The Perfect Jock Is Not Perfect
October 20, 2015
Over the years, hiring a new personality has always been a difficult decision. In recent times, it has become a pained procedure for many. The complaint from many has been the lack of training and therefore there has been skepticism concerning the accuracy of demos. In some cases, personalities have misrepresented themselves with overproduced aircheck/demos; best breaks edited together. That sort of thing used to happen, but there was an abundance of others with talent to step up and replace a bad hire.
These days some PDs even audition personalities for part-time and overnight (if the station is live overnight). The exceptions to auditions are jocks already working on the air elsewhere in town or a talent with a long-standing industry reputation. So what has me all fired up on the subject of auditioning and hiring personalities? Although I have written on the subject from a variety of angles, recently an air personality wanted to know what I looked for in an announcer.
The Right Combination Is Awesome
My favorite hires always had the same set of qualities. It was never really about their voice for me, but how they used it. Vocal ability was just the tip of the iceberg; my standards kept me in the hunt for people I could put in my lifeboat.
I always wanted an air personality who was able to put a legitimate part of them into the work. The traits for to being a part of my on-air intellectual warriors included:
- Willingness to learn
- Compassion for others
- Ability to follow (Can't lead until you learn to follow)
- Thirst for information
- Procedurally anal
- Thirst for winning at all costs
- Ability to transcend life and radio as one
Quick Not Perfect
To an extent it sounds like I always wanted perfection, but not so. I wanted a human being who could make things sound perfect even when they were not. I looked for personalities who did not resist the enjoyment of life and all that it has to offer. Perfection in my eyes was a jock who could recover and adjust quickly as if whatever was said had been planned.
What I Needed To Win
Radio has the ability to have a bigger place in people's lives. What I needed from personalities to get numbers and make money for a station was optimism and energy, the qualities people are attracted to. I always wanted to brand and provided a storyline; only personalities with the qualities I looked for were capable of executing my strategies.
It takes a special group of individuals to pull off this artful variation of reality for listeners. On and off the air, I needed jocks who could concisely project the brand of caring, sharing, and playing the same perceived hits, but in a different order every day. So, when I hired it was always for more than a great demo or audition, it was about believable personalities who could be cultivated for the greater commercial gain.
My Hiring Reality
I usually only had one or two jocks with all the qualities I needed to do well, but with careful construction of the other jocks, the power of possibilities was endless. Over the years I hired a few who got past me, but not many. If I was programming today, would I make people audition for an air shift? Probably only if it was a requirement of management. It would be just a formality; my mind would already be set. I suspect a lot of OMs and PDs do the same nowadays. Sometimes you have to make a game of the game.