the listening audience in a concise manner.
The ability to do these things existed long before PPM; those early pioneers who blazed the path for contemporary music radio pretty much figured out what research and Mscore now tell us --audiences do not mind you talking so long as it's about something related either to the music you are playing or something which might make life a little more enjoyable.
Personality Within The Rules
Regardless of how restrictive you might 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 back-sell with a verbal transitional tie-in to a liner.
- One piece of music information in a front or back-sell of a song.
- A silly comment used to describe a song verse and a verbal bridge to something else
Hitch Your Wagon To The Music
It is learning how to smile through the mic and get your point across in the fewest number of words possible. Unless directed otherwise by your boss, center your music knowledge either on what you are about to play or just played. Listeners tune in to hear the music and learn a little something about the artist -- maybe they were just nominated for something or in concert coming to town. Playing a song and then giving music info unrelated to what you were playing defeats the purpose of being special to the audience. The job of an on-air personality is to be an accessory to the musical moment or moments for the listener.
Like A Song In Power Rotation
If you have heard this before, sorry, but I will say it again for those who have not: Radio is theater-of-the-mind and air personalities are the actors and actresses of the industry. As it was explained to me recently, personalities are telling a story of some sort with every open mic. It might be a liner or just a simple pre-promote for something about to happen in less than 20 minutes on your station. Always sell what you are about to say like your life depended on it and a nomination for an Academy Award. I have heard actors talk about having one line of dialogue in a movie or in stage play and fretting over the most believable way to deliver the words. You should approach your air-shift the same way.
It's Not Brain Surgery
To be a successful air personality requires passion, practice, a willingness to learn, desire, an open mind, the ability to read, and an ego in check. Air personalities anchor the broadcast industry and the microphone is the power.
- Aircheck every show and listen to it Once a week get your boss to critique your work -- or someone who won't patronize and will give you an honest opinion.
- Be patient with yourself, the more you work at it, the easier things will become.
- Practice ... practice ... and then practice some more!